Four Legs Good
It's you who pay the rent or the mortgage. It's you who settle the rates bill. When the bank wants to give notice of a "change" in interest rates, the letter is addressed to you. So you think it's your home.
Your cat, if you have one, owns that joint. It is occupier, squatter, seigneur, chatelaine. It enjoys priority rights to your property and everything in it. And doesn't it know it?
Cover-cat Moochi knows it. What lordly ease!
I've always believed that you can't "replace" a pet. When a pet has been a part of your life for a long time, its death isn't going to leave a standard-shaped hole in your life into which any other pet will fit; the unique-shaped hole, matching your unique pet, will stay.
So why do so many of us bereaved pet owners go out and get another pet?
I believe the first reason is for comfort. When you're sad about anything, including the loss of a pet, staying busy can help you heal; it's the wonderful hidden power of distraction. A new pet forces you to knuckle down to some urgent tasks, like house-training, socialising, feeding, walking, and leaves little time for moping.
Another reason is, I suppose, the same reason we get a pet to start with: they're terrific company and they're delightful. They take away boredom and loneliness. Who wouldn't want one round, especially when you know you can handle the routines and the costs, and you've gained the skills you'll need to look after it? Those routines and costs have become part of your life and it's quite a wrench to lose them suddenly.
And what about if you still have a surviving pet, or several? They've lost their companion, and a new pet could help them too. I have little doubt that cats and dogs feel loss, and I'm certain that they feel boredom if they're alone.
It's not a sudden thing, this shift from winter to spring. Not as sudden as the calendar tells you, as you flip the page headed September to cover the one headed August and wonder why you still have to pull on warm socks in the morning. But it's still an optimistic time, isn't it, these first days of spring?
Which makes it a perfect time for dogs, whose main emotional state is optimism (I believe). More daylight for walks, more outdoor games, more fun.
But it's good for cats too. More sun to lie in, drier ground to walk on, less of that hideous rain.
Behold dogs and cats, and one other species, doing the kind of thing that this season lends itself to.
In the world of pets, there is such a thing as dangerous cuteness. It is charm taken to excess. It is facial prettiness so extreme that it constitutes a traffic hazard. It is adorability so overwhelming as to present a health danger to the most smirkily gnarled of cynics.
We must put an end to this danger.
And we will. After we have had a look at it. Just to check it out, you understand, and absorb its true magnitude. Discretion is advised.
We start with Arthur, forbiddingly cute but the effect is manageable if you don't gaze for too long.
If you're lucky enough to possess a backyard, or a front yard, then, possibly without knowing it, you have hard landscaping. That's the term for the rocks, bricks, planks and posts that populate the outdoor part of your property.
The chief beneficiaries of this landscaping are not your family or your neighbours, but your pets. They love to sit, or lie, in judgment on your design taste, materials and workmanship.
Take Walter. He approves of the general functionality of this fence but feels that comfort has been sacrificed.
Koka seems satisfied with the view.
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