It was rather weird. I don’t particularly like cats. But I woke up with a nice fuzzy feeling and a faint, but very distinct, wish that I had a gray cat named Star-Belly.
The only time I had a cat I actually liked was when I was seven. It was a birthday gift from my uncle. It was a gorgeous little Persian kitten, with a tiny nose, a squished face, and long gray downy fur. I named it Fori. “Afor” is gray in Hebrew. And everybody kept calling him Afori, and it totally pissed me off every single time. I thought they were either deaf or complete dimwits.
“It’s FORI! Get it right!” I’d steam.
That cat stayed with us for a year until we had to give it away prior to our relocation to Canada. I loved Fori because it was unlike any other cat I’ve had the misfortune of running into. Except for its habit of making my mom angry by scratching the living hell out of all the furniture, it had a rather Canine attitude. He responded to his name, came when I called him, greeted me when I came back home from school, followed me wherever I went, fell asleep with me in bed…
Other cats I’ve had or met were being their annoying feline selves and felt it necessary to use my legs as scratching poles. And after moving back to Israel and seeing rabid stray cats littering the streets, whatever was left of my appreciation for the feline breed started waning.
I miss Fori, but I would give anything for a Retriever or Labrador puppy. Besides, I have better experience with dogs and I find them easier to train. After raising and training my own dog, Buxy, I learned that dogs have the innate desire and ability to strive to satisfy their owner. Stephen King accurately describes this attitude when talking about a dog named Betsy in his short story A Very Tight Place:
“When Curtis wanted the TV remote, he only had to say “Fetch the idiot stick, Betsy,” and she would pluck it from the coffee table and bring it to him in her mouth. It was her pride…
“Sometimes looking at the idiot stick on the coffee table and thinking (of course) of how happy Betsy was when she brought it to him. Human eyes hardly ever looked that happy, especially not when the humans in question were doing chores.”
Cats on the other hand, unless they’re Fori, are too independent to bother with such things. Sure, they can be friendly and fuzzy and all that fun stuff, but I personally love the constant interaction with a dog while training him and the strong ensuing connection with the canine.
One of these days, when I make more money or when the capitalist system finally meets its demise, whichever one comes first, I will get me a dog… and maybe even a Persian cat, who knows?
Peace, love and softy fuzzy fur