once, but one of my little brothers threw it over the fence and we
never saw it again... until the day we moved house. Apart from that, I
participated quite well in the rhetoric associated with the
uselessness of cats and how great dogs were.
I got a job in a pet shop when I was 16 so I could leave school. This
job satiated all desire I could have had for a pet, feline or canine.
I had a brief stint looking after an abandoned cat and kitten, but it
didn't work out.
One day some good friends of mine asked me to house sit for them. It
involved caring for the two dogs as well as a cat and some chooks. I
was kind of homeless at that point so it was a great offer.
It turned out, unfortunately, that the two small dogs (a Jack Russell
and a Chihuahua) were accustom to sleeping in their master's bed. I
wasn't too keen on such an arrangement, and the dogs advised me all
night long of the mistake I was making.
In the morning, I allowed them entrance into the laundry, where they
managed to gain access to a 5kg bag of doggy chocolates. It wasn't so
much the stealing of the chocolates that was the problem, but one
dog's inability to digest them and vomiting them all over the laundry
and then the kitchen floor. It was a horrible brown acidic sweet
chocolatey smelly pile of goo, and had to be cleaned up as I rushed
off to work.
The cat however, would always politely ask to be let in or out, remind
me gently of meal times, and find a quiet spot to sleep. He seemed to
know when was appropriate to come and ask for affection, and when was
Fast forward to today. I have two cats now. One (Sally) was my wife's
before I married her, the other (Kitty) we found in our back yard one
day as a kitten and decided to care for her. Kitty earns her keep
every week in caught mice. We think she developed her hunting skills
as an abandoned kitten hunting insects. I actually have footage of her
when she was younger catching a fly in our lounge room and eating it.
Sally cat has an innate ability to know when someone is not well, and
will come and let you know you are loved when you need it. She hates
Kitty, but tolerates her these days. She loves me especially. She will
often go and lie on my clothes if I leave them on the ground. I must
smell good to cats.
I'm writing this while Sally curls up next to me. My wife is out of
town for a couple of weeks and the cat is making the most of the extra
space on the bed. My cats also understand my enjoyment of my iPad and
iPhones. Flip, there are even apps for cats available.
I never had a "conversion" moment where I decided I preferred cats. I
just realized one day that I had no desire to get a dog that would poo
everywhere, jump on me when I didn't want it to, need attention 24/7,
need to be exercised, not catch insects and mice for me, and generally
demand that I be available for him all the time. I know most dog
owners don't do all those things, but I would get so sad when I mowed
people's lawns and I would go into the back yard to find the loneliest
dogs in the world, desperate for their owners to come home, or for
someone to play with them.
I have 4 kids, so there is a good chance we will get a dog one day
soon. But the weight of such a decision bears down me.