Old Men and Cats

Washington County Enterprise-Leader - - OPINION - Devin Hous­ton Write On DEVIN HOUS­TON IS THE PRES­I­DENT AND CEO OF HOUS­TON EN­ZYMES. COM­MENTS OR QUES­TIONS MAY BE SENT TO HOUS­TON AT DEVIN.HOUS­TON@GMAIL.COM. OPIN­IONS EX­PRESSED ARE THOSE OF THE AU­THOR.

I have al­ways had a soft spot in my heart for cats. I like dogs, too, but cats are sub­tler in their ways. Cats have got­ten a bad rap over the cen­turies, see­ing as they are often as­so­ci­ated with bad luck, witches and evil­ness. I can see why, though, with their pen­chant for mis­chievous be­hav­ior.

Our cat, Ma­jor, came to us about 11 years ago. Our son pur­chased her for $20 at the be­hest of his girl­friend, in order to keep her from be­ing put down — the kit­ten, I mean, not the girl­friend. When she proved too much trou­ble, our son per­suaded us to take her — again, the kit­ten, not the girl­friend. I mean he brought the cat over to our house and left it with us.

We al­ready had two dogs liv­ing in the house. The older, a long-hair Chi­huahua, loathed the cat from the very start and saw her as some­thing to be barked at and chased. The other dog, a pug­gle, saw the cat as a friend and bed­mate. Ma­jor saw the pug­gle as a pil­low and play­mate. They got along won­der­fully for years. The Chi­huahua passed on in 2010, and the pug­gle this past May.

Sud­denly, Ma­jor is the only pet in the house. She went through a mourn­ing phase at the loss of her pug­gle pal but soon re­al­ized that the hu­mans in the house were po­ten­tial com­pan­ions. This caused a change in her be­hav­ior. She was used to the thick-bod­ied pug­gle as a warm­ing pad and bed pil­low. Now she sought out the warmth of hu­mans. My wife is not fond of cat fur, so she keeps the cat at a dis­tance. I often see Ma­jor rest­ing on the back of the chair within about five inches of my wife’s head as she is read­ing — I mean my wife reads, not the cat.

In­evitably, Ma­jor gets bored with watch­ing my wife read, so she seeks me out in the me­dia room. I have my fa­vorite re­cliner and she feels there is enough room for both of us even though sev­eral other chairs are present. Her fa­vorite tac­tic is to climb up the back of the re­cliner, then jump down into my lap. Since I am usu­ally half asleep in the chair, this brings a yell from me which runs her off. For years, we have had this bat­tle. I often have a drink or chips in my chair and I don’t want to con­sume cat fur as well. So the cat sits on the floor by my chair un­til she de­cides to re­peat the process.

The other day, I de­cided to just let her stay in the chair. She nes­tled in the space be­tween my leg and the arm of the chair. I hap­pened to put my hand on her back and re­al­ized that her fur was rather cold. Now I know what she is try­ing to do. She’s try­ing to get warm. I think about how she must feel not hav­ing her dog friend around any­more. Then I think about how she is get­ting on in years. In fact, she feels rather scrawny to me, though her ap­petite is good. But she is get­ting to be an old cat. How much time be­fore she crosses the Rain­bow Bridge?

I pet her fur softly as she falls asleep. She purrs qui­etly, whiskers twitch­ing oc­ca­sion­ally. The cat and the man are get­ting older. She just wants a lit­tle com­pan­ion­ship and to warm up against an­other liv­ing be­ing while she can. Not much dif­fer­ent from the old man.

Like I say, I have a soft spot in my heart for cats. Es­pe­cially this old cat.

“The cat and the man are get­ting

older. She just wants a lit­tle com­pan­ion­ship and to warm up against an­other liv­ing be­ing while she can. Not much dif­fer­ent from the old man.”

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