Saturday, June 20, 2009

Pets: Getting to know you....

Why pets at all, I mean we have humans, right, so why pets? Well I think there are many reasons, and I’d like to hear them. For me, I always enjoy having and bonding with a mind other than mine, and more important growing to love and be loved by a mind, a personality, and a creature different to myself. It gives me joy and satisfaction and is something I miss in this apartment. Hooch the therapy cat visited again this week, only she came before feeding so it was a short visit because Hooch kept going to the kitchen, back to the travel basket, then to the kitchen, then to the travel basket, then looking inside the travel basket. Yes, Hooch, we got the message (“Hooch hungry, let’s go!”).

I have to admit that I like cats, and while the line is that nothing is more fun than a barrel full of monkeys, spring and this time of year bring a litter of kittens, along with the curiosity that comes with kittens. They seem both scared of anything, and yet willing to stick their head out to find out about it. In this picture I feel for the poor kitten who in exploring has fallen off the edge and simply wants to be up there where the fun is, as a person who is sick and indoors, I understand that feeling.

But I have started to understand and be more open to dogs since I have had the wheelchair. I am near a leash free park and I get to sometimes throw the ball thrower so the dog can chase it, when owners let me. Dogs like to come up and sniff me and there are all types of dogs. Linda likes the little dogs, she loves the little dogs and how they look. Maybe she likes that you can pick them up. For me, I am a BIG dog person, there is just something about a big dog that has always attracted me, even from childhood, I wanted a BIG dog. We got a spaniel instead; actually an inbred spaniel that could run after its tail for about an hour and move at the speed of light. Just perfect for exhausting two kids. Also perfect for knocking us over in order to get at treats. Dog tend to have FOCUS, whether that is loving and greeting you, or getting treats.

There is always the case where the behavior of the pets and the owners start to be somewhat similar, and while this is often pets acting more like the owners, sometimes, the reverse happens, like this girl and dog going to for a wild bound in the water. Or more likely, people gradually finding themselves taking more naps in the sun. I think though if your child starts running back to you with a large stick in its’ mouth, you might need to draw the line.

Schools often has animals as pets, each class sometimes having a different one from turtles to guinea pigs, often in elementary school. Having seen a few hutches in Japan, it seems that rabbits and sometimes chickens feature as ‘school pets’ and mascots – which with US football, it is not uncommon to have a goat or other larger animal as the school mascot. What animals did your school have, and did you ever take care of them. I remember only the very trustworthy got to take care of them over the break – which oddly wasn’t ME. I wish I could remember, I think there was a turtle, something that ate lettuce.

I know growing up that getting a pet was often a sign of ‘responsibility’ – meaning I, the child had to be responsible for walking the dog or taking care of the budgie or taking care of my two hamsters Jezebel and Nimrod. This sometimes is an issue in all houses because children are not always the best at focusing and prioritizing and once distracted can forget things like walking the dog. However, as we learn as adults, “when you gotta go, you GOTTA go!” and that doesn’t change if you are a human or a dog; so what seems so obvious to an adult; “It has to go to the bathroom, take (insert name) out!”, or “Would like to be treated like this.” Or “I can stand your room being a mess, but not the litterbox, you are being cruel to (insert name)!” Of course, the other thing we learn in childhood is that while dogs have to GO every day, and have to be walked, there isn’t always great weather every day. Sometimes nasty weather. Darn, they never told us THAT when we asked for a puppy. Though, it seems that if you have a dog that likes the snow, that can be pretty good. I had a Samoyed when I was young, which is a white dog like a husky that the Russians used, it is loyal and likes to pull, and play. And it LOVES snow. My dream was to do that 1,000 mile sled race and be the first person to win it with an all Samoyed dog team

Smaller indoor animals are often a first person’s pet. I don’t remember whether it was a hamster or a gerbil I had. Ours had the sort of split level house where the gerbil could do the wheel and then if they wanted go up this tubing and have a lie in the ‘loft’. I wanted a really complex maze as I think one of my friends had where there was lots of tubing. I remember now that when I was very small, about three, my brother or our family, since my father USED to be animal obsessed (and we would watch TV with all the animals, the puppies chasing the things on the TV), there was a mouse. And I remember the announcement after much hunting with no comment that just as I was to go to bed, the mouse could not be found. Oh no. MOTHER had to be told and there was much hunting and yet no one could find it. Well, I managed to as I put my legs in my bed and it zipped across my feet and then straight up my pajama leg, with much high pieced screaming. Of course, while I am being traumatized for life my brother is shouting, “Don’t let it go!” DON’T let it GO! It was running up and down my leg under my Pajamas’, I wanted nothing more than to ‘let it go’ and somehow as desperate mice do, it got up the waist band and headed toward my face. Now the high pitched screaming was added to with arm flailing (nowhere near the mouse, have no fear, small children had terrible aim at times). The mouse was caught and returned to the cage and for the next long while, I had my parents CHECK THE BED before I would get into it. Wow, a childhood memory for writing this blog, that was cool. I hope you remember some too.

