Not a cat person

Published 10:54 am Friday, September 29, 2023

Listen, I’m a dog person. Cats? I literally could not care less.

And then, there I was, walking my dog in my yard, and I came across a black cat lying in the middle of our field. It was injured, bleeding from behind its ears, as well as its paws. 

Behind me, an ominous storm was brewing over the mountains, hurling our way.

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I took my oblivious standard poodle inside, grabbed my mom, who then grabbed some hot dogs from the fridge, and lured the young and skinny cat toward us. 

On behalf of the “ber” months, I immediately decided this cat’s name was Salem. (Pretty festive, yeah?)

So Salem, ignoring the food, rubbed against our legs, throwing his once prevalent caution to the wind. I reached out to pet it.

My mom smirked. “You’ve had a change of heart.”

“It’s injured, and it’s hungry.” I turned up my nose at her, but she glanced back at the storm. 

“What do we do?” she asked. 

Just last column, she had saved an injured hummingbird and we’d nursed it back to health. “Well,” I said, “you’re the expert.”

Dear diary: I am not becoming a cat person by any means, but I did pick up Salem and walk him to the porch, where my dad was minding his business in the rocking chair, coffee mug in hand.

“This is Salem,” I told him. He glared at me and shook his head microscopically. “Listen,” I went on, “I have not changed. This. . . this is nothing. It was hungry and skinny, and a storm is coming.”

He sipped his coffee. 

“It just needs some food,” I said. “I promise this is nothing. It’s just hungry.”

Mom and I offered Salem some tuna and milk, and while he was hopefully gaining some weight back, thunder growled in the distance.

“Rain’s comin’,’” Dad muttered. 

The rain was, in fact, coming closer. The cat was, in fact, making himself at home on my lap rather unexpectedly. 

Let’s pause right here. I have never been a cat’s favorite person, nor have I ever been so un-allergic to a cat that I’m able to hold it, much less snuggle it. But––and this is a huge but––I’ve admitted to myself and boldly declared to my family and those who know and love me that I am warming up to this cute feline.

It was a huge step for me.

Maybe it’s the symbolism of it all––a black cat slinking around my porch right at the start of autumn, just as pumpkin spice lattes are making their return. Perhaps it’s just harvest season that has my heart empathetic for this little cat, but anyway. . . 

My dog Casper and my (apparently) new cat Salem are cozied up at home, and that’s what matters. 

(I am still NOT a cat person).