In the decade before my husband and I reproduced, the most maddening thing my mother ever said to me was: “Of course, your cat’s your baby.”
I replied tartly I knew the difference between a pet and a child and that, while I was fond of my giant red Maine Coon, I doubted my entire world would end if harm came his way.
I didn’t have framed photos of my cat on my piano and when I said he was intelligent, I didn’t mean he could beat me at chess. I have always dreaded becoming one of those crazy old cat ladies, who won’t go on holiday in case their beloved feline “sulks”. Even so, I was being more than a bit disingenuous. There was the Christmas when I felt slighted when my mother suggested the cat could reside in her garage when we came to stay; “But he’ll be lonely,” I protested, before pointing out she wouldn’t dream of putting one of her grandchildren in a windowless lock-up.
In other words,...
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