Many years ago my wife and I taught school in the Indian and Eskimo villages north of
in . In our last year with the Alaska we were transferred to a village that
had no District housing available. We
had friends in the village and one of the elders offered us his old log cabin
on the outskirts of the village. Yukon-Koyukuk School
The cabin had been derelict for at least a decade and the windows and door were broken, the roof needed repair and the cabin was full of vermin.
We went into
and bought window panes,
insulation, sheet rock, roofing material and a gravity-fed oil burner heating
stove. We spent two weeks making the 16x16
cabin livable. Fairbanks
While we were in
we also went by a cat rescue
facility and found a two year old, eighteen pound, Maine Coon Cat that we
decided we would need to take care of the vermin that lived in and under the cabin. Fairbanks
We left Alaska after that year
Hobbes was our first cat. Hobbes immediately attached himself to me. Over the next ten years
Three years after we left Alaska, while living in Kentucky, we got a baby Ragdoll kitten.
This cat is my wife’s shadow. Everywhere my wife goes the cat is right there. The cat likes me and she accepts attention from me, but there is no doubt that the cat has adopted my wife.
Our girl is now eighteen years old and we know that we shall soon loose her – and that will be a trauma, especially for my wife. My wife is awaken by the cat each morning – they go downstairs together and the cat waits in the kitchen to be fed. They interact all the time: my wife talks to the cat and the cat talks back. My wife sings to the cat. They have a relationship beyond human/animal.
We very often have to spell around the cat because the cat knows what we are saying. I honestly believe that the cat understands quite a bit of our language. One of us can say it is time to go to bed and the next thing we know the cat is rounding us up to go to bed. If we are going to have tuna or chicken or salmon we can’t state it or she will beat us into the kitchen to get her share.
We not only talk to her, but she talks to us when she decides she wants something or wants us to do something. This is the type of interaction you don’t have with a dog.
When we loose her it will be a while before we have another cat. I don’t think we will ever have another dog because dogs are too much maintenance. We have done our living in the woods and living in the back country, and that is the place to own a dog. But now that I have grown older we are living closer to town – and the type of lifestyle we lead really doesn’t lend itself to a dog.
But a cat in the house is a comfort, and we probably will have another cat at some time.