May I point out that I have no real problem with mice, it is Linda who doesn’t like them: spiders on the other hand, I get the hysterics and of course they go into a box and can’t be found and then I can’t go near that room or area for the next month. So when I scream, Linda comes and deals, and when Linda screams, I come and deal with it. A lot of people also like mice as pets, as they are often, if the variety is good, a nice color, they are very tame and can be taken with you. I can see the attraction in that, except for the part where Linda screams and claws and my face every time I play with my mouse.

For bees, I am not so loving it, which I got from my mother. A boy at school in my class KEPT bees as pets, and only had a few stings, he now makes bridges for a living so I guess order or hives interested him – probably had an ant colony, the problem with that is they break and the ants um….GO! Well, once we were driving and my mother had a bee in her hair, and SHE was driving. Since she always screams and flails, I asked her to pull over in my ‘calm voice’ which of course always terrifies everyone because people want to know why you are acting so calm. I trapped the bee, let it out and THEN told her; since the chance of us going off a cliff could have been high if I told her before. As for ants, you don’t need to MAKE them as pets, just eat in bed. In California or in the UK, it was an annual battle in the summer to avoid noticing an ant, then looking at the carpet, then really LOOKING at the carpet and suddenly noticing that there are about 1,000+ moving things on it (that REALLY freaks me out!). So no, not loving the ants. Once my parents made me feed the cat of a woman down the street when I was 8 or 9 and when I went in, the ants had TAKEN OVER, there were lines on the floor, not one but five or 6 every room, lines on the walls, on the ceiling, everywhere. IT was a horror film. I threw down the cat food in the dish and ran out, then dreaded having to go back each time. But that is California, ants can take over your place in like a DAY.

Rabbits are popular household pets. I had several friends with them. Because they are cute, and they hop, and they let you pet them and they are SOFT. Beyond that they seem to chew and shit. I am sorry, maybe some rabbit owners can enlighten me on what else they do but I spent summers around them and they were always there, they sort of sat there and ate, you could pick them up (possible shit alert!), and pet them, and then put them down and they would hop a bit. I presume they had sex at some point but since they never seemed that active, I can’t really imagine it. Now, I can see the rabbits I want up at the university where a few are now literally in the dozens if not hundreds. And they hop and hop and will eat out of your hand and they have all different colored ones including velveteen rabbit looking ones and white ones. The hospital used to have some in the grass, lots, which my grandfather liked to watch when he was there but of course, they were labeled a ‘health hazard’ and then kille…..I mean, all taken away to a nice place where they could eat all day.

Then there is the pony or we can include all 4H animals like cows (often boys will raise calves or pigs for show at the 4H – I have no idea what 4H stands for). Of course there are two types of girls growing up: those who draw horses in class in their notebook and read Black Velvet and other books like that and those who don’t. I actually read the 20 odd books of the author who did Black Stallion which usually involved a Stallion who couldn’t be tamed (except by LOVE and patience), and a deserted island. Oddly, the ones who tamed most of the stallions were boys but the books were read by girls. For those boys who wanted to ‘love a horse more than a woman’ there was always the 200+ books of Louis L’Amour, which also included lots of GUNS. I did not however draw horses heads in my notebook or ask for a pony (I live in LA!). I did however once we moved to Wales, go immediately to the horse club and found out that the membership was HIGH (like 100 pounds a year), which then I found out included NO riding, but EACH ride cost MORE. Ouch! I didn’t have money like that. And besides they all wanted to do ‘The Hunt’ and lots of jumping. While where I came from, North America, horses were ridden or raced. Indeed my aunt was a very good trap racer (your horse pulls you in a very lightweight trap around the racing circle), and had and may still have horses. However, since she liked light and fast breeds, and I was tall, riding a horse where you feet drag on the ground takes out the romance! It looks like these two girls or one of them is going to practice the Japanese archery Jyudo on the horse as the sport was originally created for (which is why they thought the wheelchair and I would be GREAT for the sport). So even in Japan there are horse loving girls. (are there horse loving guys?)

