I didn’t grow up with a cat or a dog, therefore I never really had strong feelings either for or against the household pets as a child. We had the standard hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs etc, but occasionally poking at a small creature in a cage isn’t quite the same as taking your dog for a walk. Having no personal experience of these pets, my only opinions were formed through limited time spent with friends’ pets. I grew up with the belief that dogs were big, goofy, friendly creatures who were ‘man’s best friend’ and always keen for a walk. Cats on the other hand were generally considered to be reasonably unfriendly creatures who either slept all day or stalked around, aloof and uninterested. I always liked the idea of having a dog but assumed taking care of them would be too much work, and was never really interested in having a cat as I didn’t really see the point. So overall, as a family we weren’t really pet people.
So a few years ago when my boyfriend suggested we get a cat, I wasn’t massively enthused. I didn’t see the benefit of a hoity toity creature stalking around, ignoring us completely and coming and going when it pleased. But it didn’t offend me too much either and as he was desperately keen, I obliged. And then Lilou arrived, possibly the most un-cat-like cat that’s ever lived. She was desperate for constant attention, loved a belly rub and was only happy whilst sitting on your knee. I had no idea how much I was going to love having a cat as a pet until Lilou came along. However Lilou was a rescue cat and quite elderly. We only had her for a year and a half before she died, but had to remind ourselves that her last 18 months of life with us had to beat being in a cage.
But I had the bug, coming home to a now empty house was unbearable. Sure it’s ‘only a cat’, but the joy created from a creature waiting for you as soon as you walk through the door is something that you just don’t appreciate until it’s not there anymore. After a month of being ‘cat-less’ we decided it was time to get a new one. Not a replacement for Lilou, but a new pet for us. So along came Gozo. It was difficult to imagine a cat more affectionate and more un-cat-like than the last one, but we’ve managed to hit the jackpot once again and have adopted one of the cutest creatures on earth!
I can safely say that I am now a ‘cat person’, not suggesting that means I’m not a ‘dog person’ as I’m fairly sure you can be a fan of both, but I can no longer imagine a house without a cuddly creature wandering around and despite the fact that Gozo might be around for the next 15 years or more, I already feel nervous for when he’s not!