Learning to live with a cat…again

Despite growing up with a cat named Phil, I’ve always considered myself more of a dog person. Don’t get me wrong: Phil was great (rest in peace, buddy). However, I found myself bonding more with our Labradors.
Phil and I were cool, but the dogs were always up for attention and always excited to see me when I’d get home. Phil was hot and cold. Sometimes he liked to cuddle, sometimes he liked to hang out on the couch, too, but usually he did his own thing, and would get a little annoyed if we gave him too much love.
That’s one of the big differences between cats and dogs: dogs are tremendously loyal and caring while cats are too cool for school. They usually play it down if they are excited about something, just like a teenager receiving an award or scoring the winning basket. Emotion? That’s optional.

Last fall, I started living with a cat again for the first time in years, inheriting one when my wife moved in. Moonlight, a male cat, had to get used to a new home, a new male and kitty litter (he used to be more of an outdoor cat). I won’t lie: the beginning was rough for both of us. One day the basement door was shut and Moonlight peed in my duffle bag. That was ugly.
“He did it to send a message,” I told my wife.
“No, he didn’t,” she said. “He just wasn’t able to get to his kitty litter so he assumed the bag would do.”
Moonlight is a very vocal cat. Before getting his food in the morning, he spends a lot of time meowing. In fact, he’ll keep meowing until he gets his food. Sometimes he’ll continue meowing even after we give him his food.
My wife and I both have said “Shut up, Moonlight” on a number of occasions, usually after already giving him what we thought he wanted.
But, I must say, Moonlight is also a very loving cat. He knows how much we do for him, and he seems to appreciate it, snuggling up with us pretty much every chance he gets. In fact, we usually have to kick him out of the bed at night and send him downstairs (where he sleeps). Then, in the morning, he’ll often jump onto the bed with us after he’s had his food (on weekends, of course. During the week we don’t get the opportunity to get back into bed after feeding him, although it would be nice).
Although at first it was frustrating, I’ve warmed up to living with a cat again, and have bonded with Moonlight. Even my wife’s daughter (who is the rightful owner of the cat) noticed when she was back in town from California this summer.
“He likes you,” she said.
“You know,” I said, “…I like him, too.”

(as published in the Lewistown News-Argus)


About CharliesTrail

Originally from Indianapolis, Denison is a writer and musician who has picked up culture and influences from eccentrics all over the U.S. and overseas. He is a University of Kentucky Journalism School grad and an award-winning Montana journalist. Through the years he's had work published by "Chicken Soup From the Soul," DVD Netflix, Montana Quarterly Magazine, NUVO and Americana Highways. He has a solo album, "Whispers of the Lonely," and continues to chip away at his first novel. Currently Denison is the editor of The Boulder Monitor in Boulder, Montana, where he lives with his wife.
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