Meet Christie Cat

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Our friends M & W asked us if we could look after their cat while they visited family on the east coast for a couple of weeks. I immediately jumped at the opportunity since I’ve always wanted to have a cat. I could be qualified as a dog person by most accounts and I’ve only ever had dogs but I’ve always been fond of cats as well. I used to love visiting my cousin when I was a kid because she had cats; I was 8 years old but I could spend hours just petting the cat and watching it sleep. When I was 10 I used to go by the dry cleaners beneath my building every day to visit their cat. I was there first thing in the morning before I went to school (I usually waited for them to open the store) and went by in the afternoon on my way home. I would sometimes spend hours there chatting with the manager and playing with the cat. I thought I had died and gone to heaven when the cat had kittens.

I felt the same way about dogs. If you have a dog, you’ve seen kids like me. I was one of those who knock at your door and ask if they can walk your dog. Yet I never had either cats or dogs while growing up. My mom didn’t want any and she made up some excuse that we were allergic or something, which never really rang true to me since I played with all these animals in other people’s houses and never got sick from it. But whatever. I finally got a dog when I was 17. My last dog died three years ago and we haven’t replaced her for a number of reasons. I’m finishing my degree this year, we don’t really know where we’ll end up and there’s the possibility that we might go back to Spain for a year or two down the road. I cannot allow myself to get a dog if I don’t feel I’d be able to keep it. That got me started on thinking of cats. They are a bit more portable and could be quite fun to have down the road. So when M & W asked me if I wanted to take care of Christie for a couple of weeks, I said “definitely!” And it’s been great. He’s a very nice cat; very loving and playful. We were worried for a bit since we hardly knew him and he spent the entire first day under the couch. He would also meow in the middle of the night as if asking for something. But then, by the second or third day, he had settled down, relaxed and now he runs to greet us when we get home, sleep by my side on the couch, and plays with me. As most pets, he also has his idiosyncrasies.  He likes drinking water by sticking his paw in the bowl and licking it. I caught him in the act once:

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Here he is in his favourite spot on the couch:

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Now I have to ask M & W if there’s any real food snacks that I can give him. He always runs over when I open the fridge and he sticks around when I’m cooking so I wonder if they used to give him anything…

The wisdom of a child

Alan sent me this story today from this blog. I don’t know if it’s true but it certainly brings tears to one’s eyes:

Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog’s owner, his wife, and their little boy were all very attached to Belker and they were hoping for a miracle. I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family there were no miracles left for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.

As we made arrangements, the owners told me they thought it would be good for the four-year-old boy to observe the procedure. They felt he could learn something from the experience.
The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker’s family surrounded him. The little boy seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on.
Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away. The little boy seemed to accept Belker’s transition without any difficulty or confusion.

We sat together for a while after Belker’s death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives.
The little boy, who had been listening quietly, piped up, “I know why.”
Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I’d never heard a more comforting explanation. He said, “Everybody is born so that they can learn how to live a good life – like loving everybody and being nice, right?” The four-year- old continued, “Well, animals already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.”