Otis is our neighbor’s cat. He’s a gray-striped tabby of about fourteen, and when he first moved into our neighborhood, he adopted our back porch as both his personal hunting blind and favorite place to hang out and nap.We were appalled at first—especially my husband, who’s been allergic to cats his entire life. I’ve always loved the idea of pets, in theory (both parents are allergic to animals), but didn’t have much practical experience to judge how I’d like it. Until Otis showed up in our lives.
How could I resist a cat who stood on his hind legs and knocked on our screen door, every single day, just to say hello?
A cat who “talks”—I swear to you he says “Out,” “Hi,” “No,” and “I want to go out.” If he’s feeling particularly argumentative, we can converse back and forth for awhile until I finally give in and get him what he wanted just because I’m laughing so hard.A cat who knows how to open sliding screen doors so he can let himself into and out of the house without bothering his humans.
A cat who, like a dog, will follow us down the street and accompany us on walks, although at a respectable distance. He’ll also sit and watch cars go by, and greet us personally every time we return home from wherever it is we’ve been.A turning point came in our cat-human relationship when my neighbor’s daughter moved back home from college, bringing her new cat with her, an adorable tiger-striped male named Simba that she’d picked up at a rescue shelter in Boston. Otis, however,was outraged. To show his displeasure, he ran away from home, snuck into our house and hid under the bed—he would not budge. And in our bed is now where he sleeps, next to me on the pillow.
|Otis wants to go to Scotland|
We love Otis. Interestingly, my husband isn’t allergic to him at all, though he does get a skin reaction when he touches Simba. My theory is that Otis’s fur is different—longer—he seems to be part Maine coon cat. (Does anyone know if this makes a difference? Please let me know in the comments!)
Otis was the featured pet in my second Superromance (The Long Way Home), and in each book since then, I’ve written in a different pet who lives in my neighborhood in real life. I don’t ever do this with people (do not worry, neighbors!).
|Scotland for Christmas|
Cathryn Parry’s next Superromance is a December release. Scotland for Christmas doesn’t include any pets, alas, because Secret Service agents and graduate business students have hectic schedules. Cathryn's website is www.CathrynParry.com.