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The Sleepy Eye Herald Dispatch
  • Cats have many useful qualities

  • I was surfing the web the other day and landed on a website, supposedly written by a “cat expert” that doled out tidbits of advice for cat owners.
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  • I was surfing the web the other day and landed on a website, supposedly written by a “cat expert” that doled out tidbits of advice for cat owners.
     
    One tidbit of advice urged cat owners with more than one cat to put out separate dishes of water for each one.
    Another morsel of advice recommended we have separate litter boxes.
     
    How about separate toilet stools for each of the cats? How do we carry out the recommendation of separate dishes for cats?
     
    I can already hear the conversation.
     
    “No, no, Harley, that’s Stanley’s dish. Please drink out of your own.”
     
    Or….“Stanley, what are you doing in Harley’s bathroom? Get out of there and use your own litter box.”
     
    Sometimes the advice given to cat owners by well-intentioned experts involves technically sound advice, but also some advice is totally impractical and nearly useless.
     
    Of course, some people think totally impractical and nearly useless virtually describes cats themselves. Most people use kitties primarily for the quality of being cute. I’ve found our kitties have a number of functions outside of just sitting there looking pretty.
     
    For one, they tend to be natural born killers. Despite how adorable they are, they are extremely good at catching just about whatever they want–flies, moths, socks, your lip when you are sitting in the chair watching television.
     
    I’m hopeful that when the renegade mouse moves in this fall hoping to live secretly among us, they will nip that in the bud. The truth is a cat will go to work every day of the year catching everything in sight. I suspect it is partly more fun than anything.
     
    In addition, they provide therapy by providing comfort when desperately needed and they make good lap blankets. Shedding also seems to be something they are fairly inept at.
     
    We have a small collection of mostly white calico cats–two to be exact. Unfortunately, we are unable to sit on any of the furniture or pick up our kitties before going to work or to a special occasion where we want to keep our clothes looking nice. If you forget and pick up one of those snuggly kitties, be prepared to have a hairy chest–on the outside of the shirt. The dark one, of course, that shows less of us, and all of the cat hair.
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    Last week I was visiting with one of our cream colored outdoor cats. I picked her up and was astonished at the amount of hair left all over me. After several minutes of brushing I had her hair tamed down. But what’s going on here? It was unbelievably hot out that day, but why would she be shedding at the end of the summer?
    I had some extra time so I did some research.
     
    She is getting a head start on winter. What was happening is that outdoor animals are starting their winter coats down underneath the summer coat. To make way for a thicker coat, the summer hair is being pushed out.
     
    Think about it, if a cat waits until the weather turns cold to begin putting on its winter coat, the coat won’t be thick enough for the first frosty day, not to mention the gridlock of the dead of winter. That’s the thing about Mother Nature, she plans ahead and then some.
    Back in the caveman day we also discovered fire to get us through the winter. Cats have discovered how starved humans are for affection and made good use of it. We sit in the winters with our cats on our laps, each one of us warming the other waiting for spring.
     
    That brings me to the conclusion that cats are, in fact, not useless. If you judge them as you would a friend, cats are good company, likable, often entertaining and make great blankets in the winter.
     
    That's useful enough for Hubby and me.
     

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