I’m really a cat-person. Honest.

So here’s the thing: I’m actually a cat-person (…”whereas “cat people” tend to be more neurotic but “open,” which means creative, philosophical, or nontraditional”).

I have had cats, and only cats, all my life. And for a good portion of my life I was either afraid of dogs, or disliked them, or both.

Growing up, one of our neighbors had a German Shepard named “Grunt”, who was trained as the watchdog for a gas station. Of course I was afraid of him–we all were. In 3rd grade, there was a dog who would sometimes corner me on the way home from the bus stop–growling and snarling if I moved. He not only scared the snot out of me, but I also got in trouble for being late coming home until one of my older sisters finally confirmed my story. Then there was the high school classmate’s older dog who bit me in the face when I was 16. It actually required a few stitches and if you look closely, you can see the tiny scar just above my lip.

All of those experiences meant that I was pretty adadment that I never wanted to own a dog, and didn’t want to be friends with any dogs.

Plus, I love cats — we always had cats growing up. There was Jessica, a beautiful long-haired cat who looked like a cross between a Main Coon and a Persian and was shy and sweet. Clyde was a sleek black cat who was named after my then-favorite hoops player, Walt Frazier. Max was a black and white cat I adopted from my high school basketball coach. Fred was a tabby I adopted while in college – his claim to fame is that he used to visit Nancy Hogshead whenever he escaped from our room. I’m pretty sure she let him play with her gold medals. Nemo was an orange Persian I bought from a breeder when I lived in Germany.  The only purebred cat I ever owned, Nemo died very young from some congenital illness (I never quite got the German-English translation, but I think it was a form of feline AIDs.)  After Nemo’s death, I adopted Amos – a gorgeous cat with an all-black coat except for one small spot of white on his chest. Amos had a deformed left hip, so he happily thumped along on 3 legs his whole life. Lizzy was a sweet tabby who kept Amos company, and liked to sleep in the crib with my infant daughter (once I realized how much this troubled my then mother-in-law, I actively encouraged this behavior).  My final cat was Sumesa, a super-sweet Calico whose name was given to her by my then 4-year old daughter.

See ... he is part cat

All of this is to say that I’m really a cat person. We got Jiffy because my wife wanted a dog, and the plan was to get a dog first for her, then a cat for me. I had no plans to become particularly attached to this dog (or any dog). I planned to tolerate him, and hope that  the cat would like him. Jiffy had other plans, and has clearly won me over. I suspect it is because he is part cat. At any rate, I hope you will forgive my obsessive affection for this little doggy on the basis of it being so unexpected and everything.

And we might still get a cat … I think Jiffy might like the company.


About Chris Bourg

Director of Libraries at MIT. Sociologist and academic librarian interested in digital libraries, social media, future of libraries, LGBTQ rights, Giants baseball, Duke hoops, Stanford women's hoops. Blogging at http://chrisbourg.wordpress.com
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2 Responses to I’m really a cat-person. Honest.

  1. Gerry Smith says:

    I understand this concept *completely*. A confirmed cat person, just a few months before my 50th birthday a small voice inside made its way to the surface: “perhaps…. a dog?” That tiny,tentative impulse grew, leading first to dog ownership, then to failed dog fostership (failure in the sense that the several “foster” Newfies never left my home but instead became solid family members), and then to dog breeding and showing, helping to spread the wonders of Silken Windhounds as far as New Zealand. Today I have “only” five silkens, and my 3 cats put up with them with a lovely mixture of grace, disdain, and total disregard, as only cats can.

    Gerry (erstwhile manager of Library Systems in early 21st century SULAIR)

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