NaBloPoMo for Nov. 23, 2013


I am a dog person.  Let me be transparently clear about that.  I grew up with dogs and always figured I’d have a dog once I got out on my own.  That never happened – nor will it.  I’ll explain later – maybe – why.

So then it has been cats.  Wilma and I have been so very lucky in that department.

Our first cat was a farm cat – straight out of the barn on a friend’s farm.  Wilma first met “BELLE” when the friend – another teacher – brought some kittens to school.  Wilma and I were to be married within a month of seeing the cats, so she put dibs on the white, long-haired kitten.  We got married, went on our honeymoon, and the first day back we got our first kitten.

Belle was the queen of the house.  She had a regal air about her – so that even if she was a farm cat by birth, she was the QUEEN by nature.  She had the longest hair of any cat I’ve ever seen – all white, except for a black spot on her chest , along with other colorings that made her look Siamese – blue eyes and all.  She grew up in our first house, where she had free access to getting outside by way of the garage door being cracked a bit, and a window in the breezeway letting her into the house. … but then, this introduced such fun adventures into the house when she would bring in her conquests – a robin, a pigeon, and even a bat once.  Oh, and did I say that often they were still VERY alive?

She could also climb.  We had some tall shrubs in next to the corners of the house, so she could scale them and get on the roof, walking to our bedroom window.  We could let her in and out this way at times … eventually I got tired of this, so those shrubs eventually got cut down.

She moved with us to our present home, but by then she was older and didn’t care to get out much.  At the age of about 16, she was failing so badly that we had the vet put her down – and because of her, I understood what it meant to like cats.  I regret that we didn’t bury her in our back yard – we just left her with the vet.

Then one day, Wilma came home from work and said there had been this little stray cat hanging around school.  We talked about it, decided that if the cat was around in a week, we’d take her in…that week became the next day.  SHEBA was a kitten at the time, small and cute … and the second we brought her into our home, she went into heat.  Weren’t we lucky!!!

Sheba was a scrapper.  She played hard – claws, bites, and all the fun that comes with that kind of demeanor.  She, too, brought us souvenirs of her hunts, right on down to full size rabbits that she’d leave on the front steps.  No coward, this one.    She didn’t have instant access to the outside like Belle did in the other house  .. and she was quite insistent when she wanted to go out – or come in, even if that meant climbing the screen on the outside of the door and looking in the small window on the inside door.  She could cuddle and play and purr as well as any cat, but like I said, what a scrapper!


She was taken down by cancer at the age of 9. Unfortunately, one of the side effects of those vaccines that vets give, a cancer can grow at the site of the shot.  One day, a large lump could be felt at her right hip … we did what we could with the vet, but it was a matter of time.  One day we came home from work and found her barely able to walk, and definitely in pain.  We took her to the vet and had her put down on a rainy fall afternoon – and buried her in the back yard.

So now I was the cat person…. It wasn’t much longer – no more than a handful of months – that I told Wilma that we needed at a cat again.  Off we went to the local animal shelter to see what we could find – and sure enough…

They had a room FULL of cats – there was a bulletin board there, listing all the cats – a picture, their name, their demeanor, their story of how they ended up there … and we played with the cats.

Large cats, small cats, black and white cats, scared cats, mean cats.

I stood there in the middle of the room, scanning the cat clients, wondering who was next.  I felt a pull on my leg.  I look down, and there was this little tiny cat trying to scale my leg.  I picked her up, and that was it.  I turned to Wilma and said, “Hey, look who we have here…”  Wilma came over and played with this cat a bit – and put her down, interested, but not ready to commit.  Well, the cat would have none of it … she tried to climb up Wilma’s leg, and the sale was made.

Ella has been with us since then.  She is a delicate little girl – she hasn’t grown much more than that first day that we saw her.  She will play, but she is oh, so ladylike when she does – no claws, no biting, but play hard and have fun… and CUDDLE beyond all expectations of any cat.

She is also distinctly a house cat.  We do put her outside on a leash at times (not wanting her to become a neighborhood pest like Sheba had become) … but she prefers indoors.  She’s a good kid –

So, dog person that I was back at the beginning of our marriage, I have learned that cats are good, too.  If I outlive Wilma, I may get a dog – I don’t know …. But a cat would be downright okay too.