I realize in the past three years of doing the Roaring Mouse I have written often on cats. I have two; that should explain it all. We never had cats in my family, but we always had dogs of all kinds. Then when I married Bill, boom, we had two black cats, and my poor little Pomeranian was terrified of them. From that time, my life changed: I was owned by cats.
You either love cats or you hate them. There is nothing in between. I love them… but. We all know that dogs hate fireworks. They even advertise for dogs to have a special coat to calm their fears. You would never see a cat in a calming coat. Their response to loud noise is to look for something to kill.
I came in on the Fourth after spending two nights and three days taking care of my oldest son, Will’s, hoard of four cats and two dogs while the family went camping. My idea of camping is a Holiday Inn with only an outdoor pool. The dogs were fine, as they hide in their crates. All these animals got along—however, the cats bullied these very large canines. They have a one-eyed old yellow cat, Annie. She pushes her way into the crate of Jingle, a mutt of about 50 pounds. Annie keeps both dogs away from their water and won’t let them back into their crates. That’s just rude. When I got home after wrangling the four cats, my cats gave me the we-will-ignore-you-and-you-will-be-sorry look. Cat owners understand this. Dogs are happy to see you if you go to the mailbox and back. “Hello, hello, we love you forever!” are the words to their happy dance. They never forsake you.
To be loved by a cat is like getting the O.B.E., Order of the British Empire, bestowed by Queen Elizabeth. With all their nonsense, when they do forgive you (for your adulterous behavior of petting another cat) you know real love. It comes with a loud “Purrrrr,” and lasts until they scratch you as a reminder not to do that again. When I went to bed a little early for the Fourth, after the PBS fireworks lit up the nation’s Capitol’s sky, I slipped off to dreamland, to be awakened by the usual local bombardment—and I had a new hat. Piwacket attached himself to the top of my head. He was using it as a lookout and would not be put down on the bed or floor. It made me remember another cat belonging to the same son, Will. This cat slept every night next to Will and Shere Khan, the Bengal Tiger of “The Jungle Book” was aptly named. If my children had a fever or a bad cold, I would sleep in their rooms with them. Will was about five and he got sick. There was a handy shelf above his bed, and he put books and glasses of water on it, but Shere Khan did not like to share. He toppled a glass of water on my head twice before I caught him. The third time I was awake and saw him pushing the glass to my side of the bed. I caught it and tossed the contents on him. He DID NOT CARE. Tigers, you know, do love water. The fight with that cat lasted for all his years. Will loved him and it was mutual.
Cats pick their people. Now I know that recently the cover of The Independent showed cute, adorable kittens. There are far too many that need forever homes. All our dogs and cats are rescues, and they give the best kisses. Sorry Bill. And if you do make the choice to adopt, please make sure they are spayed or neutered. When you need—really need—a pal, cats and dogs are the best. You just need to follow the rules if you get lucky and a cat picks you. Remember, they do a great job of keeping the mice outside, they can protect you from elephants, and everyone should experience being ignored by a cat. Be careful what you name them, as they might grow into their names. Roaring Mouse, out.