English: Young male tabby cat (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Owing to the backlash from last week’s blog, I have decided to dig deep and balance the scales on the whole ‘dog versus cat’ debate. I can’t make any promises, but here goes . . .
In my lifetime I’ve known several cats. There was Gustav, a white cat with shoe-polish ears; Symphony, a long-haired tortoise-shell with questionable night-time habits; Adolphus, a tabby with attitude to spare and his adopted brother Patches, a black and white feline – deaf as a doornail – who spent his days either sleeping on top of the fridge or taking pot shots at passers-by. As cats go, they were . . . cats.
My sister (the main source of last week’s backlash) was the owner of two more felines – Tinkerbell and Jakey. If there was a cat that was going to swing my opinion it would be one of those two. Before there were kids in my sister’s household, there were cats and as they grew so did the family. They were a yardstick – and occasional gearstick* – in her happy home.
This, I understand. Cats and dogs are there through all the good, bad and middling bits. Their presence is attached to memories of all sorts of events that span the years. Whether they’re watching from a perch on top of the fridge, curled up at the foot of the bed or laying claim to the best seat on the couch, they are still a member of the household.
In my sister’s words:
“It’s not that cats are better than dogs, they’re just different.”
Besides, no-one said you couldn’t love a furry tyrant bent on world domination.
*I searched high and low for a picture of a cat in the gearstick pose. Sadly, no luck. You’ll just have to imagine it for yourself.
Eucalyptus camaldulensis (River Red Gum) (Photo credit: Arthur Chapman)
Someone said “camping” and I found myself agreeing to three days and two nights in the great outdoors. But not without some trepidation.
I should point out that the last time I went camping was in 1991. It was a school trip. We spent two nights shivering under canvas at the base of a dam wall – anything could have happened. And it did.
Between tent-hopping twins, the joys of public shower facilities and the ever present threat of dam wall collapse we spent our time variously hiking, freezing and starving.
I’ve never been so happy to see the not-so-bright-lights of home.
Fast forward to last week’s grand adventure and I found myself hunkered down under canvas once more. No dam wall hanging over our shoulders this time but the ever present threat of venomous tent guests, fast flowing river currents just metres from our door and a forest of trees with a tendency to drop their limbs when you least expect it.
After a night of all-too-frequent trips to the loo (thanks to the mid-kid and her nervous bladder) we headed to the river for a spot of fishing. All was going well until the youngest realised that once you fish them out, they never go back in. There were tears. His world would never be the same again.*
Night two and we spent an hour spotting kangaroos out on the sandhills. With the count nearing one hundred we returned to camp and settled in once more. Surely they would sleep tonight.
Ah, no. The youngest slept soundly. But the mid-kid was anxious about her nervous bladder which only made matters worse. The eldest talked more in her sleep than she does in the everyday and the husband developed a tummy bug.
Oh the joys of camping. Apparently it went so well, we’re doing it again. Soon.
*Now every meal is preceded by the question “What did we kill for this?”