I had plans, plans for a dog. A bandana wearing, Frisbee and ball fetching dog. One to take walks with, or hikes even, to play with the niece and nephews, splash in the pool kind of dog. I wanted a labrador retriever, color didn’t matter, just the perfect sweet fun buddy that labs can be. Instead I ended up with cats. Two of them.
The cat saga began with The Dude, or ‘yard kitty’ as I called him initially. A neighborhood cat that every afternoon when I came home from work would be laying in the grass in the shade of a tree in our front yard. Eventually we named it The Dude, because he was always ‘abiding’ in our front yard. He was at first skittish, not friendly, never coming to be petted, but still quite calm and content it seemed to hang out in our yard. He had a few matted patches of fur and his white coat was filthy, it was obvious he hadn’t seen a brush (or probably the inside of the house) in a long time. Being the sucker I am, I put out water and eventually dry food.
Months passed and The Dude, still happy to eat what was provided but never approaching social had company in the yard. An also quiet but much friendlier striped short-haired cat. She had a delicate little face and a slight limp but was very eager to introduce herself to us. After a month or so realizing she too was a stray we invited her in and called her Lucy. She was happy to be inside and quickly became the ideal cat. The limp prevented her from jumping on anything, higher than a couple of feet and she wasn’t in the habit of clawing up furniture , her only vocalizations were a gurgled “murph”. She didn’t want to be on your lap often and wasn’t overly thrilled with being petted but she was quirky and sweet, so we kept her.
The first visit to the vet we found out she wasn’t a she but was a he, Lucy quickly became Luc, a 16 month old neutered male whose limp was actually the result of blunt force trauma that had broken his leg from the ball of his hip. He would always have a limp, but if we chose to we could have a femoral head ostectomy done and remove the ball of the hip which would remove the pain he was in. $1600 later we had a cat in a cone. Nearly a year later he’s fine, twice as active as before, no limp, more affectionate and much more playful. He really wanted a buddy to play with, and he would be the ideal playmate for a dog. I couldn’t wait!
But what to do about The Dude. All this time The Dude was still living in our yard, under the tree or sleeping on the rocks under our hedge. We did eventually build enough trust to get him to tolerate the petting, but with summer here… I couldn’t bear the thought of him in 110+ degree temperatures, so we finally invited The Dude inside. It’s only been a couple of months, but we’ve discovered The Dude is actually a female, so we’re 0-2 on figuring out the sex of cats. The Dude has trust issues. She has spent so much time alone she came into the house and simply retired. Her days are now spent sleeping on the bed, sleeping in her favorite box, or sleeping on an afghan with a view of the window. She doesn’t play. She seems baffled by toys, even the laser pointer is something to watch rather than something to stalk and try to capture. The only activity she seems to enjoy is hissing at Luc. He is the quintessential annoying younger sibling, following her around, rolling over, trying to engage her in play she wants no part of. She hisses if he’s near, she even hisses as she walks by him, even if he’s sleeping (just as a reminder she doesn’t want him around). Thankfully he’s never been aggressive, he often looks baffled when she hisses, he’s not afraid of her, but still doesn’t seem to understand she doesn’t want him around.
So where in this menagerie of poorly socialized, oddly behaving, cat house will my dog fit in? The husbandguy says that the cats are enough… but which of these two cats is going to wear a bandana and go on road trips? No one will play fetch or hell even come running when I call their name. Who will sit on my lap and get hugs? Not these two, that’s for sure.
All I wanted was a dog, instead I got a couple of cats. I love the cats, but I’m still holding out for a dog.