“Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.” Robert A. Heinlein, American sci-fi author
Cats are a mystery to me. Why this is so is less difficult to assess.
Once, in the 1930s, a cat sunk its claws into my grandmother’s hosiery and left a trail of fabric mayhem and bloody scratches down one of her legs. Ever since, family members have fraternized with every sort of dog imaginable. But, cats? No. Family is family. We walk to the other side of the street if need be.
Or, we at least pretend such indifference. In reality, I have been petting cats for decades. One such cat is Peter, who technically eats and seeks shelter from the elements at a neighbor’s house. Perhaps because this neighbor also has a puppy and four small, loud children, Peter spends much of the rest of his time lolling about on our porch.
“I didn’t think you had a cat,” one neighbor commented. Peter was surveying us and the rest of the neighborhood from our ballustrade.
“He thinks we have a cat,” I replied.
And, so we do. As much as anyone has a cat. At dawn, he’s at the front door when my husband collects the newspaper. At dinner, he peeks eagerly in through a screen, much to the dog’s annoyance. At twilight, he sometimes wants a pet before it’s time for him to settle into plush pillows on the wicker.
It’s usually me who goes out to sit on the top step and accommodate him. Sometimes, however, I make the mistake of petting him too like a dog. Peter nipped my hand rather painfully on one such occasion and I didn’t pet him for a week. Perhaps my grandmother was right. Cat are not to be trusted.
But, last night, he may have actually pondered jumping into my lap for a moment. As it was, he briefly rested his paws on my knee before moving into a figure-eight loop around a potted fern — as mysterious as ever.