I have never been a cat person. I grew up with dogs and much prefer their goofy exuberance and zest for life over the selective aloofness of cats. Dogs can never have too much attention. You invariably get an excited response to every suggestion and of course dogs make great companions. I hear the cat people vehemently objecting to my assumptions, and the benefits of cat ownership are not lost on me, it’s just that personal experiences have led me to become a dog person.
Social networks are bombarded with cat pictures, cute kittens wide eyed and fluffy, even I can’t help an occasional “awww!” moment as I scroll through Twitter and Facebook. It was during a moment of such browsing – 11am seems to be a prominent cat sharing time – that a little voice from over my shoulder shouted:
“Go back! Go back!”
My littlest directed my scrolling until I came to a cream and ginger cat. I was expecting her to stop on one of the many cute kittens but no she picked a fairly ordinary cat with eyes full of mischief. Very matter of factly she announced:
“That’s the cat I used to be before I came here.”
Not the response I was expecting but I listened entranced as she went on to explain life as a cat before she was a girl.
I have always seen animal characteristics in people. My eldest is a fawn, slender and lithe, her feet barely touching the ground as she gracefully sprints across the fields. She has an ethereal beauty, gentle and caring yet fiercely protective of her little sisters. My middle rascal is most definitely a puppy, bounding energetically through bushes and trees carrying the biggest stick possible. Gathering twigs and leaves in her hair, she’s happiest stomping through puddles and rolling in mud. Her big puppy eyes, intelligent and loving, are always watching for an opportunity for a hug; she can never have too many cuddles. And my littlest was born growling like a baby tiger. If any child was a cat in a previous life, she is the one.
My little wildcat shares many feline traits. Despite being the youngest, she has a self assured air, clearly believing she rules her domain. She demands attention at the most inopportune moments, weaving round my legs and pawing at me to be picked up. As soon as I put aside whatever I am doing to give her a cuddle, she’s off giggling to play elsewhere. A nice warm lap is her favourite seat – snuggling down, her bony knees and elbows kneed their way in until she’s comfortable. At night, I often wake to a warm purring bundle tucked in next to me and however many times I carry her back to her own bed, she manages to sneak back unnoticed. And in the morning, I awake to small gifts left on my pillow, thankfully they’re of the fairy wand and teddy kind rather than half chewed rodents!
So I have my darling fawn, my loveable puppy and my own special little wildcat. Maybe I am a cat person after all.