And that’s exactly what my husband and I did one year ago when we found Maggie at an animal shelter. At a mere 2.5 pounds and approximately 6 weeks old, she was deemed old enough for adoption.
The shelter where we found Maggie socializes homeless kittens in multiple foster homes before releasing them. And boy, does it show. Maggie is by far the friendliest and most affectionate cat I’ve ever owned.
As to our first anniversary with Miss Mags, we both agree she’s morphed from angelic babycat to the terrible twos in the blink of an eye.
Of particular irritation to my husband is Maggie’s penchant for swinging off of his Italian chairs. God only knows what they look like underneath the pockmarked slipcovers – we’re too afraid to look.
And then there are the smears and smudges left by her cold, wet nose that she renews daily on the picture window as she struts to and fro, surveying the garden beneath. Her nemesis is the occasional daddy long-legs dancing on the other side of the glass, which has her slapping her front paws against the pane, to no avail.
She’s a quiet cat, but she always responds when spoken to with a resonant trill much like a tribble (Trekkies take note). It’s curious to hear the tessitura of her chortles and her implied approval or annoyance, depending on what we’re asking.
“Cover your business, Maggie Meyer-Wong!” I’ll say to her as she exits the litter box without burying the evidence.
I imagine her deep-throated reply, “Try and make me!” as she gallops away.
When my husband arrives from work, she’s at her wackiest. As docile and affectionate as she is during the day, when he appears she pushes the envelope, knocking over stacks of his books and magazines, hiding his tie stays or batting guitar picks off his music stand. It’s quite astonishing to see the transformation from princess to panther and I must confess, her chutzpah delights me.
Most endearing of all is her behavior towards him when I’m away. She retires her hustle and becomes docile towards him, sleeping next to him each night, holding my place until I return.
Utterly charming and touching are the times when, on business trips I’ve found her favorite toy – a yellow metal coil – tucked inside my luggage as a surprise totem of our bond.
Studies report all kinds of curious data on the differences between dog and cat owners. Dog owners tend towards extroversion and typically follow rules. Cat owners are more likely to be introverts, marching to their own tune and less likely to conform.
Other studies find that cat owners receive numerous health benefits, many of them cardiovascular, including reduced cholesterol, lower triglycerides, lower BP and less chance of sudden heart attack or stroke.
Dog owners are typically more physically fit and friendly, due to daily dog walking and the community it engenders.
I find these studies interesting, amusing and potentially divisive.
Sure, they probably have a grain of truth in them. But ultimately, the common denominator is love. If you have a critter to love – 4 legged or otherwise – then you will no doubt reap the benefits. It’s no secret that feelings of appreciation and gratitude have a profound effect on all aspects of our physiology. You can learn more about the health benefits of many types of pets here, PLUS find great information on a variety of companion animals by exploring the links in the sidebar.
Additionally, pets give you the blessed opportunity to practice Karma Yoga every day – selfless service without personal expectation.
Whether you are a cat or a dog person, consider adopting a pet this summer – 4-legged or otherwise. As any pet owner can tell you, what you receive in return is priceless.