My Blended Family
At Kitties & Cream, we champion cats. We don’t just champion them—we feed them, play with them, spoil them, and encourage their owners to do the same. But some people have a secret life they’re afraid to talk about. I’m one of those people, and I’m here to say, it’s okay, don’t be embarrassed to stand up and say to the world, “Yes, I own dogs, too!”
Living in what I think of as a blended family isn’t always easy. I can tell by the way my cats look at me that adding a puppy to my family has not been universally approved. Sunshine, our 6-month-old Bichon Frise, loves the cats but thinks they are her playthings. Not in a hurtful way, but in a puppy way. Georgia, one of my 5-year-old cats, swats at her (claws out) whenever Sunshine comes near. Lula, the other cat, can tolerate puppy kisses and chases, but without warning she will give Sunshine one of her specialty smacks, guaranteed to generate yelps of surprise and pain. And Sunny has a special whimper that indicates Lula is within sight but refusing to play. It’s the pathetic sound of someone who loves, but whose love is not returned. I think Lula enjoys wielding her power, even if it’s just over a dog.
Lest you think the cats are always the tormented ones, let me tell you about my other dog. Before the arrival of Sunshine in May, we adopted an adult dog last December, an 8-year-old Maltese. Robbie is blind, and it took him a while to acclimatize to his new home and family. Not being able to see what was happening meant he started off in defensive mode. I wasn’t worried about him with the cats, because he was the sweetest, most laid back dog ever, and our girls had both been raised with dogs. So imagine my surprise when Lula greeted him with a smack to the head every time she saw him. It was unprovoked and unwarranted, and Robbie couldn’t figure out what he’d done wrong (nothing). One good thing about the arrival of Sunny has been that the cats have focused on her, and Robbie is no longer on the receiving end of Lula’s Siamese paw-smacks. The other great thing is that Robbie has transformed since he got a canine companion. Although he did come out of his shell in the months BS (Before Sunshine), he is more confident, playful, and happy now than ever.
I always thought of myself as a cat person, and was never without one in my home. I got a dog to force me to go walking every day, and I was hooked. I love the independence of my cats, and how sweet and affectionate they can be. When someone in my home was very sick and had to spend days in bed recovering, the cats were excellent nurses. They cuddled close, taking turns so she was never left cat-less (except at mealtime, but, I mean, a gal's gotta eat, right?).
Now if I had to choose, it would tear me apart to say "only dogs" or "only cats." Fortunately, I don't have to choose, and am happily carrying on with my blended family.