A lifelong dog person reflects on having cats

First, the things I hate about having cats:
Sometimes, they won’t stay in bed with Peggy and me for our morning cuddle, but as soon as we get out, they get in.
They enjoy killing houseplants, and I have forty houseplants.
At nearly nine months of age, Ollie is still “nursing” on Brewsky, which would be bad enough even if he didn’t slurp.

The trust of a cat seems tenuous compared to the trust of a dog.

They sometimes duck and run when I try to pet them.

They roughhouse with one another, but they won’t roughhouse with me. 

Things I love about having cats:

They usually stay in bed with us while Peggy and I are having our morning cuddle. First, they bathe one another—often at the same timeand then they nap with their legs and tails entwined.

Brewsky lies on his back and stretches his legs straight out when he wants to be petted.

Brewsky has spots on his stomach, and his stripes show perfect symmetry.

Watching them roughhouse. They’re so rough that it worries Peggy, but I’ve come to trust that, despite their screams, they’re not murdering one another.

Their loud and beautiful purrs.

The sweetness of having Brewsky press his face into my side at the vet’s.

Ollie’s best feature is that his nose and mouth pooches out, and Brewsky’s best feature is his large eyes. 

Theyre self-cleaning.

They never bite or scratch people.

Brewsky likes to lie with his front legs crossed, and Ollie likes to sit with his front legs draped over the left arm of an office chair.

When we got Ollie last October, he was three months old and weighed less than three pounds. Brewsky was five years old, weighed 15-pounds, and was an indoor cat who hadn’t lived with other cats. Ignoring the book advice about gradual introductions, we put Ollie’s kennel on the kitchen floor and opened the door. He immediately ran up to Brewsky and started smelling him from bow to stern while Brewsky looked like he didn’t know whether to run away or kill a kitten. After a long moment, he performed his own odor exam, and then started bathing Ollie. Peggy and I were almost too joyous to contain ourselves because we knew that living with two cats was going to be good.

They’re happy being indoor cats because that’s all they’ve never known. (Outdoor cats are devastating to wildlife, and their lifespan is half that of indoor cats.)

Ollie is still a house-wrecking teenager, but Brewsky is so considerate that I can’t remember the last time I had a problem with him. Ah, but when he was an adolescent, he was willful, sneaky, and stubborn. He would also ambush Peggy and bite her legs hard enough to draw blood. Since we had previously been dog people, we didn’t know but what he would always be that way.

When I’m having my computer time in the morning, I pull Peggy’s chair next to mine and put my bed pillow in it so Ollie can nap beside me. The problem is that he likes to write, so he’ll get in my lap, look at the monitor (he’s a touch typist), and start writing indecipherable doggerel.

When I’m baking, Brewsky will sit and stare into my face. I know he wants a treat, but Ollie gets just as many treats as he without watching me with an expression that looks like love.
Ollie is a small cat with a comically long tail, and I love that tail. I also love looking at four pointed ears when he and Brewsky are cuddling. 

Cats, like dogs, are forgiving creatures. For example, when I step on their tails, or worse yet, their feet, they might run a few feet, but they stop to be comforted when I call them.

Last night, Peggy and I watched a National Geographic documentary about cats, and our cats took such an interest in the show that they watched much of it with us. 

I’m both saddened and touched by how much they miss me when I'm gone. Unfortunately for Peggy, this means that Ollie cries and jumps on her back. Twice, when she and I were away overnight, Brewsky knocked the same peace lily off the refrigerator.

Just as my cats miss me, I miss them. Even when we’re apart for a few hours, I look forward to them greeting me at the door when I come home. If cats were really as aloof as they’re portrayed, I wouldn’t want cats.

When something frightens Brewsky, he looks into my face for reassurance. He and I have a very strong bond, while my bond with Ollie is still growing. For example, a few days ago, Ollie jumped for a shelf, but only his front legs reached it, so as he hung there in wide-eyed desperation, I gently lifted him onto the shelf and petted him. It was partially the accumulation of such acts that bonded Brewsky to me. Dogs just naturally trust people, but it takes effort with a cat.

Ollie is still young enough that he likes to help me with handyman projects. I consider this an utter delight unless it’s a painting project.

I love listening to the sound of running feet when the cats chase one another through the house at night.

Peggy is phobic of spiders, and the cats like to kill spiders (much to Peggy’s displeasure, they also like to dismember them).

I never have to take my cats walking in the Oregon drizzle, and they would think I had lost my mind if I tried.

Ollie often makes things go bump in the night, and Peggy and I get to figure out what he “bumped” (she would put this under hates rather than loves). 

Brewsky's every emotion is written on his face. What a joy to be with a creature who's completely present and totally open!

I love it that the four of us make a happy family in which everyone is devoted to everyone else.