The debate continues among animal lovers. Cats or dogs? Which do you like the most? Dog owners are usually die-hard dog fans and cat lovers are extremely loyal as well. I love them both! Since I was an only child (still am I guess), my animals were my brothers and sisters. Kinda weird I guess but when no one else is around, your pet is truly your best friend (and your brother and sister).

I have always had at least one dog and one cat at any given time. All through my childhood and throughout our 26 years of marriage we have had many pets.

Years ago, our beloved pound hound, Acer, was hit and killed on the highway. The kids, as well as Devin and I, were very saddened by the loss of our dear K-9 friend. The very next day a friend called and said she had some kittens that needed a home and asked if I wanted one. I thought it might ease the pain of our recent loss so I agreed to pick up our new ball of fur right after school let out. The lady informed me that he was a male (which I wanted) and full of energy! I quickly named him Shadow because he had beautiful, long, smoky gray hair and he was ALWAYS by my side….like my shadow. As he grew, so did my love for him. We were, two peas in a pod, we were! He was my little Shadow Man!

When Shadow was about eight months old I noticed that he was not acting himself. He wasn’t wanting to play anymore, all he wanted to do was lay around and when he walked he just sort of waddled. Day after day I watched as he seemed to get worse and worse. One afternoon while I was out in the yard, I walked over to pet my Shadow Man and give him a little attention. As he rolled over I was shocked at how bloated and hard his stomach was! He looked awful! I carefully picked him up and took him inside and laid him in Devin’s lap. “see what I mean”, I said, “there is something terribly wrong with him. His stomach is rock hard and he can barely walk…I’m scared he’s dying!”

Devin held him for a minute and began to feel around on his stomach to see if he could figure out what was wrong with him. I watched as he held him, and gave careful thought to the issue at hand. He just sat there, not saying a word…then he asked a really stupid question. “well”, he said, “are you sure that Shadow Man is not a Shadow Woman?” “What?”, I said, “your kidding me right! I think I would know if it was a girl instead of a boy! He is a sick cat!!” Devin began to examine Shadow a little closer (in a very important spot). When he was done, he shot me a glance, gave me a half-smile and said, in his annoyingly calm manner, “OK”, then he put Shadow on the floor. He never said another word!

I didn’t want to believe that my sweet Shadow Man was actually a Shadow Woman, and a pregnant woman at that! I also couldn’t believe I could be so stupid! After I did my own exam I realized that, once again, Devin was right (I really hate it when that happens). Shadow was so dark and had such long hair that I never really noticed the anatomy…I just took my friends word for it when she gave him (her) to us.

A few days later, we had kittens! Five kittens!

When the kittens were about two weeks old, I heard that another friend of mine had kittens also…Manx kittens! For those of you who may not know, Manx have no tail! I had Manx cats before as a child and loved them. They are a great breed. As we began to share kitten stories we decided that we would trade kittens. One of my long-haired kittens for one of her Manx!

A few weeks later the kitten swap was made and I had a new friend for Shadow Woman. This kitten was, for sure, a female. She was a big poof of yellow hair, with no tail and loved to sleep in my potato basket….so I named her Tater Tot!

Years later, Shadow is no longer with us and Tater Tot is the current reigning feline queen of the family. She is your typical, finicky, moody, over weight, nosy, and occasionally Ill tempered cat. She really doesn’t want to be held much. She wants, only, to drink out of the toilet and she won’t drink out of it unless she hears it flush first, even if its clean water….she HAS to hear it flush first! She can hold her on when it comes to our three dogs too! Even Cody, our Chesapeake Bay Retriever, knows who the real boss is.

For you cat lovers out there, here are some pictures of Tater Tot doing what she does best. For the rest of you, you have to admit, she’s beautiful! Just ask her!

This is her annoyed look…waiting for me to flush the toilet!

Still waiting…
Ahhhh, finally.

She is meticulously groomed at all times.

The ONLY person she is affectionate with is Devin. For some reason she likes him….it’s kinda funny!

Here she is majestically surveying the land.

I hope you have enjoyed my tribute to Tater Tot. I will soon give equal billing to our dogs (for you dog lovers) Cody, Dixie and Bailey the Beagle…so no feeling are hurt 😉