This past week I’ve been caring for my neighbor’s cat. His name is Joe. Joey. I’ll share right up front: I am not a cat person.
Well, not normally.
My experience with cats has been limited.
Farm cats had a job to do. As a child I wasn’t particularly fond of a barn cat laying a dead mouse at my feet and expecting some sort of praise or reward.
Then there was Bigfoot. This six-toed ball of fur was cute enough. My oldest daughter liked to put him in her doll stroller and cart him around the house. He could have been a great addition to our family except for one little bad habit he had. Bigfoot preferred the built-in planter near the front door over the litter box we prepared for him. No matter what we did to stop it.
I decided we weren’t cat people. We were dog people. Goldfish people for a time. Hamster and bird people at one point, but mostly “dog people.”
Then I met Joe.
A few years after my husband died, I moved into a smaller house. I loved the neighborhood and with a few renovations, loved the house as well. I have a fenced in back yard and considered the possibility of getting another dog.
My next-door neighbors have a cat. Joe. Joe is unlike any cat I have ever met.
For one thing, Joe is not snooty. He’s not the aloof “I rule the roost and basically put up with humans” kind of cat. Joe is the most social cat I’ve ever met. He likes people. He likes me. And I like him.
When my neighbors travel, I check in on Joe. He meets me at the door. He weaves his way in and out of my legs as I prepare his food. He’ll eat a bite or two while I change the litter box, but gives up the tasty morsels as soon as I’m free and available for a visit.
Joe purrs and mews as I go about getting everything ready. He pushes his head under my hand. He rolls over so I can rub his tummy.
This past week, I've enjoyed his company. And there's one more quality Joe possesses. Joe is a good listener.
Curiously, it was Freud who once said, “Time spent with cats is never wasted.” Not that I'm a big Freud person. I just figure he must have known Joe.