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I have always had a soft spot in my heart for cats. I like dogs, too, but cats are subtler in their ways. Cats have gotten a bad rap over the centuries, seeing as they are often associated with bad luck, witches, and evilness. I can see why, though, with their penchant for mischievous behavior.

Our cat, Major, came to us about 11 years ago. Our son purchased her for $20 at the behest of his girlfriend, in order to keep her from being put down. The kitten, I mean, not the girlfriend. When she proved too much trouble our son persuaded us to take her. Again, the kitten, not the girlfriend, and by persuaded I mean he brought the cat over to our house and left it with us.

We already had two dogs living in the house. The older, a long-hair Chihuahua, loathed the cat from the very start and saw her as something to be barked at and chased. The other dog, a puggle, saw the cat as a friend and bedmate. Major saw the puggle as a pillow and playmate. They got along wonderfully for years. The Chihuahua passed on in 2010, and the puggle this past May.

Suddenly Major is the only pet in the house. She went through a mourning phase at the loss of her puggle pal but soon realized that the humans in the house were potential companions. This caused a change in her behavior. She was used to the thick-bodied puggle as a warming pad and bed pillow, now she sought out the warmth of humans. My wife is not fond of cat fur so she keeps the cat at a distance. I often see Major resting on the back of the chair within about five inches of my wife's head as she is reading. My wife reads, I mean, not the cat.

Inevitably, Major gets bored with watching my wife read so she seeks me out in the media room. I have my favorite recliner and she feels there is enough room for both of us even though several other chairs are present. Her favorite tactic is to climb up the back of the recliner then jump down into my lap. Since I am usually half asleep in the chair, this brings a yell from me which runs her off. For years we have had this battle. I often have a drink or chips in my chair and I don't want to consume cat fur as well. So the cat sits on the floor by my chair until she decides to repeat the process.

The other day I decided to just let her stay in the chair. She nestled in the space between my leg and the arm of the chair. I happened to put my hand on her back and realized that her fur was rather cold. Now I know what she is trying to do. She's trying to get warm. I think about how she must feel not having her dog friend around any more. Then I think about how she is getting on in years. In fact, she feels rather scrawny to me, though her appetite is good. But she is getting to be an old cat. How much time before she crosses the Rainbow Bridge?

I pet her fur softly as she falls asleep. She purrs quietly, whiskers twitching occasionally. The cat and the man are getting older. She just wants a little companionship and to warm up against another living being, while she can. Not much different from the old man.

Like I say, I have a soft spot in my heart for cats. Especially this old cat.

• • •

Devin Houston is the president/CEO of Houston Enzymes. Send comments or questions to devin.houston@gmail.com. The opinions expressed are those of the author.

Editorial on 10/10/2018

Print Headline: Old men have a soft spot for cats

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