Linda didn’t have a pony or horse, but her sister did. I am not sure about Cheryl, since she is from RANCHING, I am sure she knows how to ride. My brother took a course in it, and learned all about cinching up saddles and such at college – that was his PE class, horse riding. That seemed SO UNFAIR – I had to do tennis in the sun and he did horse riding and got CREDITS! Another relative does the formal horse training, Dressage, and I always said, that while Epee is expensive ($5,000-$6000 to compete nationally, $20,000+ internationally a year), that is nothing compared to Dressage or the Olympic Horse sports, as while I can throw another blade in my gear bag, “just in case” can you imagine shipping TWO or THREE horses to each event? So for a not really that horse-type person, I sure seem to be around horses.

I did, like most children have an aquariam and goldfish and angel fish and the ones that have a strip that glow in the dark, and then some algae eaters to clean the tank. I did not sadly have my own mermaid, if so I would have become FAR more interested in the undersea world. My interest in the undersea world pretty much died at 14 or so when I did snorkling in the bahama’s and found out that I have extreme underwater agoraphobia. So since then any time a show descends the deep on TV, I start to freak. So having fish seemed a sort of lie to them: dishonest.

Lets go back to the two most common of pets: cats and dogs. First off cats (and to a large part dogs) the joy of owning one is that they have attitude all their own, whether you want that or not! Can a cat be trained to do anything other than teach those stupid bipeds how to open food cans and get them treats when ordered? Usually no. I like cats, and I always have because they are complex creatures and simple ones at the same time. Anything that vomits to say, “Hey, I’m a little anxious” is an animal I can relate to; I just wish I’d figured out how to do it in my father’s shoes.

Now cats, they do what they want when they want. And let’s face it, if we could make that particular stretch, wouldn’t we?

Do cat and dog owners choose the personality of their pet or vice versa? Where did you get your pet, from one of those boxes or someone who needed a litter of dogs given away? I always had feral cats. The cats have always had to be enticed over a period of time with food then eventually let in to ‘discover’ the house and then it would come and go as if the house was part of it’s territory. But at night or other times, the cat would simply TAKE OFF, because it was a feral cat and it needed to go places and see things. And I knew I wasn't the only one feeding that cat, but that was part of loving it. It was feral and it like to explore and was gone, sometimes for days at a time. And maybe I got my travel bug from my cats, or maybe I just ended up with cats a bit like me, having lived in a lot of countries and a lot of places, I got things to see!

Before we go on, I think we need a break, which is basically, a little breather for me, something where I can combine by two enjoyments in, trying to find the right bikini (a new passion!), well sort of, and then add KITTENS, almost everything is better with kittens (NO, no! No blender jokes!)

I like kittens (who doesn’t) but you have to keep you eye on them. As a kitten can sometimes be a bit like a two year old boy: how exactly do they make the mess they do so quickly? Kittens like to explore, they like to pounce, so if you HAPPEN to leave your manuscript of important papers or your poetry bound by a STRING lying around well then the cat is going to attack the string isn’t it? And it will keep attacking it until it has won! Woo hoo! String 0, Kitten 1 – and all those paper things flew away too, how fantastic! That is how kittens think. Oddly, the person whose papers were bound sees it different.
This can sometimes lead to extra work for the owner of the more curious and aggressive of kittens (stories?).

Cats, like humans, don’t like being excluded, and sometimes after talking doesn’t work, and scolding doesn’t work, there has to be the ultimate punishment. Yes, I am talking about, putting them outside or outside that area and shutting the door, and no matter how much they scratch to get in, try to ignore it. When I moved into the alternate bedroom at my parents, well that bed was where the cat liked to use as a jump pad to see out the window. I was woken by scratching. Then as it saw me move, it stopped. I looked at it. She looked at me. I lay my head down. MORE and MORE scratching. I moved my head and looked at her again. She was sure I was going to open the door. I came over. She was ready to enter. I lowered the blinds on the glass part of the door and watching her, slowly closed them. There was another few minutes of scratching but she got the message and never scratched another morning – woo hoo, opposable thumbs win again! (pretty much our ONLY victory over cats! They can think faster, run fast, squeeze tighter, have more sass and attitude and not only that, have better psychology in training us to do whatever they want. Plus they have the 'cute' factor!)

