Sunday, February 21, 2010

"I'm not really interested in cats. I'd rather have a dog." - Oscar

On Oscar and my first date together, he asked me "do you like dogs?" I said "they're okay, but I'm much more of a cat person." He explained that he wasn't a huge fan of cats and would prefer a dog because he likes how loyal and affectionate dogs are. In response to that I said "it's true that cats don't love everyone instantly the way dogs do. You have to earn their love. But because you have to earn it, their love is more special to me." He said "I guess that's true" and we never really talked about it much until after we got married.

"To love cats, you have to be able to love things for themselves; they have their own life, they aren't necessarily dependent on you. Your dog kind of lives for you."
--David Bessler, veterinarian

When we got married we moved into an apartment that would allow pets, and Oscar talked about getting a dog soon. I told him straight out "I will NOT have a dog before we have a cat." Oscar dropped the subject quickly knowing it would only start an argument to continue it, and we didn't talk about pets again until after we moved to Washington. Though we disagreed on which type of pet we wanted, the main issue that kept us from getting one was cost. We were poor and knew that either a cat or dog would cost us a good deal more money than we had at the time.

The reason I insisted that we get a cat first is that I'd been wanting to have a cat again for over 13 years. My dad is allergic to all animals, and we'd briefly had a cat named Oliver before dad's doctor said he would die if we kept the cat (I still like to tease my dad and say "wait, why did we get rid of the cat again?"). All of us had adored our little orange tabby, and he loved all of us (especially my dad. Cats always seem to find the person who's allergic and insist on cuddling with them).

Oliver was a fantastic cat and to this day I have not met his equal. He was indoor-outdoor in spite of the fact that he was declawed on his front paws (the declawing was done by his previous owners). He could still climb trees and fend for himself in spite of his "handicap." He was super affectionate and very playful, and I absolutely adored him. I was heartbroken when we stopped allowing him into the house (though secretly, I would let him into my bedroom without telling my dad. I'd cuddle with him before making him go back outside). Oliver stayed very loyal to us for about 6 months after we wouldn't let him back in the house, but eventually he did run away. Honestly, it makes me want to cry now just thinking about how much I missed him.
Unfortunately I can't find any pictures of Oliver, but he looked a lot like this cat. However, Oliver had a white underbelly which was extremely sensitive due to an injury he'd had before living with us.

When I moved in with Amy and Heather after getting back from my mission, we actually had 2 cats, Panther and Sammy (though we called Sammy Fluffy since she was just a big ball of fluff). They were actually our neighbors cats, and they'd just had a baby. They foolishly believed the old wives tale that a cat will suck a baby's breath away, and therefore, stopped allowing the cats in the house. Contrary to popular opinion, it really is an enormous myth. As seen in this picture, cats and babies can easily coexist.

We were on the basement floor of the house next to them, and our house was actually being remodeled by the new owner. He had to adhere to our original lease, though, and so we were allowed to stay in the basement while they remodeled the top floors until the lease was up 6 months later. Because he knew he'd be remodeling after we left anyway, he didn't care if we had cats, and we let Panther and Sammy come and go as they pleased. It was a good situation because we didn't need a litter box since they'd go outside when they needed to go potty, and our neighbors continued feeding them. They'd leave scratching posts, cat toys, and food out on their porch, and the cats would hang out there until we came home. As soon as they saw one of us, they'd run to our door to come inside. I loved it! I was finally basking in cat love again! But then I moved out in May and had to go catless again. :(
I also do not have any pictures of Panther and Sammy, but these cats are similar.

Sammy wasn't quite a calico, but very similar. She was long haired, multicolored, and very fluffy, but she was more brown than orange.

Random fact: Only 1 in every 3000 calico cats is male. Color is determined by the x chromosome, so females can have the tortoise shell pattern coloring due to xx chromosomes, while males can't due to xy chormosomes. A male can only have that particular coloring if he is one of the rare cases with an extra x chromosome.

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