My cat Scout

It is possible for a dog lover to become a cat lover. I did not know this until I adopted a cat. At the time, I was transitioning between dogs, and the apartment I lived in did not allow dogs anyway. I was lonely. I needed a pet to cuddle with, to come home to after a stressful day at work. A cat fit my lifestyle better than a dog. Along came Scout.

It happened this way: A friend of mine said she was taking care of some kittens, an “accidental litter” from a neighbor’s cat. She was trying to find homes for all of them. I told her not to bring them near me or I would want one. An hour later she plopped a gray, striped, green-eyed tabby in my arms. Then I was a cat owner.

Honestly, when Scout and I started off, I didn’t know much about cats. I thought kittens had to be trained to use a litter box. I thought an unsupervised kitten would destroy my apartment at night. I thought I could train my cat to walk on a leash, to love water, to stay off the counters, the couch.

Two years later, like any cat, Scout does what he wants. He walks on all the furniture, counters and kitchen table included. And he sleeps in my bed. Or, according to him, I sleep in his bed. He pretty much has me trained to do whatever he wants. Cats are smarter than dogs. If he wants attention, he goes into the kitchen and slams the cupboards over and over until I’m so annoyed I have to acknowledge him.

Scout has some very dog-like qualities, too. He actually does like the water, as long as he’s not in it. He retrieves better than some dogs. He is kennel trained; in fact, he voluntarily goes in his cat carrier. And perhaps the best thing about Scout is he tolerates dogs. He might even like my mutt, Ace.

Scout and Ace are like siblings. They love each other but will not admit it. Ace is the annoying little brother who likes to agonize his (slightly) more mature brother. And Scout is pretty patient with him. I even caught them both on the couch together, one on each end so they didn’t have to touch. But my boyfriend is convinced they cuddle when we’re not looking.

Anyone without a dog in their home is lacking something. But a home is not a home without a cat.

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