Feline Fantasies

I’ve dreamt of kittens three times in the last two weeks. I don’t need a Freudian analysis or dream dictionary to tell me why. I want a kitten. I miss having a cat in the house. This is the first time in my thirty-five years that I haven’t had a cat in my family.

My childhood cat was Tonya, a lean pure white female with one blue eye and one yellow eye. She was an outside cat who was a bird killer extraordinaire. For a brief time there were Chester and Emily, the grey striped twins who the neighbor mysteriously made disappear. Poor little Chester and Emily. Next was Patches, a beautiful calico whose back looked like a perfect patchwork quilt, and then her son Cowboy, who was black and white and walked bow-legged. I think he ran away. My Junior High years were accompanied by Backwash, a plain gray female who was named after a surfer in one of my favorite movies at the time. My mother couldn’t stomach calling her that and nicknamed her BW for short. Ok now as an adult I can admit that was a horrible name choice, but I was thirteen and thought it was cool at the time. After Backwash became ill and was put down, I rescued a scared starving stray from a snow storm and named her Trouble (because I was in trouble for bringing her home). I nursed her back to health and she was so thankful, she ended up being my best cat ever. A beautiful black and white long-hair, Trouble was my closest, most loveable kitty. For awhile she had an adopted brother named Charlie. But that orange striped spaz was so naughty he had to go live on a farm (not the kind of farm you tell a kid when a pet dies, I actually gave him to a lady who had a farm.) But Trouble was my baby and lived to the ripe old age of seventeen. She was so frail and sickly we had to put her down last year. We’ve been feline-free ever since.

So why don’t we just get a new kitten? Someone was even giving out free kittens at the school last spring. I could have easily brought one home without much thought, as I always did in my previous life. But my previous life did not include an adorable six year old boy that is allergic to cats. No matter how much he’d love to have one himself, it does not change the fact that cat hair and dander closes his airways. Actually, now I am quite allergic to cats as well. I believe I had built up some kind of resistance to my own cats, but we kicked Trouble outside a few years back when we got a new home. Not being exposed to her daily, I gradually got more and more sensitive to them. Now, twenty minutes at my mom’s house and I’m reaching for my inhaler.

I’m not a cat freak. I do feel there is such a thing as too many cats. And in the grand argument of cats versus dogs, I really do like them both. We have a Labrador Retriever. But nothing has ever seemed quite as homey and peaceful to me as the sight of a cat curled up in the sunshine on the end of the couch. The relaxing vibration of their purr as you pet them, or when they rub against your leg when you’re standing in the kitchen. And watching a kitten play is hours and hours of cheap entertainment. So even though my heart is breaking, I must deny all urges to bring home that cute little kitty… and hug him, and love him, and name him George. No. I will just continue to snuggle kittens in my sleep, waking to feel like something is missing.

But hey, at least I don’t have to clean a litter box!


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