|Lucky (left) and Scout (right) sitting in MY chair.|
Scout, one of my cats, recently went to the vet for a routine exam. During the course of the exam, the vet kissed the cat's head and told him he was a sweet, sweet boy. Scout lapped up the attention and gave me a look that said, This is how I should be treated 24/7, Pat. Take notes.
The vet then told me a story. Years ago, a woman of about twenty brought in a kitten for its first-ever exam. The vet kissed the kitten. (Those of you with cats aren't a bit surprised. What are kittens for if not kisses and cuddles?) Anyway, the kitten's owner reacted with horror. "How can you kiss that animal? You don't know where it's been."
The vet reacted with disbelief. The woman apparently equated kissing cats to having unprotected sex. He wasn't happy leaving the kitten in the care of a person who didn't approve of displays of affection, but what could he do? He examined the animal, pronounced it healthy, and vaccinated it.
The young woman never returned to the practice, and the vet was glad. He thought about the kitten from time to time and hoped it was okay.
My point, and I do have one, is that animal lovers, particularly those of us who share our homes with pets, are different than people who dislike animals.
Animal lovers share the patch of shade, the couch, and even a corner of the bed with their pets.
We accommodate our pets' quirks and habits. For example, I no longer set the table in advance because if I do, I'll return to find a cat sitting on a dinner plate. Valentine's Day is coming, but I can't have a bouquet of flowers in the house because cats will nibble at it. At Christmas time, I don't hang ornaments on the tree's lower branches.
One of my cats believes any unattended glass of water is meant for him. It took me a while to tumble to this fact, and when I did, I realized I'd been sharing H2O with him for months.
The story of the kitten that had never been kissed (by its owner) haunts me. Nature makes baby animals, humans included, adorable for a reason. Their roundness, soft features, and eyes too big for their faces ensure they'll be cared for by adults.
In fairness to the kitten's owner, she ensured the animal's healthy start with a veterinary exam. I give her props for that. As for affection, I hope the kitten got it from someone else in the household.
Would you kiss a kitten?
To what lengths do you go to accommodate your pets?