Thursday, February 7, 2013

He Kissed a Kitten

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?


Jennette Marie Powell said...

Some people are just squicky about kissing critters, so hopefully that kitten still got petted and snuggled. I don't like the dogs to lick me, but I do pet and cuddle them. We do all sorts of things for the dogs. Running out of dog biscuits would be a major crime around here. When my parents come over, the know the first thing they have to do is get the dogs a treat. We leave Wolfgang his spot on the couch. DH leaves the toilet lid up for Wolfgang to drink (I know, ewww!). We save salad leftovers for the turtle, and TP tubes for the gerbils. When my daughter goes to college, I'll probably write in her room so the turtle doesn't get lonely. She likes having people around.

Lark Howard said...

I grew up with a father who was a germ-phobe and repulsed when we kissed and hugged my mother's poodle. We also had an outside dog (yeah, now the thought of not letting a dog inside horrifies me, but as a kid I didn't know better) who was my youngest sister's favorite. When she was little, she'd take her popsicle/lollypop/sandwich/cookies outside and share them with Tippy bite for bite or lick for lick. The one time my father caught her I thought he was going to have a heart attack. She never stopped, just made sure he didn't catch her.

I'm all for kissing and hugging pets--puppies and kittens are especially irresistible--and like being kissed back. We never invited our Lab onto the furniture or into our bed (my husband is a designer who buys very expensive furniture)but instead spent lots of time on the floor with him. He never figured out the cushions were more comfy than the floor and he was perfectly happy in his own bed.

Coleen Patrick said...

If it's my pet then I would be kissing it. Other people's pets I will pet. :) We don't have any furry creatures in our house--yet. I definitely see them in my future though.

Liz Flaherty said...

I kiss cats, especially kittens, but iffier about dogs, though I sure can't explain why.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

I like that word "squicky," Jennette, and am going to adopt it. Meanwhile, I'm laughing about your parents giving your dogs treats because when I visit my older daughter, I consider it my right and privilege to give treats to her dog. Ewww! isn't in my vocabulary when it comes to pets, and I applaud you for thinking about ways to ease the turtle's loneliness.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

You made a liar out of me, Lark. I just told Jennette ewww! wasn't in my vocabulary when it came to pets, but that's the sound that leaked out when I read about your sister sharing popsicles and such with Tippy. Bless your sister's heart. I'm guessing she's a pet-loving adult with a robust immune system.

I see another Lab in your future.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Coleen, I admire your code. Other people will not have to worry about you alienating their pets' affections.

I see a kitten in your future. A gray one.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

I hear you, Liz. Cats are capable of making sudden, unexpected moves, but, most of the time, they don't bother. Dogs seem to twitch and flinch, so it makes sense to take things slower with them.

Kay Hudson said...

My cat sleeps with me every night, Pat, and about 6 AM she climbs up on my chest for her morning purr and snuggle, which often includes her washing my face with her sandpaper tongue. She gets her share of kisses, too, but I draw the line at washing her face.

Patricia Rickrode w/a Jansen Schmidt said...

Oh course I would kiss a kitten. I'm not a cat lover, or even liker for that matter, but I would kiss a cute cuddly kitten to pieces.

Maybe the kitten's human was a germophope. Seems strange to have a pet if you weren't going to be affectionate to it.

Of course there's people who have babies too and don't show much affection, or even worse - abuse. It's sickening to think about, but they're out there.

Here's to the pet lovers! May we live long and prosper and may out pets always bring us delight!

Patricia Rickrode
w/a Jansen Schmidt

Lynette M Burrows said...

I kissed my kitten when I had her (she lived for 20 years) but my DH is terribly allergic to cats, so we have dogs that don't shed (incorrectly called nonallergenic by some). And we both kiss and receive kisses from the doggies. But I have a harder time kissing big dogs, their slobbery tongues are more than I can handle.

I hope that little kitten lived a long, happy and beloved life.

Alarna Rose Gray said...

Oh my! How sad! Why would you have an animal if you don't want to touch it?

I'll admit to I've gone to extraordinary lengths to accommodate my pets - all gone now :( But I'm not beyond singing lullabies to aged canines :)