Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A kitten from Devin

            I hate cats.
            It’s nothing personal, mind you, it’s just that they’re … you know … cats.
            I was born a dog person. I’ll die a dog person. Never owned a cat, never wanted to own a cat.
            Devin liked cats.
            I do not like cats.
            And while an argument can be made for cats taking care of themselves, pooping in boxes that are easy to clean and being generally self-sufficient, they never seem particularly happy to see you, and could care less if someone breaks into your house in the middle of the night.
            Dogs are always happy to see you, except when they poop in the house. They are also great for scaring would-be burglars by looking ferocious and willing to bark loudly at anyone thinking of breaking in. In the case of our Wonder Dog Shadow, they also bark at the leaves falling, the wind blowing, the air and at all other times of the day, too, but that’s beside the point.

Shadow the Wonder Dog, keeping guard and taking a break from barking for a few moments.
            Cats could care less that you feed them and give them toys and safety. Dogs are easy to impress and will love you forever if you just say their name and call them, “Good Dog.”
            So there was no way we were ever going to get a cat.
            I hate cats.
            Devin tried changing my mind on a few occasions. He told me he had friends who had cats. He was particularly fond of one friend who owned a black and white cat. I told him don’t ever even think of bringing a cat into the house.
            Besides, there is no way our dogs, Sandy or Shadow, would ever stand having to share space with a cat.

Sandy and Shadow. Do they look like they would even tolerate a cat?
            No, we were never getting a cat.
            When we went to Petco that Saturday at this same time last year, it was only to return some stuff I bought for our aquarium that we did not need. I had no need to look at the Kindred Kitties who were set up to one side in hopes of adopting out some of their vermin kittens.
            It should be pointed out that Ruth hates cats, too. So why, pray tell, did she find a need to walk over to look at the kittens?
            Fine. Whatever. I just wanted to return the fish stuff and get my $65 back.
            “Gary, you have got to just take a look at this kitten! She is so cute!”
            I had a feeling I was going to be doing a lot more than looking at this kitten.
            “I can’t explain it. She’s so cute,” Ruth pleaded. “I know it’s weird, but it’s like Devin wants me to have this kitten because he liked cats.”
            Sure enough, it was a black and white kitten, and she looked to be about the runt of the litter.
            And she was kind of cute.
            I mean cute, if you liked cats. I don’t like cats. I hate cats. They show no affection and don’t jump and down and piddle on the floor over the excitement of seeing you come home from work every day. Dogs are easy. If you ever feel like they are losing interest, go outside and come back in five minutes later and they’ll treat you like you’ve been gone for years and they thought they lost you forever. That’s love. Cats? Cats don’t do that.
            I hate cats.
            I let it be known if I was forced to take home this cat, it was only under duress.
            She snuggled against my neck.
            Five minutes later, I figured the money I made back on the fish stuff would pay for the cat stuff – stuff I never would have thought I would ever have to buy. Debating the pros and cons of a litter box vs. an electronic litter box with a Petco salesperson was not my idea of how to spend a Saturday morning, and I’m not sure Sandy or Shadow would ever forgive me for even walking down the Cat Toy aisle. I was gonna have a lot of explaining to do when I got home, provided Sandy did not think “Cat” was human talk for “mid afternoon snack.”
            So we brought her home, and she looked like this.

            The kitten already had a regal attitude, so it wasn’t much of a stretch to name her Cleo, as in short for “Cleopatra.”
            As it turns out, Sandy was smitten. I know, crazy talk, right? Not only did she tolerate this new cat, she felt like she was her Mommy. Shadow thought he had a new friend to play with, but not too rough, lest Sandy step between them.
             Maybe Devin did want us to have this cat.
            A couple weeks later, we found ourselves at Devin’s gravestone, and his friend, Peach, had left a flower and a handwritten note that said, “Thanks for the cats. Don’t worry, we’ll take good care of them.”
            Had to send Peach a note and ask her what she meant.
            Turns out, the same weekend we took Cleo home, she and her friends finished their shift at the Ren Faire by hanging out and reflecting at the Black Swan. Devin ran the Black Swan. They stayed later than usual, and by the time they left work, they spotted two cats on the side of the road and adopted them, she told me. Peach said they never would have been on the road or saw those cats if they didn't stay late, talking about Devin.
             Wow. "Was one of them black and white by any chance?" I asked.
             Yes, Peach said. One was orange, and the other was black and white. They named the black and white one, "Devin." 
            Peach said she felt like Devin was giving them the cats to take care of.

That's Devin's friend, Peach, from the Ren Faire.
            I looked at Cleo. She looked at me – sort of. She is a cat, after all.
            “Are you from Devin?” I asked.
            She crawled onto my chest. She purred and fell asleep.
            We’ve had her for a year now. Sandy and Shadow love her. Sandy still thinks she's the Mommy. Shadow likes to chase her around and get stoned on her catnip when he thinks no one is looking. She’s made herself at home, and mostly likes to curl up in front of a book when someone is trying to read, or walks across the computer keyboard at the most inopportune time. And don’t get me started on the jumping on the bed to look out the window at 4 a.m. She’s a cat. She doesn’t care.
            But she is kind of cute.
            I hate cats.
            But maybe not this one.