I overheard someone say the other day that they could not recall knowing a man who was all that fond of cats. I had to smile. My father was a cat person. He called them “the poor man’s monkey.” They could make him laugh, and that was no small feat. But not all men are born cat-lovers.
I remember my Aunt Betty and the lengths she and my mother went to, so her second husband would let her have a cat. Uncle Ed was an Army man, retired. He did not know what it was like to have pets. And a cat? No, sir, there was no way he would allow a cat into the house.
My mother had a kitten named Pinky, the most adorable pink-beige ball of fluff, sweet and even-tempered. Everyone wanted her. Betty did—so the sisters began a campaign to sway Ed. When Pinky was ready to find a home, Mother asked Ed to lunch every day for a week; in return he could get to know Pinky. If he could still say no at the end of the week, no more would be said about it. Uncle Ed was a bit of a tight wad, and he saw a week of free lunches.
He did not count on Pinky. On Monday she crawled up in his lap, licked him on the nose, and had him wrapped around her tiny paw in an instant. On Friday he happily took her home. Aunt Betty never got her cat. Uncle Ed regaled us with Pinky stories until the day he died. “You would not believe what Pinky did. She walked right up to that bull and smacked him right on the nose. And then she just walked away. I never saw anything like it!” He idolized and adored her, and she returned the love and affection. The only time that Uncle Ed cried, that we knew of, was the day that Pinky died in his arms at age 18.
And then there is my friend Kevin. Built like a wrestler, he has tattoos up both arms and would scare anyone who did not know he is a pacifist and philosopher. His three cats, Beatrix, Dolly, and Hector, are all rescues. Cats have been drawn to him since he was a kid, and he is fiercely protective of them. Woe unto anyone that he catches harming a cat.
Kevin makes sure his SUV is always stocked with cat food (dry and canned), bottled water, litter pans and litter, blankets, towels, carriers, and a first-aid kit in case he happens upon a rescue situation. He has personally helped families with vaccinations, spaying, and neutering so he can place more of his “babies.”
Last but certainly not least is my friend Tim. He is married to one of my close cyber friends, Tamy, who has a feral colony in Houston. When they met (at work), he had two criteria for dating: No one from work, and no cat ladies. Twenty years later, they have seven indoor cats, and their colony has been reduced through trap-spay/neuter-release from as many as 22 cats down to four.
Last summer they had what they hope will be the colony’s last kittens. I had been thinking of getting a cat for a while—but not a kitten, and not two. However, these cats were special. I knew their history, and I knew
Converted "cat dude" Tim with two of the family's seven indoor cats
that my friends and I would always be connected through them. So on July 30 we met in Lubbock, Texas, and had a great time adopting my boys Yoshi and Oliver. That was the best road trip I have ever taken.
Kat Brown of Albuquerque is a lifelong animal-lover, especially of cats. She wears many hats, but animal-lover is perhaps the one that has given her the most pleasure. Share your cat stories or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.