It's tricky trying to decide which pets I've had which I've considered 'beloved.' I think most pets are endearing and quickly earn a special place in our lives. But, if I had to narrow down my choices of 'most beloved pets,' two favorite cats come to mind; well, maybe three.
I was about 4 or 5 years old when we got "Susie" as a kitten from one of my older cousins. Susie was a gray and white tiger cat who quickly grew to be a large, fluffy cuddler. I honestly don't remember much more about her — only that she was so big and so friendly and loved to be carried. One memorable quirk she had was that she always looked both ways before crossing our busy street! She was a smart kitty. Maybe being a mama cat gave her wisdom.
Much more recently and more clear in my memory was the arrival of Flip. He joined our family one sunny October day in 2010; a very memorable day!
Our Siberian Husky Sammy kept up his noisy "something's wrong" barking that afternoon, until I went outside to investigate. There around the corner of the house hunched up in defense and hissing at our dog was a tiny orange and white kitten about 8-10 weeks old. I was surprised how much gumption this little cat had, standing up to a large adult dog! I managed to get between them, and the kitten seemed to decide that I was the lesser of two evils and came to me, allowing me to pet his head and loving every second of it. It was like he 'said,' "Okay lady, you can pick me up. Just get me away from this barking beast!"
Since our Minnesota winters are brutal, and also since we needed a cat, we decided to make Flip an official family member, with all the bells and whistles (nice cage, lots of toys, tasty cat food, and the run of the house). That winter, he made himself at home, always sitting with me and getting constant attention from family members. He'd even track me down when I was on the computer, jumping up on my lap, curling in a ball, and napping. My husband joked that the little cat seemed to believe I was now the official mom cat! Yes, he was — and still is — a special kitty.
He well earned the name 'Flip,' given to him by my youngest son. In the evening when we all relaxed in the living room, just before he was put in his cage for the night, Flip would get a great burst of energy. He'd decide to quickly jump up on the couch and tag me on the shoulder, then jump down and run away. Big fun for a little cat! He soon got to know when it was time to go in the cage for the night. He'd run and hide behind the couch! It took a great deal of inching the heavy couch out very carefully before the kitty was carefully retrieved. "Mother" (that would be me) was not too happy about this daily game!
By the next Spring, Flip seemed to indicate that he wanted to be an outside cat. He still is today, and loves to join me when I work in the garden. Every morning when I mail something and every afternoon when I get the mail out of the mailbox, Flip comes down the driveway, waiting for me to pick him up. I get a nice loud PURRRR in reward and some soft cuddling. He gets kitty treats.
I can't forget our other cat, Wuzzy, another gray and white cat. She had her first and only litter of kittens 3 years ago, on Mother's Day (how's that for timing?)! I call her "the love kitty" because she shows up instantly when I go outside, waiting to get her back rubbed. She's 4 now, but her fur is still extremely soft and thick, like a little kitten. She's always at my feet and was especially clingy the day before she gave birth to 3 kittens. I later read that mother cats are especially friendly towards humans just before they give birth, which I found surprising. We later had Wuzzy spayed, which seemed a little traumatic for her, but she seemed to know her unofficial "mom" (me) would be there for her and we've been "besties" ever since. In a home with all males, we females have to stick together, right? She's very adept at using her little white paw to pat my hand when I feed her. Too cute!
Our pets bring so much joy, entertainment, and love to us. I can especially appreciate them now that my children are all grown. Pets really are a bright spot in our too busy days. Who can feel stressed when cuddling those soft little fur balls?
And yes, they enjoy being spoiled!
Belle Plaine, MN
Read more pet stories in Pet Stories: Remembering Favorite Four-Legged Friends.