Saturday, February 7, 2009
This is our cat Bella. I never thought I would be a cat person. Growing up I was allergic to animals. We could never have a pet because I would react so badly. Not only did I have allergies, but I had asthma too. So, my eyes would water, my nose would run, sneezing fits would ensue and I'd be gasping for air. How attractive!
When my children were just toddlers, right after we bought our first house, we were stung by the gardening bug. We would work for hours in our yard planting bulbs and perennials and other beautiful plants. We'd weed and mulch and mow and prune and really enjoyed the view from our deck at the end of a long day. The next day we'd wake to eaten leaves and turned over pots. The neighborhood rodents had moved in over night to destroy all our hard work. One of our neighbors had a cat and claimed that his yard was virtually untouched by these menacing creatures because this cat would shoo them away. So, we thought we'd get an outdoor cat. Every garden center we frequented had a resident cat. Why hadn't we thought of this? We figured if it was and outdoor cat, it wouldn't bother me. So, we got Zoie. A beautiful black and white tuxedo cat. She was very sweet, and loved to chase critters. Occasionally, she even brought them to us as gifts. My husband and the kids would take care of her and I would admire her from afar. Everything was wonderful again. The yard never looked better. The view was perfectly spectacular and pristine.
But, we lived in Ohio where its only warm half of the year. We toiled over what to do with the cat over the winter months. We certainly couldn't keep her outside in freezing temperatures. So, she ended up living in our basement. I only went down there to do laundry, so I'd be okay. As time went by, living in the basement became a half time thing. The kids would bring her upstairs to play for a little while each day, and that turned into spending hours at a time upstairs. All the while, I would be in another room, guarding myself from the potential explosion of my overly sensitive sinuses. It wasn't long before we realized that I wasn't having any reactions. What had happened? Had my asthma and allergies disappeared? It couldn't be. As a child, all I had to do was look at a cat or dog and I'd go into anaphylactic shock. It was amazing. I was cured. Maybe all those years of allergy shots had really built up my immunities to the point where I could live in harmony with all things furry. Life was good.
As time went on we added another cat, Milo, to the family. Now, my daughter was also afflicted with allergies and asthma. My weak gene pool was passed on to her. The cats never bothered her until she went away to college. Something about being without them had affected her. She would come home over Christmas, Spring and Summer breaks and do that whole exploding thing. The poor girl had, it seemed, developed an allergy to cats. We had to find nice homes for Zoie and Milo. It was very sad. I hope never to have to do that again. It felt like part of the family had moved away.
Kate really missed having a cat around, so in her junior year, when she had moved from the dorms to an apartment, she and her roommate decided to get a kitten. I warned her about the possibility of having to give it up if she couldn't breath, but she forged ahead. She has been a year and a half with Grizabella and has had no problems. Knock on wood!
One day, a woman at work asked if anyone wanted a kitten. Her cat had had a litter of 4 and they were looking for homes. We really missed having a cat around too. And that is how Bella came to us. She is a curious, playful, bundle of fun. It amazes me the things that keep her attention. Opening the refrigerator door will bring her from the furthest location in the house. I don't know what she thinks is in there for her, but she absolutely loves to stand in front of the open door. And, if you dispense crushed ice from the door and let one of the cubes hit the floor, she will play with it until it's a puddle. She is always at the door to greet us at 5:15. I'd like to think it was because she misses us during the day, but I'm sure it's because she's hungry. Her favorite place is on my husband's chest. He'll sit in his lounge chair, and just wait for her to come curl up under his chin. Maybe it' the beard that she likes. It's great to have her around.
Now, to finish the title of this posting...
Dog is to Frisbee as Cat is to... Milk Jug Rings. You know those plastic rings that you tear off the cap to open the jug? Those are, without a doubt, her favorite things in the whole world. Ah, Bella!
Posted by Wendy Martin at 12:14 PM