This is why instead of being in rapture at the thought of cat girls, guys should be terrified. I mean, after several thousand years and best-selling books guys still don’t get women a majority of the time. Women, like cats are mysterious and can make men want them more just by leaving with sass and a “later” – now combine that psychology and cat psychology and that’s it, this is going to be Cat-Girl owned planet. And all the guys are like, “Yeah…..whatever, as long as we can see them at the beach….look that one caught a dolphin….” (drool). See, this is what I am talking about, the cat-girl revolution will be a quick and bloodless one where men are involved.

The advantage of cats is that when depressed or down, being comforted by a cat isn’t comforted by someone who often gives unconditional love like a dog (I am sure I will be corrected here!), but rather an non-speaking individual purring against your chest. Comfort of a warm body there. Of course the problem is that sometimes they won’t, and they ignore, but still, they care enough about you to vomit on your carpet if you are away too long.

Dogs will attack if given the opportunity and as this picture shows, it can be sudden and disorienting. And, please do NOT try this at home, they have a knack for ‘showing their unconditional love’ at times when you kind of don’t need it, like the cat opening and closing claws on your breast, when you are getting dressed, and half undressed, jeans heading down toward ankles…..this is when they jump up to ‘love you.’ This happens too often to be an accident, I think that these are planned acts of humor and dogs later compare the situations they got their owners in; “Yeah she was all over the floor writhing from tickling trying to order me to stop, hee hee.”

There seem to be dog people, and they love their dogs just as much as the cat people love their cats. They will carry them everywhere if they can. And if I had not moved, maybe I would be a dog person too, but that early separation, and then finding a feral cat, a cat that had been waiting to be found, waiting for ME, maybe that made me a cat person. A dog, particularly a large dog can be a major friend and companion while growing up (or while grown up – particularly when it jumps into bed while you are sleeping). I will warn you though once you decide to go to college and take your dog, or as an adult, I have it from many sources….Dog are voyeurs when it comes to YOU having sex. Try to train them to stay off the bed.

Now when it comes to sex, cat are likely to sulk and disappear – yes, they are the envious and scorned lover and they withdraw affection. You have sex with someone, that means they are more important and they go away and then you have ‘make up’ cuddling with the cat.

Cats like to go where they go, and then they expect you to rescue them, like up a tree or down a dock or to ‘escape your apartment’ for the 100th time. When they decide they want to come back, they meow and order to ‘please be returned to my abode’. Looking at the behavoir (except for the leg stretch and lick thing) I actually think I am becoming a cat.
For cats, many are shy, and while they will purr, it is the open displays of affection, the licking of the cheek which is the way of a cat giving you a gift, because that is what they are waiting for, like the rest of us, someone to love.

It is shown that people who own pets live longer, no one knows why for certain, but certainly the joy that pets bring must be part of it.


Neil said...

We had a feral cat for a couple of months early this year. We called him Emo, 'cause he was black, moody, and had a whole lot of scars. He's a fighter. When the wind chill was -53(!) he was willing to come in and be our cat. But when I tried to get him to use the litter box, he just looked at me s if I were crazy, and told me to open the door and let him OUT.

As it warmed up, he came around less and less. He creeps to our patio at night now and eats what we leave for him. I saw him yesterday on the way to the grocery store. He came and sniffed at my fingers, but he wouldn't admit he recognized me, and was quite nervous.

Ah, cats. My Beloved came equipped with a Maine Coon cat when we met. His normal weight was 20 lbs, and he wasn't fat at that size. While he didn't watch us making out, he did sleep between us. "I'll share the bed with you, but she's MY human!" is what I'm sure he was saying.

If I were to have a dog, I'd want an Irish Wolf Hound or Great Dane. BIG dogs are cool. Little ones tend to be yappy and trip you a lot.

Portuguese Water Dogs are incredible, but they can outthink their humans. They would herd fish into the nets, retrieve anything and anyone that fell overboard, guard the boat in dock, and received a sailor's share of the catch. Retired fisherman would rent out their dogs to make extra money.

I hope Hooch can get to visit you again soon, when he's not hungry. Or you could keep a can of his favourite cat food in case he is hungry. He'd appreciate that, even if he did proceed to treat as a slave. That's our proper place in life, you know: slaves to cats.

