In college we future photojournalists were told newspaper readers love photographs of kids and puppies.
Cats were never mentioned.
But the one that curled up at my feet on Monday sure was cute, and she made a good picture.
About 8 a.m. that morning my wife Kathy let our dog Maggie out the front door like she does every morning.
There, curled up on a porch chair, was a young white cat with black spots.
She was also noticeably thin.
It was obvious that some misguided former cat owner thought a house cat could survive in the wild. However, if the animal managed to avoid coyotes and multiple cars and trucks, it would probably starve to death.
We visited with all our neighbors just in case they had lost a cat.
“Don’t tell my wife!” one of them warned me. “She’ll want to keep it.”
Growing up south of Abilene we continually dealt with feral cats and dogs.
We always had a stray dog that became the family dog and there was always a cat or two that became pets. Outside pets, of course.
Often they would get hit by the cars and trucks whizzing by on Hawk Road.
Our first stray that became a pet was named Dog.
The second was a multicolored mutt named Patches.
A collie we had was naturally named Collie.
My family was never very creative when naming the pets.
Farm animals were a different story with a horse named Babe and milk cows we called Ada and Elsie.
And we had a skunk, back when you could own a skunk, named Snoopy.
“We can’t have a cat!” Kathy said.
But she was so darn cute.
I thought about naming her Cat. Dad would have been so proud.
Eventually, we administered the dog test. How would Maggie get along with Cat?
As it turned out, Maggie wasn’t the problem. It was the cat that had its back hair standing at attention, claws ready to wreak havoc.
So out the door the cat went.
Now, Maggie does not like other dogs. We found that out the day we got her. She also chased this cat up a tree.
The cat came out of the tree and curled up on my feet while I held Maggie.
“We CAN’T have a CAT!” Kathy said.
(It has been said that capitalizing is a form of yelling and I would say she might have been doing just that.)
She is right, of course, as eventually the coyotes which are not bashful in roaming in the backyard, would have a feast and we would worry every time we’d hear them howl, thinking they had gotten the cat.
We had two options: find a good home or call the vet.
Pictures and pleas for a good home were posted on social media. Kathy sent some emails.
We patiently waited for a response while bugging all of the people we knew with pictures.
“Wouldn’t you like a new pet?”
Finally, Wednesday night, just before the 10 o’clock news Kathy came running down the stairs after checking her email.
“She has a home!”
One of the teachers that Kathy previously worked with said she’d love to have another cat. Actually, she wanted a peacock but her husband agreed to another kitten instead.
Not sure what it is about cats but it seems everyone that has a cat doesn’t have just one.
So, thanks to Laura and her family, Cat has a loving home now.