I know I've been talking about cats a lot lately. I have been a cat lover since I was old enough to communicate this preference (according to my parents it was definitive by the time I was about 18 months old).
While this may be because of a beloved stuffy my grandmother bought me, it certainly wasn't exposure. We didn't have cats, and my parents had not grown up with cats themselves. Sure, friends and neighbours had cats, but many had dogs too, and I never became a dog person. I begged for cats, as the story goes, just about every day, until I was 11, at which point, my parents finally gave in. They were always worried about my brother, because he had asthma and a plethora of allergies, but he didn't turn out to be reactive to the cats. Thank goodness, because at that point I was thoroughly sick of hamsters and fish! The two kitties we got, Mittens and Ziggy, were awesome. Very gregarious and affectionate. Amazing cats! They both lived about 15 years I believe.
Ironically, I have had many people, over the course of my life, tell me I remind them of a cat, or have cat eyes. I take this as a compliment!
I haven't owned cats of my own for 9 years, since Big A was about 6 months old, and we had to give away my 2 sweeties because of Adam's allergies. Adam has never been an animal person period, and has no desire for a pet. Ever. He merely put up with them during the time we lived together with my boys, Lester and Milo. I was lucky to find a great home for them, however, they both passed away a few years ago.
For a while, when the girls were little, I was too overwhelmed with caring for them to think much about cats. But slowly, my obsession has started to creep back. I've always found cuddling cats to be therapeutic, and to be honest, I miss it. I try to get my fix by cooing over adorable Internet photos of cats, and playing with cats I run into in the neighbourhood, but, of course, it isn't quite the same.
My girls have sort of picked up Adam's nervousness around animals, particularly dogs, but I love of cats is obviously infectious, because they both now name cats as their favorite animal and often ask if we can get one. No. Not just because Adam is allergic (people always tell me to get the hairless cats), but because I am not sure I want the responsibility. Pets are also messy, and I know that would make Adam nuts. As much as I love cats, I love Adam more!
Nevertheless, I sometimes worry the girls are missing out on the valuable experience of having pets. They really are good for mental health and wellbeing, there is no doubt about that. I am also fascinated by the recent research suggesting that children who grow up around dogs and farm animals are less likely to develop asthma! I guess the girls will just have to wait until they have homes of their own.
In any case, we are excited that Toronto is supposedly getting a cat café, that will allow patrons to fraternize with kitties. I have also heard about visiting pet services that let you 'borrow' an animal for cuddles. I think I'll have to look into that!
For now, it works for me to gush over photos of cuteness, but if the girls ever do get cats of their own, I'll be going to visit...a lot!
If you have cats, give them some cuddles for me this weekend!