The last cat I had was a Russian Blue – though not a pure-bred. Just a look-alike. He would pose like a statue for hours, long, slender and regal. And those piercing, green laser eyes. He was the furthest thing from what we might call affectionate. Generally keeping his distance. But watchful. When he chose to approach (and it was always his choice), he’d do that thing that cats do: rub himself with your hand. As if you weren’t there, but the hand was. The hand was all that mattered.
He reminded me of an Alexander Archipenko sculpture that I had seen somewhere, so I gave him the full name, but mostly called him Arch. He was a yard cat, spending much of his time outside when we were around, but coming in at night. He never wandered far. He was a beautiful animal to watch when in hunting mode outside. Scrunching down in the tall grass, wiggling his bottom low to the ground. Then the pounce. Arch was a cricket and grasshopper specialist.
But he was also a mouser, with the occasional small bird thrown in. Mice were always left on the back step, as if to say: “Prepare this, master”. When Arch left us, I just couldn’t replace him. So I went back to dogs. I think it says a lot about us, the pets we keep. Cats come in many varieties, although I don’t think you ever know just what you’re going to get. I struck gold with Arch: independent, self-sufficient. Not a needy bone in his body. Cute and cuddly fulfills needs too though. I’m not knocking that. And dogs mostly have an abundance of unconditional love to give.
And pet needs certainly change over time. Where at one point a dog companion might just be the ticket, at another stage a cat may just be what your heart desires. So I’ve gone back and forth. Right now, I’m without and it’ll probably stay that way. But I certainly remember my many pets over the years with affection and in some cases sadness.