Love, many zen hugs, and much purring,

Lene Andersen said...

Loved this post! And the images were fantastic!

We mostly had dogs when I was growing up, but when I was in my teens, we had a cat named Mister (mis means kitty in Danish, so a little pun thing). We'd had him for a while when we got a mini poodle puppy and he pretended disdain, but once, I caught him taking a bit of his wet food on his paw and flicking it at the puppy so she could eat, too. That was also about the time my sister got a rabbit - you're right: shit, eat and sleep. The dog would pull straws of hay out of the cage and the cat would sit, staring hungrily.

I was one of those girls who drew horses, read about horses, hung out at a local stable/ridingschool after school and in general breathed horses. By the way, speaking of dressage - the dancing horse. SO beautiful

I have a cat now - Mojo the Wondercat, aka Her Royal Catness - and am totally converted to being a cat person. I chose her for her fearlessness and "in your face-ness". She makes me laugh at least once a day and I am completely aware that I am not her owner, I am her minion. Like the saying goes - cats were once worshipped as gods and they've never forgotten this.

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to ramble on about animals! I should tell you about the tadpoles next time...

FridaWrites said...

What a lovely post. You may have had some more pets than I did as a kid--I wanted more but had allergies. My parents got a cat when I was small but within a few days Kitty Coco went to live with my aunt because of my severe allergies. I had cat allergy shots a few years ago so am now less allergic though I'd probably not opt to have one, though it's fun to enjoy others' cats.

We helped raise a couple of litters of puppies--spaniels. We had knock-you-down spaniels too, at least until puppy exuberance was tamed down a little--Brittanys and a cocker spaniel. I loved them. Wanted a guinea pig, but no small pets until my sister and I saved up for an aquarium and fish when we were 13.

My sister was the horse girl and really wanted them--we were pretty poor growing up so that had to be a dream only. For a long time she wanted to be a vet and go to vet school--her senior year in high school she suddenly decided she wanted to teach elementary school instead, which also involves a lot of corraling, herding, and nurturing. For a long while I wanted to be a marine biologist. I loved biology and botany--still do.

Though some of the small dogs are really cute, I like big dogs too so I don't have to bend down to pat them or to redirect them--though it can be a problem when the growing puppy wants to be carried everywhere while gaining a pound a week like Clifford the Big Red Dog--our current border collie is a truly giant for his breed. Our last one would get jealous and step between us when we hugged, an attention hog. I loved him a lot. He really liked babies and other animals (including kitties, trying to nurture them) and swimming in the pond at the park. He was very, very smart, highly empathetic, and could get a lot of what you were saying and respond to it.

Currently we have two pet mice with a complex of interesting mazes that are tame, though we don't take them out of the house. They do enjoy wandering around the kitchen or exploring under supervision. They have a lot of character and are very cute. They come when I make kissing noises at them. We had a bunch of African dwarf frogs and a betta, but all but one frog recently passed away.

The kids have raised a couple of rounds of stick bugs as pets. But bees as pets--well, we're about to have to get a beekeeper to get a hive out of the corner of our house. I am a bit phobic of bees and terribly phobic of spiders. I hate spiders. I have a pact with them: leave me alone and don't intrude on my space. If they break the contract, they're in peril.

Abi said...

I like this post. I love the pictures, as well. That rabbit picture is cute (although not a big rabbit fan myself - too stupid and too strong), and there are some other lovely ones there, too.

I always wanted a horse - I used to draw them all the time, and managed to actually start riding at 10. When I went to university it was too expensive, so I stopped.

I prefer cats to dogs, but this is because cats tend to smell better and slobber less. I think that if dogs had these drawbacks removed I would like some of them (the well-trained, friendly, intelligent ones) a lot.

I like guinea pigs the best. They are incredibly stupid, but have a lot of personality nonetheless. They make excited noises because they are pleased to see you (OK, so often they just want to be fed, but there can be affection there, too).

My favourite was called Snapdragon. She was a bad-tempered little thing, and squarked indignantly if I had the audacity to pick her up, but she did like to come to me of her own accord to be stroked. I think that she actually liked me. She probably liked food more, but given how much she liked food, she could still have liked me a lot. Her favourite was me and lettuce, I think (lettuce doesn't deliver itself, you know).

