The weather in northwest Iowa has been overcast and windy the past few days, temperatures hovering around 40 to 45 degrees. Earlier this week, we enjoyed sunshine and temperatures in the mid-60s and the forecast for the weekend and early next week is for the same.
I’ve watched my two high school kids leave for school in shorts and flip-flops one day, hooded sweatshirts and boots the next, but they’ve not yet added stocking hats and gloves to their attire.
Yet they contend that it’s freezing in the breezeway and that we should turn the heater on for our cat.
- Fact: Our breezeway is not heated so I run a space heater 24/7 during the winter.
- Fact: Spots is an indoor cat only when she sneaks into the house; she prefers the blanket in the breezeway to the basket in the garage.
- Fact: Spots has helped all three of my kids be more nurturing individuals.
Fourteen years ago (1998), we picked Spots out of a litter born on a local farm. The kids were ages 6½, 4, and 22 months, so naming her was based more on the visual than the sentimental. In human years, she’s now around 80 (interesting information here about the myth that dogs and cats age seven years for every human year). We’ve never had her declawed, she roams the neighborhood at her leisure, and it’s not uncommon to see the results of her hunting expeditions on our doorstep. She’s friendly to children, territorial toward any cat that ventures too close to the house, and a tease to neighborhood pets locked inside their homes. She’s endured Santa hats and deer antlers strapped to her head, and she’s peed on my bed to tell me she’s angry (more than once, nearly always on my side of the bed, and often at a time of day when I least want to start a load of laundry).
For years, my husband and children have pleaded for a dog—“to keep Spots company”—but I’ve held out. In my book, Spots rules. Dogs drool, remember? (Sassy, Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey)
For 14 years, Spots has been a security blanket for each of my kids. Stretched out on the carpet with Spots cuddled to their sides, they’ve faced, and adjusted to, their disappointments and hurts. When they re-focused their energies on the cat, their voices softened and their desires to punch so-and-so quieted. Even now--at ages 20, 18, and 16--I’ll watch one or the other head to the breezeway for a few minutes and re-enter the house in a better mood.
I suppose a dog could have served the same purpose, but at this point, I figure there’s no need to mess with a good thing.
Geoff plugged the space heater in, but I decided to keep it turned on.
|From left to right: 1998 with Nate, 1999 with Geoff, 1999 with Ellen, 2006 with the boys|