For many years I suffered from allergies. My sinuses would plug up like concrete at different times of the year and I tried every remedy from OTC concoctions to cortico-steroids of a prescribed sort. The latter did work but I wasn’t delighted to be taking in steroids on an ongoing basis. A fellow only wants his biceps to be ‘so’ big before it gets ridiculous.
Anyway, I was nearly always stuffed up and just assumed that was the way it was for me. You know, sort of like people cursed to live with migraines or constipation. Life can suck for some.. Old joke: What are the two worst combination afflictions? 1) Whooping cough and diarrhea and 2) St. Vitus Dance and arthritis. In bad taste, I know. So sue me.
Back to allergies. And my point about them is I no longer have congested sinuses and haven’t really had them for about four years. Let’s see, four years ago was roughly when we got Max. Four-and-a-half years ago marked the demise of Griffin, our last cat. Coincidence? Methinks not. Simple fact is, I am allergic to cats. Or cat dander, more precisely.
I had never made the connection. Since I’ve been with Wendy (from 1998) we have had four cats, and often two or three in combo. While not especially being a cat person, I don’t loathe them. In fact, I quite like them and can enjoy their company. But, I had no idea their presence was making my life a misery. Fortunately, and blessedly, dog-dander bothers me not at all.
And generally I like the upfront temperament of dogs more than the moody aloofness of cats. Cats can be affectionate enough (despite what anti-cat people believe), but they aren’t neurotic, insecure, ‘please love me’ chaps like dogs are. And they rarely want to ‘hang’ or take a walk. Though, my ex and I had a cat that used to follow the dog and us when we went for neighborhood walks.
And not to show disparagement, I have had some quite delightful cats down many years and if I look at old photos of them I miss them a bit. Here are just some of them:
– McQuaig McBone Cat: (Pictured, but don’t ask about the name, it’s a long story) My first wife and I acquired this little tortoise-shell female about a year into our marriage. She was small but fearless. She once took out a full-size adult rat without even wincing. Her most traumatizing experience was getting chopped up in the fan of the car and surviving. My wife, on her way to work, came in to tell me that the car was making an odd noise and that the alternator light was on. “Probably thrown a fan-belt,” I suggested, attempting to impress her with what a cool car-dude I was. I advised her to take the pickup that we also owned at the time. I then went out to see what the deal was with that old fanbelt. Yep, I was right. It was off. Yet, oddly enough, there were little pools of what looked like blood on the engine block. That didn’t seem right. Then I heard a plaintive whine. There was McQuaig who had climbed up the warm engine after the car had last been used. Dumb move. She had, with no exaggeration, virtually disemboweled herself when my wife turned the engine over. Don’t mean to be indelicate, but there were her guts in full view. I tried to sort out my thoughts. Had to get her to the vet to be, I assumed, euthanized. I delicately wrapped her in a towel and expedited her into town. The vet gave her the once-over and informed me that nothing seemed to be cut so she, amazingly to me, should be OK. He stitched her up (many stitches) and she was to walk with a slight limp for the rest of her life, but within days she was climbing trees and lived to be a ripe old eighteen.
– Griffin: Our last cat. Died of lung cancer at age 20. I had warned him about the smoking but he ignored me. Not really, he chewed snuff. Anyway, he was a great old dude. He was a rescue that I got when he was about six. Affectionate and quite charming in his own way. He adored women. He got that from me, I think. Anyway, he was my bachelor days cat I got when I was living solo after the end of my 2nd marriage. We liked sharing digs but he loved it whenever a girl came by. So did I, for that matter. When I took up with Wendy he loved her from the outset. He wasn’t inspiring but he was very pleasant of disposition and always charming.
– Stumpy: Stumpy was quite different. Never have had a cat like her and I must confess I was hugely fond of her. She was a full Manx, no tail whatsoever. And she had a temperament much like a dog’s. She would follow me around the place if I was doing stuff outside, and was an avid hunter, with snakes being her most treasured prey. She’d happily lug them inside to show them off. She also once brought a still-living rat indoors with her and proudly dropped it on the bedroom floor. She’d taunt Griffin mercilessly, but he quite liked her and they got along well. She was a rescue. Sadly, we only had her for two years. She developed an abdominal cancer, which put her in agony, so I had to have her euthanized. I’ll admit I cried when I had to have her put down. Never felt that way about a cat before or since.
There were lots of others over the years and probably some are worthy of mention, but space precludes. Cannot see getting any in future. My sinuses would never forgive me and they are the happiest now that I can ever remember them being in the cat-laden past.