While I was eating breakfast this morning my cat (actually my daughter’s cat, but I am its current caretaker), jumped up on the table and started to dig at the plant on the adjacent windowsill. I scolded him and told him to get off. He stopped momentarily. Gave me a look that said, “WTF” and went back to his digging. That, I thought to myself, is the difference between cats and dogs.
A few weeks ago, you met Enzo the Dog. This week I decided to give Reggie the Cat some equal time. As I explained then, growing up I was a cat person. I didn’t have a dog in my home until I was married and became step-mom to a Miniature Schnauzer, my husband’s from a previous relationship.
I certainly love how obedient even the most misbehaving of my dogs have been, although I have come to love the nature of cats again – or at least at the moment, one particular cat. Reggie came into our lives almost three years ago and has been stealing my heart ever since.
My daughter’s father was highly allergic to cats, so having one in the house was never an option. After he died, my daughter, drawing on my sympathy, started lobbying for another dog. I’d have none of it. Then she realized that maybe a cat was the compromise and I eventually caved. But only for the right cat. And that cat was Reggie.
Once I agreed to the idea of adding a cat to the family, we began visiting shelters. After one discouraging day she said, “I don’t think I like cats.” I thought maybe the cat-quest was done. Then a few weeks later came an urgent text from her at Petco. She had found the perfect cat among those a local shelter had on display. I needed to get over there RIGHT NOW before someone else adopted him!
It was May 22. The significance of that day wasn’t lost on me. An adoptee myself, May 22 was the day I first met my adoptive parents. My own “Gotcha Day”. I figured it just might be the right day to bring a cat home. And my daughter was right, this was a very sweet cat, with an endearing temperment. I knew Enzo the Dog wasn’t going to be happy about this, so we decided to begin our relationship with Reggie the Cat as foster parents.
Reggie and Enzo never did become friends – still. Although we worked it out. By the time our month of fostering was up, we were so attached to Reggie that we figured Enzo was going to have to suck it up. I went back to Petco to sign the adoption agreement, pay the fee, and collect his official paperwork. At this point I wasn’t completely on board. Was I being disloyal to my dog? Was I signing the cat’s death certificate (I had seen Enzo kill a groundhog once)?
I looked through Reggie’s paperwork that the shelter volunteers provided after the adoption was official. It was then that I learned his birthday was recorded as May 13, 2015 – my 50thbirthday! That convinced me that for whatever reason, the universe wanted us to have this cat! So yeah, we worked it out.
They each have access to various parts of the house on shifts. There’s a baby gate that separates my daughter’s room where Reggie’s food and litter box are kept, and he has room to sleep or play safely away from the dog. I bought him a large cat tree so he can climb to where the dog can’t reach. Reggie has finally realized Enzo doesn’t want to be his friend, and I have stopped Googling “how to get a dog and cat to get along” – none of the suggestions worked on these two and in the process I came across too many posts titled “my dog killed my cat.”
Next year my daughter will live off campus and Reggie will stay with her and have run of the entire place. Next year – next winter – as I bundle up to take Enzo for his walks in sub-zero temps, I will recall the simplicity of caring for a cat. The trade-off is a pet that doesn’t eat my plant, obeys when I tell him to keep his paws off the table, and comes when called. Next year, in spite of all that, I will miss living with Reggie the Cat.