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The Cat Who Came To Dinner

Author : Susan Hawkins

Submitted : 2009-11-05 07:22:06    Word Count : 698    Popularity:   72

Tags:   cat bed, pets, cats, stray cat, dog, dogs, story, short story

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Until this three month odyssey, I wasn’t much of a cat fan. It’s not that I disliked them. I just hadn’t been around cats much at all. They seemed too independent and not inclined toward unconditional love. My husband and I were newlyweds, and we had just moved into our first home, a dark brown contemporary cedar with lots of grass and trees, when our neighbor’s cat, Pixie (or perhaps it was Dixie,) charmed her way into our lives—and our hearts.

I have a perfectly good explanation about the confusion with the cat’s name. Our next door neighbors, Greg and Linda, had two cats—Pixie and Dixie. The cats were somehow related (sister and brother? two sisters?) and had very similar markings, mostly creamy white fur with patches of gold and orange here and there. I couldn’t tell them apart. And I really didn’t need to, even when one of them began hanging out on the wooden deck that ran across the back of our house. A cat’s a cat. At first, I’d step out of the sliding glass doors to join the cat, petting him (or her) and talking the way anyone talks to an animal when they’re becoming acquainted. But it didn’t end there.

After about two weeks of this interaction, I began leaving the sliding door cracked to see what kitty would do, and of course, just like your typical cat, she (or he) felt entitled and strolled right on in, carefully checking out the surroundings, rubbing cheeks on the furniture and sniffing wherever appropriate. A few days of brief indoor visits led to entire evenings when Dixie (or Pixie) would join us on the living room sofa for television and popcorn. She (or he) thrived on affection and would sit for hours in my lap while I stroked that velvety fur. I was completely aware that my previous perceptions about cats were changing right before my eyes.

Because it was rude to have an extended stay guest without providing meals, I bought cat food and treats, setting a spread every evening with a bowl of fresh, cool water. Our neighbors (you remember them—it’s their cat) didn’t seem to mind that one of their own had found new accommodations. They had just had a baby, so I imagine they were somewhat glad one of their cats was taking a sabbatical.

About six weeks into this mutual arrangement, Pixie (or Dixie) felt comfortable enough to start sleeping in bed with us. It was actually very sweet. As a newlywed, I felt like we were well on our way to building a cozy home. Unfortunately for the cat, neither Jim (my husband) nor I was used to sleeping with a cat. One night, Jim swept his leg in a wide swath across the sheets, and Dixie (or Pixie) went flying into the wall.

Whump! Meowwwrrrrrrrrr!

You’d think that would have cured the cat of sharing our bed, but the treacherous sleeping arrangement continued until one thing changed everything.

We got a dog. A puppy, in fact, and a big puppy it was. A German Shepherd. In our defense, we had decided to get a German Shepherd while we were engaged. We agreed, as soon as we got a house, we’d find a puppy. Although Jim had had a cat as a child, he preferred dogs, too. We brought little Zak home on a Saturday morning.

Dixie (or Pixie) took one look at this puppy (only eight weeks old and already bigger than the cat,) and she (or he) took off like an F 16. After that, we’d see her watching us from the other side of the fence, staring at me as if to say, “Idiot. We had such a good thing going, and you blew it.”

I guess I was hoping that Pixie (or Dixie) and our little Zak (who eventually became 110 pound Zak) would become friends. The cat knew better, though it was lovely while it lasted. The best part? I learned something about cats—and life. You never know what’s going to touch your heart until you let it in.

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Susan Hawkins is a writer for Max and Mittens where you can shop for cat supplies including cat beds, treats, toys and collars. http://www.maxandmittens.com/cat-beds.html

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