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Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
In case anyone is interested in any of my past posts, an archive list can be found at the bottom of this page.
My newest novel, Happy Valley, can be found here.

Wednesday, August 21

Pet Companionship

We’ve had cats for most of our married lives. Or it is the other way around? Cats have had us for most of our married lives. But it’s only since we moved to Arizona that we’ve learned a valuable cat lesson: one must always have more than one cat. We had three in Lakewood, NY—Dipper, Tweakie, and Stephanie. Here's Dipper.
Here's Tweakie.

And here's Stephanie. But they were outdoor cats, coming and going through a cat door, and they were never very good friends. So the companionship was minimal. Dipper and Tweakie died, leaving Stephanie as a single. She came with us to Arizona on that strange U-Haul journey we took almost nineteen years, ago, like the Joads going west to the Promised Land. And poor Stephanie didn’t pee or poop for almost four days. We had a litter box with us but she refused to use it. Four days, until our first night here in a Best Western room, waiting for our house finalizing, when Stephanie erupted all over Rosalie. Stephanie was with us here in Arizona for almost four years before we had to say goodbye to her. A single cat with us for four years, with only two humans for companionship, two humans who were often gone all day, often gone for visits to South Dakota or New York, leaving Stephanie to fend for herself except for occasion visits from cat sitters. But otherwise alone for extended periods of time. We now realize how cruel that was. How alone she must have felt for too many hours and days. Cats seem to sleep a lot, but Stephanie must have lapsed into near comas to overcome her loneliness. We never again made that error. Our next cats were Dusty and Squeakie, who became bosom buddies for nearly fourteen years. Here they are.

And now we have Charlie, Tiger, and Tuffy, who make us realize that although they would miss us if we left for hours or days, they would be just fine because they have each other. All pets—cats, dogs, rats, horses, or even Geico geckos—need a companion other than humans to keep them company during those unhuman hours and days. We now have a trio, a ménage a trois, who absolutely adore each other. They’re happy, and their happiness makes us ecstatic.

Here's Charlie and Tiger.

And here's what looks like a two-headed kitten, but it's really the sleeping siblings Tiger and Tuffy.

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