Monday, October 08, 2007

As Every Cat Owner Knows, Nobody Owns A Cat - Ellen Perry Berkeley

We recently "inherited" a pet...a short-haired gray tabby named Dexter. Dexter belonged to my father's roommate for his whole cat life. Then one day, the roommate moved out, and my father, the cat-lover, said, "Dexter, party's over Pal" and made Dexter move outside. Dexter enjoyed his 3 months living in the outdoors...he chased birds (and caught a few), he rolled in the dry New Mexico sand, he came and went as he pleased. Then my father had a change of plans.

Dad got a new that took him from the dry heat of New Mexico to the frigid winters of Minnesota. And again, cat-lover that he is, he decided not to take Dexter along for the ride. There was a no-kill shelter in Albuquerque, so that was his plan. Until the boys and I flew out for a visit about 2 weeks before his move. How could we let this lovable, kid-friendly cat just walk out of our lives? My husband had always wanted a cat. We had fish, but there's just something about having a pet you can actually, well, pet. So the decision was made. Dexter would come home with us.

Now keep in mind, when we fly, my entire family flies standby. This means that you go the to gate, wait for every single person and their brother to board the plane, and then if there are leftover seats, you get to fly. If there aren't seats, then you go to the next gate and try again. It's a perk of working for an airline, and usually works out for the best. That is, until you try getting four people and a cat on a flight from Denver to St. Louis. It just doesn't happen, or at least doesn't happen easily. We'd ended up driving the rental car from New Mexico to Denver, enjoying the scenery and some mighty tasty Beau Jo's pizza. Once we got there, however, the fun really began.

I'll put it this way...we planned on leaving on a flight from Denver to St. Louis on Saturday. We ended up not getting home until late Tuesday night, and the only way we did that was to fly from Denver to Chicago, then take yet another rental and drive home to St. Louis. It was an ordeal, and not one that I'll soon repeat. That's about the most polite thing I can say about that. Four days stuck in an airport, wandering from gate to gate like lost puppies (or kitties, as the case may be), will make anyone lose their mind.

So...we've had Dexter for awhile now. He's a wondrous cat...lazy as hell, friendly as all get out, doesn't play unless you want to play, etc. He's my dream cat. He sleeps in between my knees every single night, and he loves to have his belly rubbed. My favorite thing about Dexter? He has taken to climbing onto the very top of my high-backed office chair and lounging there while I sit at my computer. It's the perfect place for him, like it was made specifically for him, as he lays his head over the edge and his front legs fall on either side. Of course, I had to learn not to lean back with him there, so not to throw him off balance. But this was easily done.

Dexter has fast become a part of our family. The few beginning times that he'd gotten outside (or that I thought he'd gotten out, as he was sleeping on some coats in the living room closet), I was heartbroken. I was bawling as though one of my children were missing. Now he takes regular romps outside, with either Big Boss Man or me watching closely to make sure he stays near (at least for the present). I would have never thought that I could become so closely attached to an animal, but it's happened. He is a true blue family member. He's completely taken over the house, and has earned his rightful place. We don't own a cat...quite the opposite rings true.


Elizabeth said...


Don't think for a moment that you own that cat. He owns YOU!

I have heard of Dexter's exploits. He is a fine example of FELINE. :)

Patrick Truax said...

He is a wonderful addition to the family. However, you guys are right, he owns us!