Anne Palumbo: Cat owners deserve R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

Anne Palumbo

I don’t know about anyone else who owns a cat, but I can’t take it anymore. 

I’m talking about the reaction I get from certain people when they find out my pet of choice is a cat.

They look at me like I’m a neat freak who presses her sheets.

They suspect I’m Howard Hugh’s long-lost twin sister.

They see me as someone who doesn’t know how to have fun.

Me? Me! The baby who sprung from her momma’s loins clutching a whoopee cushion. 

This past week alone, I encountered two such folks who, upon hearing that I owned a cat, gave me the ol’ “huh.”

I don’t like to be “huh-ed” in this regard. It translates into this: “A cat, huh? Well, why bother? Don’t they just disappear all day until they need something? Don’t they hate to be touched? Don’t they refuse food unless it’s served on a silver platter?”

No! No! No!

Cats are loving, sociable, time-consuming pets.

Of course, if you’ve never owned one, you wouldn’t know that, now would you?

How could you?

How could you know, for instance, that unlike a dog that shows its love by wagging its tail, a cat shows its love by depositing darling gifts at your unsuspecting feet?

Why, just the other day, Kitty proudly presented me with the remains of a frog that clearly did not see the Big Truck coming.

Honestly, I can’t even find the words to describe how overcome I was with the unexpected gift. The way the frog’s intestines were splayed like a ruby bracelet … the dangling eyeball … the severed limb.  

As grisly as the token may seem, I knew Kitty was conveying “thanks” for the catnip I surprised her with over the weekend.

And talk about affectionate! Granted, she may not jump up and down when I walk in the door, but she lets me know she worships the ground I walk on in other precious ways. 

One way she displays her dying devotion is by using my forehead as prime kneading material for her aching paws. Each morning, in fact, she seeks out my head and gives it a good going-over. Oh, the love! Oh, the adoration!

And Kitty is not aloof. She’ll sit on anyone’s lap (so long as you tickle her chin and stroke her back for a reasonable amount of time – say, two hours). And if she’s really feeling a connection, she’ll take it upon herself to groom your forearm with her admiring tongue. How sweet is that?

What’s more, Kitty is not all that independent. Contrary to what many people think, a cat requires just as much care as a dog. Maybe more. Kitty, for example, due to a delicate digestive system that is prone to regurgitation, demands multiple feedings throughout the day. Plus, she will only drink water from a faucet. Last but not least, she needs ongoing cognitive therapy to suppress her wayward desire to relieve herself on the bean bag chair. Okay? She’s a handful!

Anyway, I hope I have debunked some myths about cats and their owners. Indeed, we deserve recognition for our pet efforts – if not for the devoted care, than for the gracious way we handle half-eaten chipmunk entrails dropped tenderly near our morning coffee.

Anne Palumbo writes this weekly column for Messenger Post Newspapers.  E-mail: avpalumbo@aol.com.