Week 30: Downward Dogs, Feline-Style [Score +9]
Growing up in an area I affectionately call “the country,” surrounded by acres of cornfields, with zero neighbors our age to play with, my brother, Chase, and I instead got to have a multitude of interesting pets to keep us entertained at different times over the years. This roster included:
Dogs: Poppy, a Samoyed mix with a gentle demeanor and endless patience for small children. Sable, a German Shepherd mix who climbed both trees and our backyard playground. And Buster, who we just lost a few years ago, a Bichon Frise who had my dad wrapped so firmly around his paw he (Dad) still can’t talk about him without tearing up.
Fish, whose lives were short and their names forgotten.
Turtles, both purchased from the pet store and baby turtles with smooth shells the size of quarters we found in the grass near our backyard pond.
Parakeets, one friendly, one decidedly not.
Ducks, named Huey and Louie, who lived in a kiddie pool in the garage until they matured enough to be taken to a local lake and set free (truly).
Hermit crabs, which creeped all of us in the family out, and when one passed away while I was at school, my parents replaced it and hoped I wouldn’t notice (I did but didn’t care).
Mice, whose gender the folks at the pet store couldn’t discern, meaning we, of course, wound up with a male and female pair. The phrase for multiplication in grand scale may be “they bred like rabbits”, but I think the person who coined that phrase never studied mice. Before we realized what was happening, we had three litters of a dozen baby mice each when we’d only wanted two to begin with. But we conveniently also had at the time...
A snake named Willie.
Two white rats named Judy and Jane, who began as classroom pets when Chase was in fifth grade, then we took as pets after school let out for the summer. Contrary to what many visitors to our house assumed, these two little rodents were affectionate and playful, and we really enjoyed them.
Notice what’s not on this list? Cats. In all my life, I’ve never owned a cat.
In the camp of dog-person or cat-person, I’m pretty firmly on the dog side, but I will happily accept the affections of a friendly cat.
When our women’s network group at my office organized a night of “cat yoga”, I wished instead it were “puppy yoga”, but I signed up anyway. Our venue, the Nine Lives Cat Cafe, houses a handful of adoptable cats at any given time and offers patrons the opportunity to cuddle and play with the felines while enjoying a hot beverage of their choice.
For cat yoga, we spread our mats out in the playroom—a haven of shelves and boxes mounted on the walls for climbing, couches for snoozing or scratching, and toys for batting around. About half a dozen cats meandered amongst our mats as we got started, then when the first downward-facing dogs came out, they all mostly retreated to their favorite corner for a nap.
At the end of class, our instructor lured them out and awake with treats, so the cat fanatics in the group got to satisfy their craving for furry affection.
It’s not a cafe I’ll be drawn to visit again, but I enjoyed getting to do yoga in an out-of-the-ordinary location. I also appreciated seeing how a unique business like this is helping more cats to find loving homes: two of the cats there with us that night were shortly afterward on their way to their new homes.
Now, if I can only find a goat or puppy yoga class...
- Did something outside my routine: +1
- Left the house: +1
- Activity benefits my health/wellbeing: +1
- Burned real calories (so I got some exercise): +1
- Signed up for an activity without knowing anyone else involved: +2
- Learned someone’s name: +3