By Rosie Preston
It wasn’t long ago when a person questioned why I love my pets so much. I can understand from an outsider’s point of view that owning pets requires time, energy, and money to keep them healthy. My family lived in the country when I was young, and our dogs and cats were outside animals. I never remember my parents spending money on them. They ate the table scraps but were as healthy as a horse!
Things are different now. We own two inside cats. One is a black and white bobtail whose fur continues to grow all year, so we have him shaved in the summer months. His name is Preston Kat, and we found him when he was a kitten. Then we have Mocha, who is mostly Siamese. She is the gentlest cat, and my granddaughter claimed her on her first day with us.
Our cats have ways of communicating with us. Preston Kat has a daily routine. The first thing in the morning, he goes to sit in Phil’s lap for a time of sharing love and petting. He then comes to me and meows until I get up and give both cats their food and water for the day. Their first activity of every day is to play fight. It is hilarious. Shortly you will hear a loud, “Meow!” The cats separate and rest a while after this exercise. During the day, they go to different rooms, often together, where they will nap off and on.
Later in the evening, Preston Kat sits in front of my chair in the den and keeps turning his head to look at me and meow. He then walks a few feet away and repeats the meow. It took a while, but I finally realized he is telling me it’s his bedtime. After brushing my teeth, I find him in my bed on my pillow. Preston Kat is very heavy, around 18 pounds. I have to pick him up to move him because he’s very stubborn and wants to be as close to me as possible. When I had neck and back surgeries about six years ago, Preston Kat did not leave my side. A few weeks ago, I started having headaches. I went to lie down one day, and before I knew it, he had his head touching my head and then placed his paws around my head. I believe Preston Kat has an animal instinct in knowing that I felt pain in that area.
Mocha has been with us for about two years. Phil found her in a cardboard box on our front porch. She was a tiny thing, and I was afraid that Preston Kat would not like her. After he hissed at her for a couple of days, he did the strangest thing – he adopted Mocha as his kitten. He would bath her and stay beside her for most of the day.
Mocha follows us around most of the day, no matter what room we may be in. If we are in the bathroom, she comes in and sits in the bathtub. If we are taking a bath or shower, she sits on the commode.
We also are the proud owners of two dogs. One day I decided to visit the local Humane Society and I fell in love with a beautiful white, brown and black spotted dog who was about three years old. This girl looked at me with these beautiful big eyes and I adopted her and naming her Layla. She weighs about 50 pounds.
Not long after Layla arrived, we found a little black dog down the street who was starving. Now she overeats to compensate for being hungry. She weighs around eight pounds. The two dogs really make a team! The little one tries to be the boss and growls a lot, but she gets no headway with Layla, who pays no attention to her.
The two dogs stay out in our fence most of the time, but when they do come in, they get petted and are given snacks before going into their “cave” (a crate) covered with a blanket. I never knew dogs would love a crate in the house before we learned this idea from a friend.
We have photos of the cats in the dog cave after the dogs go outside. We still haven’t figured out why the cats go in there.
Several weeks ago, we went to the store to buy cat and dog food. As we stood in the dog food aisle, we listened to a young couple beside us deciding which brand of dog food to buy.
“This one has chicken and some mixed vegetables in it,” the guy said. “And that is a beautiful dog!”
Then the lady said, “Let’s continue looking. I think they need at least two kinds of meat and more vegetable and vitamins. Oh, look at the sweet puppies on the bag of puppy food!”
Phil and I looked at each other and quickly moved away from them. We didn’t want them to hear us laughing so hard at their antics. That had been us a few years earlier. We also bought pet food according to the advertisement on the packages.
One day we arrived home after shopping and the animals had not yet eaten that day. Feeling tired after putting up groceries, we placed their food bags on the kitchen floor. Within an hour, we heard a scratching sound. Upon investigation, we discovered Preston Kat clawing his way into the dog food bag and eating it the dog food. We could not believe it! We had strived to find the food the cats would love. But hey, they didn’t have a clue!
We’ve found that our dogs do well with food scraps left over from a meal mixed with their dry food. Our cats, however, will only eat cat food. I often wish that it would be an easy task to feed my family, but they look at the advertisements as well, especially the great-grandchildren, because they love their ice cream and candy! Their Nana (that would be me) may be the only person in the world who allows them to eat in bed. They find it funny when I tell them I would never let their mother do it. But it feels so loving to cuddle together as we eat whatever treat they chose, which varies from ice cream to chips to candy.
The other night after settling into bed, I felt something under my back. Sure enough, it was scattered potato chips. I was thankful it wasn’t a bug. When I told their mother about it, she said, “Nana, I can’t believe the things you let them do.”
Keep smiling, Rosie
Please send me a poem or short story at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to publish it!