She also got excited at cleaning out time, and ran around like a little crazy thing. When I dumped some sawdust on top of her, she stopped, looked a bit annoyed (and possibly also confused), shook herself off and continued with the excited running around.

Not really a comforting pet - Toby (the gay boy guinea pig - well, I am casting aspersions here, but he was either gay or impressively inept around the ladies) was better - he used to love being picked up and stroked. I liked to put him on a towel as he smelled a bit funny, but he was a very handsome and friendly little creature. Stupid, of course, and never as pleased to see me as Dragon was, but good to stroke.

Alas, they are all dead now. Snapdragon died quite young, of course. I occasionally think about getting some more, but the housing situation has never been good enough. Also, it will be a few more years before I can afford the vets bills!

Victor Kellar said...

Well, I have the two dogs of course, my border collies Hayley and Terra. But we had Gypsy the cat for 22 years

Growing up we always had dogs and cats. I had guinea pigs for a while as well, they are capable of bonding and affection but they are like rabbits, mostly they shit and eat and eat and shit

I've worked with horses a little bit, mostly big draft horses, hauling deadfall lumber from the bush in PEI. I like horses but I don't really understand them, I've been thrown and I've been bitten but I always knew it was because I don't understand them well enough

Dogs I get, mostly. I love dog training. I consider it a creative exercise; taking something unformed and making it into something whole. Having said that, I totally believe in letting dogs develop their own personalities. This morning, I looked out in the yard and there was Terra plaing in her her wading pool ... in the pouring rain

Border collies are great all weather dogs, I take them out every day, no matter the weather, when it's -25 C we may curtail that time but out they go

You mentioned sled dogs, I briefly worked with sled dogs in Thompson, Manitoba. These were hardcore working dogs, they were used by a trapper, not the sporting dogs that run sled races. I don't thing taking a team of Samoyd's on the Iditorad would work, their joints are fragile and and I doubt they could handle the stress

I can't imagine life without pets. Having the dogs gives me focus, it gives me structure and they just put a smile on my face every day. Hayley is such a sensitive dog; if someone is crying or just sad she will cuddle up beside them and give them kisses or just put her head on their lap. Who wouldn't want that?

JaneB said...

Lovely post!

We had mostly guineapigs and a couple of rabbits growing up. Guinea pigs can have great personalities once they are used to being handled... and some rabbits are very smart whilst others are dumb as a lump on a bump.

I now have a cat - or rather, have a cat as a flat mate. I prefer cats to dogs, partly because dogs are more needy both literally and emotionally, and that just wouldn't fit in with that toad work. I love the independence, the separateness, of a cat. I like their personality and uniqueness, I like their attitude. And I don't have another human to live with, at present, so not being alone, HAVING to get up to at least feed the cat, is also really positive. I am definitely her housekeeper/flat mate tolerated for food opening abilities and body heat sharer. And maybe friend although she wouldn't REALLY admit that.

SoulCrew said...

((((hugs)))) I just wanted to say that I received the wonderful postcard that you sent me. It came when I was in a particularly bad place, and just to know that someone I have never met, cared enough to send this to me, blows my mind. Thank you Cheryl and Linda, but most of all Liz for the amazing things you manage to do.You are an inspiration to me. Thank you

Mandy , Benj and Soot (the nutty cats) x.

wendryn said...

2 cats, one dog. Like and Eris (the cats) are both half Russian Blue and both rescues. They are sweethearts. Eris is our one-eyed cat, and she manages pretty well. Loki is a pain, and bosses the dog (who is 10 times her size, or a bit more), and we love them both dearly.

Our Great Dane, Nyx, is a very dear dog. She's almost out of the puppy stage, and she's turning into a stable, well mannered dog.

I really enjoyed the post - thank you for bringing back good memories of animals I have loved.

Stephanie said...

What a fun post! Hope you enjoyed writing it. I knew someone who was the horse girl as a child, then when she grew up her parents actually bought her a horse. I was floored. Guess it is something she was REALLY passionate about. (Not only did she read and draw about horses but she had the BIGGEST collection of horse dolls that she played with all the time.)

My parents had a cat when I was very young, which probably started my love of cats even though he was VERY different than my cats now. But after we gave him away I begged for birds. One flew away. The next died. The last two weren't quite as entertaining as I thought they would be so when we moved I gave them to a friend.

Then I got a rat. ;) Why didn't you mention them in your post?! They're so much cooler than mice.

