Friday, December 28, 2012

The cat at my feet

kw: animals, pets

This afternoon our son asked me when we might get a dog. I haven't had a dog since I was 13. I had three dogs in a row, in four years, and each was run over by a car and killed before I'd had it six months. My wife grew up with a dog, but doesn't seem particularly taken with them either. We do like cats, but just one at a time. We presently have (or are the territory and food supply of) a 3-year-old, rather aloof Calico.

I wrote yesterday about pets, triggered by reading the book The $60,000 Dog by Lauren Slater. I remembered all the cats I grew up with. I have to set my mind to it to remember the dogs. I continue to wonder if we can understand animal feelings. Consider this:

When I was ages 7 to 12, we lived on the edge of a suburb, next to rural fields. We had several cats, and seldom had one "fixed". On three occasions, a young female had her kittens in my bed, at my feet. The time in the middle (I was 11), I was sleeping in a sleeping bag in the "tree house" (a play house on 8-foot stilts our father had built). I awoke with warmth at my feet: the mother cat nursing six kittens. When her time came to deliver, she climbed up into the tree house and burrowed to the foot of my sleeping bag, ignoring my brothers who were sleeping nearby. Can a house cat feel trust? I have three reasons to think they can.

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