That was the title of a collection of cartoons by George Booth. I have always considered myself to be a "dog" person, and I assumed that Mister Booth were kindred souls. That scruffy Bull Terrier became my familiar, a connection with dog lovers across the globe. I felt a division between the canine and feline worlds, and I wore my puppy badge proudly. Long after I made the barely enlightened choice to eschew jokes at the expense of racial and religious stereotypes, I continued to make fun of cats. Though I could proudly proclaim that I was no longer a racist, I was still a confirmed specist.
I kid the cats, because I love them. It sounds ridiculous now, I know. I used to show how tolerant I could be of my friends' pets by allowing them to rub against my leg or leap up into my lap. I was never able to form any sort of lasting bond with a cat. I know that this is a limitation in myself, not the cats I have met. I told myself that I was simply predisposed to ignore their kind.
Or fear them. Like the way I have always taken note of black cats when they were crossing my path. It wasn't a paralyzing kind of thing, more of annoyance. Oh great, I would think, a black cat crossed my path. It never occurred to me to consider the luck of a black cat crossing a city street.
Until the other night. I was on my way home from a very long day at school. It was past seven o'clock, and I was riding my bike up the hill next to my school in the twilight. The cat had not crossed the path. Someone or something had stopped it. I stopped. Not just my bike to move the cat out of the street, but I stopped my irrational hatred of cats. Fifty-one years into the game, it's time to start thinking good thoughts about a pussycat.