Sadly, I was too young then to really take good care of her. She begged daily to be let out of her cage and played with, but I hadn't trained her well enough to not pee on my bed, so I only took her out when *I* wanted to play with her. I was still a child then. She died two or three years later after a stroke which scared me so, so badly. Out of all my pets, I think she's the one I still hurt a lot from her death.

A few years ago my parents allowed me to have a cat, after much begging. We went to a adoption day sponsored by the animal shelter with tons of kittens. The rule was they had to be 2lbs to be adopted, and the scrawny cat who was only 2lbs for about a second begged me to adopt her. She sounded like Ryo Okhi from the anime Tenchi Muyo at first. It was pretty much love at first sight. I miss her. I'll see her in a week!

Then my younger brother decided he wanted a cat too, so while we were there he picked out another cat, one with a broken tail and blue, blue eyes. Poor kitty, 'my' cat is still the boss of everyone. She turned from scrawny to The Queen. Crazy, huh?

If I had a dog I would want a big one to play games with. The family has a dog, but he's so boring to me, that I don't do anything with him. But! I'm seeing my cats again soon!

(My brother has a snake now too, how does that count in?)

Elizabeth McClung said...

I did have fun making this, but I planned it for a week, then started seperating or taking pictures, all 43 of them in the blog (sorry dial up people!). Which was about 7 to 9 art books and doujinshi, one shitajiki and I'm not sure what else. The writing was a couple days but I wanted a really good diversity in pictures and thought I would just cover the most traditional western pets - and around here, everyone was in a daze remembering the first pet or the school gerbil they got to take home one day a month in second grade and stuff like that. I did mean to put mice/rats as two of the pictures could be rats which are very tame and have good color and make good pets but since I finished up at 5:45 am, some slight errors crept in. Me write long. My favorite pictures are: the girl with the litter of kittens over her, the three dogs licking the girl with the hose; the cat girl with cut offs looking back (hot!), and the cat sticking out its tongue at the owner. I also liked the visual story of the kitten and the string.

Though I haven't owned a dog since very small and not really a dog person I wanted to make sure to have a good representation of positive dog images, so I looked for those particularly, as one reader said one time "Why is it always cats and cat girl?" - so I wanted parity, and lots of good pictures with dogs - the girl and the dog leaping into the water with the parents in the background going "Wha?" is pretty funny.

cheryl g said...

Thank you for this post it is fun and I can tell you put a lot of time into it. Ilove the picture of the girl covered with kittens and I really liked the kitten destroys manuscript story told in pictures.

Growing up we have always had cats and dogs around. The dogs were all working dogs so not very pet like. The cats were indoor kitties and barn cats. We also had goldfish which we would name and then get into arguments about which fish was which.

When I was in elementary school the class guinea pig came home for the weekend and we gave it a nervous break down. The cat sat atop its cage the entire time even when we covered the cage with a cloth. The guinea pig just huddled in the corner and shivered.

Uuuugggghhh ants… I lived in Southern California for 7 years (Death Valley National Park) and was in constant battle with ants. One night I was awakened because they were in my bed biting me. Since I had cats I didn’t want to put out poison but I discovered windex would kill them and if I made a perimeter of ground cloves they wouldn’t cross it.

I never had a horse of my own but there were the ranch horses around. I can ride and we did but the horses were trained for working cattle so pleasure riding was kept to a minimum. I rode more often when I visited friends who had horses.

Now, my parents have indoor dogs and outdoor cats. At the ranch there are working dogs, pet dogs and lots of indoor and outdoor cats. Between the parents, my sister and my nieces there are 9 Pembroke Corgis and one tiny dachshund as pet dogs. We tease my Dad about being the rancher driving around in his pickup with his weiner dog.

Since leaving home I have had cats. I had Rex Everything who was a very big, furry ginger Norwegian Forest Cat who was very clumsy as he was knock kneed. He was a rescue kitten who lost his Mama too early and ended up with rickets. My other kitty was Jezebel another rescue kitten with a diva attitude who turned out to be Siamese. Her favourite cat treat was a peppermint lifesaver. She would lick it until it was gone. She also liked animal crackers.

Now I am without pets since I can’t have them where I rent but someday I will have cats again.

I like cats because they are fun and affectionate but not needy. I love them for their independence and their unapologetic approach to the world.

yanub said...

Lookie! Blogger knows who I am today, so I can actually leave a comment! Wheee!

