I’ve always had a cat. It isn’t that I don’t love dogs, because I do. But cats always seemed easier for someone with a busy life. You don’t have to walk them. You can put food out and they’ll nibble, not gulp. They’re rarely underfoot.
We mostly live on a boat, but now we also have the upstairs room and bathroom at our daughter’s. She has two cats. They visit us, check out the closet, jump in the windowsill, sniff shoes. But they don’t cuddle.
“Here Juniper.” She looks at me like I’m addle-brained. Don’t you realize to whom you are speaking? I am a cat. I don’t come when called.
I pick up Romeo, a sixteen-pound black cat. He stays in my arms for ten seconds, then jumps down, giving me an injured look. Really? You thought I wanted to let you hold me? Be serious.
I miss a purring cat, its sleek fur under my fingers, it’s warm body tucked on my lap. Some of my best writing was done with a cat walking across my keyboard or obscuring my desktop screen. We saw a few cats while cruising, but their owners were always fearful they would jump off their boats. We would be, too. We opted not to get one.
When we left on our eight-month cruise around the waters of the eastern United States and Canada, we still had one cat, a twenty-one year-old black cat with arthritis, dementia and other geriatric ailments. We chose to leave him with our daughter who took good care of him for the few months more that he lived.
So we’re technically cat-less.
Other pets live in my daughter’s house. I’ve blogged about Fred, the Bearded Dragon, and there’s Gillmore, an Oscar living in a large fish tank. I’ve actually bonded with Gillmore, who makes fish faces and stares at me if I don’t feed her.
I need a cat, but not while we have the boat. Too often there were colonies of strays near marinas…cats that jumped off a boat and never returned. I couldn’t live with that fear. I couldn’t keep enough chocolate on board.
Most cruisers have dogs, but they’re pretty high maintenance. Three times a day they hop in the dinghy and are rowed ashore to do their thing. I prefer to spoil my grand-dog, Jackson, when I visit him in Las Vegas.
So for now, I shall remain cat-less, petting my daughter’s cats when they allow it, talking to Fred the lizard and Gillmore the fish.
If I need a cat fix, there’s always YouTube.