“I think we should maybe invite a cat into our home.”
Honestly, I thought I was hearing things.
“Fido, what did you just say?”
“Maybe we should get a cat.”
You could have knocked me over with a feather. There have been plenty of cool cats cross my path over the years. There was Buster, for example, over in the East Bay, and there was the cat in Cedar Rapids that caught everyone’s attention. His name was Director.
There were dozens of others.
There have been disasters, too, such as that Cat Who Shall Not Be Named.
Fido sat at my feet, his big browns staring upward, his purplish chow tongue in mid-pant.
I put down my book and laid it on my lap.
“Tell me about this, Fido” I said.
“When I was at the shelter, there were all kinds of cats. Some of them I didn’t particularly care for. I found that the female cats were more churlish than the males.”
“Churlish? Fido, you amaze me with something every single day.”
“Maybe you won’t understand what I am about to say,” Fido said. “Four-footers such as myself like being with other four-footers. It’s a four-footer thing. It’s something a biped would not quite understand. With winter coming up, a cat might add some warmth and color around the house.”
I arched an eyebrow and gave Fido a gentle pat on the top of his head.
“Plus,” he intoned, “I must admit to cat fantasies.”
“Male cat fantasies?”
Fido lay on the floor and closed his eyes halfway. “Mmm,” he said.
In the past I figured that was just Fido, drifting off to wherever he goes. Now I know he’s sometimes having a male cat fantasy.
While Fido was having his male cat fantasy, I opened a book, but couldn’t concentrate. I myself began to fantasize. I closed my eyes. What I saw was a winter night. Snow falling, college basketball on the tube, a fire in the woodstove.
And there, right in the middle of my fantasy, is a cat, curled up with Fido, asleep in that crook between his hind legs and his belly.
I called Lisa Schade at ICARE for Pets.
“How hard is it to introduce a cat into a dog household?”
Fido was still in his half-sleep.
Lisa pointed me to some terrific research and tips on the Internet and I pulled up the pages on my laptop.
It turns out that it would be more complicated than merely driving to the shelter and bringing a feline into the family.
A noisy thump-thump car drove by our house and Fido came out of his reverie
“Have you thought any more about the cat?” he said.
“As a matter of fact, I have.”