I have never really thought of myself as a cat person. Now that we have three young cats living on the place with us, though, I well might be headed in the direction of the 3 in 10 America households that own at least one cat.
We didn't set out to share our little acreage with cats; in fact, Buddy our springer spaniel moved here with us four years ago. He liked his new home, and I guess he made it feel more like home to us, too. But he just got old. We miss him still.
I missed having another pet, though, and it turned out that kittens were easier to come by than puppies. Besides, kittens are just cute. We've had donations from several litters, barn cats all that get along just fine living outside in a building that's warm and tight in the winter and offers a good breeze in the summertime.
I understand that approach is definitely not the norm in these days when pets are generally part of the family in a different way than ever before. Special beds, clothes of their own, gourmet food, grooming, and recently I saw a dog owner going for a walk with her pet riding in what looked to be a dog stroller,
These are house dogs, no doubt, pets who share the house of their owners as part of the family. Our pets are pets. I think that's because my husband and I both grew up on farms at the time we did, when everyone had animals and worked with them and took care of them and made their living from the animals. So I guess at the end of the day one wanted to leave them outside to go inside the house.
Of course, even though my cats live outside, they want to be inside sometimes, too. Their favorite trick recently is to climb the window and door screens when they know I'm in the house. You haven't lived until you've seen a kitten spread-eagle on the door screen, belly facing in, of course.
I like that adventuresome attitude, and I also like the lap-friendly, cuddly attitude of kittens. I call the two I have now my purr machines, but actually their names are Melvin and Myron. The stray who happened by and stayed is Sam. We've also had a Hazel, a Freida and a Marvin. Edna turned out to be an Edward.
Perhaps pets are important to women because it gives us a chance to be nurturers after our nest is empty. My children have told me they were convinced I'd have a house pet of some kind after they left home. Not yet. So far I'm happy with the way things are.