by R.D. Hartwell
I do not like dogs. I realize that this pronouncement may scar me in the eyes of my daughter, my grandson, and perhaps many another. However, I do not like dogs. This actually is not based on the fact that they are dogs, canines -- I like wolves and coyotes -- but is, rather, based on the fact that dogs are domesticated. They are, in theory at least, house-tamed. This does not always equate of course to being house broken. Hey, I have a broken house and a ruptured family and my daughter’s puppy still pees on the carpet!
Now cats! I like cats. I love cats. Cats are not domesticated. To them a house is merely a large cavern in which to go spelunking until comfortable with the knowledge of its extent (vast), its dangers (few), and its pleasures (many). I do not own cats, never have, but I’ve been tolerated within the cave by many cats. Presently, ten felines allow me concurrent residence within their cave. (Please, before you contact the local city authorities, these all have been rescued litters.) I consider this cordial of them, and crafty, particularly since I continue to feed them and clean the sandbox in the back.
While typing this I look down and notice one cat, Gabriel, continuing to sleep atop my computer. Gratefully, he is not on the keyboard this time, but on the CPU; he is curled on the tower, the memory, soaking up the thermal energy within the cave. It’s strange how so many cats weigh heavy on my memory. I think of Ignatz and Pericles, Pumpkin to his friends, of Daddy Kitty, and most recently of Bug. There have been so many others throughout six decades, inside the cave and outside, that it is impossible to keep all their names straight. But my memory holds bits and pieces of images -- bytes if you will -- flashes of action, lengthy scenes of lethargy, and occasional slashes of terror and tears. Through all these years I have been pleased to have been the companion of cats.