You would have liked to be with me and my daughter today. We stopped at one of the numerous produce stands in this rural county to get yard eggs. While there, the tiniest little calico scampered out, catching Carapace's eye right away. She squat down to say hello, and it ran right under her skirt to hide and stayed there until she pulled herself up. Then it looked confused, wondering where the hiding place had gone.

Going to the dog park and interacting with the owners and their dogs is a great idea. What a nice way to get the enjoyment of dogs without actually owning one. Like you, I'm more a cat person, but dogs are friendly and personable, and if you aren't worried about being knocked over by a rambunctious dog, their energy is invigorating.

Raccoon said...

in the New York Times yesterday, there was actually an obituary (sort of) for a neighborhood cat. The last paragraph reads: “You get so hard living here. But pets open up that heart center. There is something about the unconditional love; they clean the blues off of you. That’s their mission. That’s why a lot of New Yorkers have pets.” (Mark Dolengowski)

I've almost always had cats. I'm told that, when I was a toddler, a German Shepherd used to babysit me. She didn't like my brother though, so she had to go.

I've had cats that like sitting on my shoulder, and cats that actually liked riding in vehicles.

And Tish was such a comfort the first few years after the accident. I think that, without her, I wouldn't be in nearly as good a shape as I am now.

You know, girl? This was a tough one for me.

Elizabeth McClung said...

Raccoon: I wanted a post where people could remember the pets of their life. Which seems to be what happened, as we could even get Cheryl to respond to sentences as she was lost in memory after reading it. I am sorry if that opened up a lot of good, but sensative memories about your recent loss. But I hope good memories too, and new ones. I am sorry this was a hard one. I wanted to write something that made everyone together and happy, I hope that I catured the love cats bring.

SharonMV said...

I enjoyed this post too and all the lovely pictures - very aptly & beautifully illustrated.

I've always been a cat person. I always wanted a cat when I was young, but never got one.

And I was one of those horse girls - read all of the Black stallion books and The Island Stallion book also by Walter Farley. The Island Stallion series only had a few books in the series. He was wild and called Flame because of his red coat. A horse after your own heart, Beth.

I got my first cat, Dylan when I was still a teenager. He was a black kitten & grew up to be a big, black cat with yellow eyes. When Dennis & I first started living together, it took a while for Dylan to accept him. He was a great who moved with us from Santa Cruz to Berkeley and then to Long Beach. A cat of many names and many adventures. He lived to the age of 15.

After Dylan, Dennis & I got Circe, a cute little calico kitten. She was a beautiful cat & very sweet. She was mostly a indoor cat, especially after we moved down here to Mission Viejo where coyotes roam at night. She got out one night & we did not realize that she was outside. That was the night of one of the horrible ER visits that I talked about in a previous post. We never saw her again despite putting up flyers & looking for her. So she was presumed a victim of the coyotes ant the young age of 3 years.

Next we had Clio & Calliope, litter mates that we rescued from the pound in Orange county. Calliope passed away a couple of years ago at age 15 and we just lost Clio in January - she was almost 17 years old. It was very sad & especially hard on Dennis as she was his special cat & loved him best. But she loved me too & took over Calliope's job as my companion & friend as I am home most of the time.

And now we have the darling, extremely clever, beautiful and affectionate Chloe. A little silver & grey striped tabby kitten. We adopted her at 4 months old from our very nice shelter here in Mission Viejo. She is nearly 7 months old now. It's hard to believe that she's only been with us a few months.She is the perfect cat for us. But I must admit that I am a bit of a"cat whisperer", at least in choosing the cats that are to be our companions. Or maybe it's just luck that we've had such wonderful cats.


Raccoon said...

Sharon, you seem to like names that begin with The Letters "C."

Elizabeth, yes, lots of happy memories.

I once had a roommate who had a cat and a chinchilla. The chinchilla stayed, mostly, in this huge cage. Occasionally, we would let the cat (Xielle, I think) go in the cage. She would lie down in the middle, and the chinchilla would run circles in the cage: floor, end wall, top, end wall, jumping over the cat.

Something we learned during the times that the chinchilla wasn't in the cage: it could jump 3 feet straight up in the air and hit the ground running in the opposite direction! And could turn on a dime! It was also fun watching it in it's powder bath.

Stephanie said...

Heh, I think you did a good job on this post, Beth. It did give everyone something to pause and remember about and smile. I'm glad to hear you had fun making it, too!