It's not that I hate cats. I just have had so few good relationships with them. Usually I find that we have a conflict of interests: I need space on the floor to drive around (aka, can't just step over obstacles), and cats tend to like to superglue themselves in the most inconvenient places (aka, doorways and halls). This ends in either a crushed tail or me being tardy to appointments. Normally, we simultaneously tolerate and disdain each other with the attitude of, "As long as you leave me alone, I'll leave you alone... but I will not comply with your requests or demands."
Last weekend, my mom and I stayed at my Aunt Ruthie's house in Columbus, Ohio, and to my initial dismay their kind and wonderful late dog, Lady, had been replaced with a big, grey cat named Tom-Tom. But amazingly, Tom-Tom and I got along very well... I think it's because he acts like my dog, Beau... and that may be because they are both rescue pets who understand how good they really have it. Do you remember that song in My Fair Lady that says, "Why can't a woman be more like a man?" Well, that's my sentiment about cats: "Why can't a cat be more like a dog?" And so I found a good ol' chap in Tom-Tom.
I was told that he preferred to initiate relationships, so I should leave him be until he was ready. It didn't take him long to walk right up to me and cock his handsome face just so, to look me square in the eye and smile. That was his acceptance token to me.
I was also told that he likes to be scratched under the chin, so when he curled up on the chair next to me, I tried it out. That cat lifted his handsome face at me again and a wide Cheshire grin spread across his face and his tail swished happily. That was my acceptance token to him.
I said he reminded me of my dog, and that is true, though I would never tell Beau that, since he has a fit of fury at the mention of the "C word." Tom-Tom is quite social - he likes to sit in the chairs wherever people are gathered just to be in on the conversation. He does not like closed doors, and will paw and push on it until it is open... and then walk on. He doesn't care to enter every room, he just likes to be able to check on things.
Best of all, he was a gentleman. When he laid on the floor (which was seldom, since he seemed to prefer chairs), and he heard or saw me coming, all I had to do was say, "Tom-Tom!" and he got up and let me pass. I was glad to not have this conflict of interests.
So this entry is dedicated to the good ol' chaps like Tom-Tom, and to all those pleasantly-surprising friendships that defy social norms and expectations.