A cat is not a dog

Lee and Robin visited last night with our 21-month-old grandbaby. Brewsky hated Sidney at first sight, but has since become grudgingly reconciled to her presence although she tries to poke her fingers into his eyes. Last night, she had no sooner seen him than she hit him on the head, and this so infuriated Brewsky that it’s to his credit he didn’t bite her, but neither did he spend the rest of the evening hiding as he once would have done. Instead, he intermittently, over the next six hours, hissed long and loudly at her parents. Lee and Robin seemed mystified rather than worried, and I had no idea that he would actually attack them, so I did nothing to silence him, partly because when I chastise Brewsky, he has a history of later biting Peggy hard enough to draw blood.

I initially left it to Peggy to solve the biting problem, but when months passed, and he was still transferring his anger at me onto her, I felt that I had to help. The next time he ambushed her, both of us chased him through the house cursing loudly. She soon thought he had had enough, but I chased him until he was too tired to run, and I then lay on the floor and cursed him some more as he cowered under a recliner. This was nearly a year ago, and he hasn’t bitten her since, but I wasn’t about to stifle the rage that he felt last night because I had never seen anything like it. It’s also true that I could scarcely believe it, and this tended to paralyze me.

Brewsky is 4 1/2, and it has only been within the past six months that I’ve grown close enough to him that I’m content to not have a dog. I’ve always admired several of his features, for example, his self-cleaning feature, his litter box feature, and his never needing a walk feature, but now I admire him. My present problem isn’t so much with longing for a dog—as Peggy does—but with being tempted to get another cat. If not for Peggy’s refusal, I would surely have two cats, although I would worry about Brewsky’s reaction. I met a couple last week, the man of which talked his wife into getting a second cat. The first cat hated the second cat so much that when they were alone, he would pin her into a corner and keep her there. Brewsky seems content with his life as the only cat, and at 14-pounds he could be formidable if he didn’t like his new brother or sister.

Peggy plays with Brewsky and cuddles him to the small extent that he will allow, but I mostly massage him. He likes deep tissue massages, and never bites or claws when he’s had enough. I also give him frequent small treats. He’s normally so easy-going that I sometimes greet people at the door while holding him upside-down under one arm. I think it fair to say that I’ve become that which I never thought I would be, someone who loves a cat almost as much as he could love a dog, and to think that it only took four years. It’s only the trouble they represent that keeps me from having another dog (I never imagined that I would someday be burned-out on baths, foot-wipes, vet visits, wet wintry walks, and late night poops, but I am), because I would have fewer qualms about exposing Brewsky to a dog as to a cat.

I call Brewsky Sweet Man, Shit-Head, Fuck-Face, Best Cat in the World, and many other terms of endearment. Yesterday, I hugged him while pretending to cry as I said, “I love you, man.” So often when one straight male tells another he loves him, he’s so overwrought that he throws in the word man to avoid sounding effeminate or, god forbid, gay, and so it was that I got a laugh from Peggy by assuring Brewsky that I hadn’t gone sissy on him.

My only wish is that he was more affectionate. Of course, I had a schnauzer named Wendy who was less affectionate than Brewsky (Wendy would walk away if you tried to pet her), but I never doubted her commitment because twice she came after me when I left her at someone’s house. The first time, I resolved to never do it again, but the second time, Peggy was there, so I didn’t hesitate. On both occasions, I met Wendy walking down the road looking for me when I returned. Peggy says that Brewsky gets upset when I leave home even for a short time, and twice when we were both gone overnight, he knocked heavy flowerpots off the top of the refrigerator. This tells me that he feels connected to us, but as Peggy’s sister who has nine cats told us when we got Brewsky after decades of nothing but dogs, “You are dog people, and a cat is not a dog.” This is so true. I’ll always miss having a dog, but if Brewsky died tomorrow, I don’t know but what I would grieve for him as much I have for my many dogs because, as with dogs, he isn’t just like a little person in a fur suit, he’s better in some ways.