Hope's Corner: Avoiding Catastrophes

"We spent Thanksgiving break looking after a friend's cat. We caught glimpses of her as she ran from one hiding place to another. Dogs greet you like their long-lost best friend, even if you have only been out of the house for five minutes. Cats are challenging!" writes Jackie Hope.

Jackie Hope BW.jpg
Jackie Hope is the longest running Dickinson Press contributor and columnist. Hope's Corner is a weekly humorous column with a message of hope.
Contributed / For The Dickinson Press
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We have been dog parents throughout our married lives. We also have been rabbit parents, guinea pig parents, hamster parents, rat parents, fish parents, bird parents, and garden slug parents. And, of course, parents of a child. But we have never had the joy of being cat parents.

The subject of adopting a cat has often been broached. My beloved husband grew up in a cat household. Our friends have cats. Some even have herds of cats. But the cardinal rule in our household is that no pet is allowed to eat any other of our pets. So that pretty much solves our cat conundrum.

We have, however, often had the opportunity of kitty sitting. That gives us the fun of playing with cats, without the guilt of having a cat swallow one of our finches. Because that would be catastrophic.

While being a temporary mom for kitties, I have learned many interesting and valuable tidbits. I have acquired numerous tender vittles of cat information.

When I cat sit, I sometimes never see the cat. I have heard a few quiet “Miao” sounds coming from bedrooms and closets. I have seen empty food bowls. I have seen catnip mice strewn about. But sometimes I have kitty sat for several days without seeing the kitty.


Cats are, like, “Leave the fresh food in the dish. Scatter your homage of treats around my bed. And don’t forget to clean the litter box before you leave.” Dogs are all, “You came to see ME! Let’s play! Throw the ball for me. Oh, please throw the ball for me! Let me show you my favorite toy. Here is my ball!”

If you walk into a house and find a flowerpot tipped over, a cat will never admit any wrongdoing. You cannot shame a cat. They are Teflon when it comes to shame. You can look a cat in the eye, if you are lucky enough to find her, and ask, “Who tipped over the African violet?” And she will point a well-manicured toenail at the family dog, the family’s oldest child, or the Buick out in the garage.

If you look a dog in the eye and ask, “Did you …” and before you even accuse him of a crime, the dog will have confessed to anything and everything that has gone wrong, gone missing, or has been broken in a household in the last ten years.

A ten-pound cat can fit into a gallon jug with room to spare. They are wizards at compacting themselves. And when they want to sprawl in the sunlight, they can become boneless and as flat as a cheese pizza. Dogs cannot manage to lie in bed without bits and pieces of themselves hanging off the edge. Rather like ham hanging off a too-full sandwich.

Alas, we are never destined to be cat parents. But we are the next-best thing. We are cat grandparents. All the fun, without having to clean the litter box.

Jackie Hope is the longest running Dickinson Press contributor and columnist. "Hope's Corner" is a weekly humorous column centered on a message of hope for residents in southwest North Dakota.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Dickinson Press, nor Forum ownership.

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