I love cats. I have experimented with being a dog owner but overall I still prefer cats. I love their soft coats, their big eyes, their independent and unpredictable natures and the way you feel so calm when they snuggle up on your knee. They don’t ask a lot. A warm bed, two little meals a day, a cuddle from time to time and regular trips to the vet to keep them in good health.
But there is a downside. They may seem like like your best friend. They rub against your leg as if to say ‘I love you’. But as soon as they are out of your sight they become creatures of the night, up to no good and looking for any way to test you to the limit. I have many stories to tell – the night mine tried to get a fully-grown female pheasant through the catflap, the afternoon when he dropped something on my knee as I sat organising exam papers on the floor. I flicked it off my knee only to recoil in horror as I realised it was a mouse’s head. So many stories and so little time.
But the one thing that really gets to me more than any other is the ability of the cat to vomit at will. In my last house we actually dispensed with carpets so that the house was easy to clean and very hygienic. We only kept carpet in the bedroom. But no matter how you plan, why is it that the cat will always vomit in the most difficult places to clean? My cat’s favourite places are over the back of the sofa, over the edge of the utility room shelf where he sleeps (this wouldn’t be so bad if it didn’t mean a stream down the front of the washer, over the control panel knobs and the washer door) and on any floor with a light-coloured carpet.
To be fair, they generally give you notice. The sound of a retching cat is pretty distinctive and will give you about 15 seconds’ notice to leap off your chair, get to him and usher him to a safe place. Then you only have the cleaning up to do. However, they learn to be quite sneaky so that you don’t hear and then you get a lovely surprise when you find the little gift with your bare foot.
Yes, I love cats.