Of Cats and Dogs

Over this past Father’s Day weekend, my older sister and I were reminiscing about our lives as children growing up in the country. I reminded her that Pop had me in the tobacco and peanut fields before daylight while she never had to do that because she was a “girl”. She quickly came back and said,”yes, but I had to go to the garden every morning to pick peas and butterbeans. Then I had to shell the darn things until my fingers were numb. After that, Mama would make me go to the fence line to pick blackberries to make a blackberry pie for her hard working men in the field”.


And then Sis took it one step too far when she said, ” I had to pick blackberries for y’all while dodging rattlesnakes”. That’s when the memories came flooding back. My sister was a cat person while I have always been a dog man. She loved cats, and had them all around her. I always felt like her cats were looking at me thinking,” If I just weighed 25 more pounds, I would kill you and eat you right on this spot”. I guarantee you that none of her cats would have jumped between her and a rattlesnake while I had more than one dog do that for me.


If we had the coyotes back then that we do now, they would have all been sitting around the Cox house wearing a red napkin around their necks and a knife and fork in their hands just waiting for one of Sis’s cats. I learned a lot of things about cats while learning to dislike them. It is true that no matter how you turn them or how far you drop them, they do,indeed, land on their feet. I paid a terrible price to learn that lesson. Did I mention that my older sister could beat me up until I was in the seventh grade


Now before any of you cat lovers get really mad, please let me say that I do not hate cats. As a matter of fact, I have two daughters that I love so much that I allowed them to own a cat that lived in my house. They gave her the very unique name of “Kitty”, and Kitty lived with us for 19 years. Both me and my dogs got very comfortable with the cat. My first lab even got to where she would only take a half-hearted snap at Kitty’s tail every now and then. I don’t think that she really wanted to bite the cat. She just wanted Kitty to know that it might happen.


I’ve had some stubborn, hard-headed dogs in my life, but I have never had a dog that failed to love me unconditionally.As my Dad once told me,” lock your wife and dog up in the trunk of the car for an hour, and then open it. See which one is happy to see you”. I never got up the nerve to try that experiment. Cats appear to act as if we were placed upon the earth to serve them. Just in case my sister were to decide to take offense, why don’t we just leave this with this comment.” I’m a dog man, and always will be”!


Below is a painting of my beloved Lab, Sugar, who departed this world about three weeks ago. My sweet daughter-in-law had this painting done for me as a Christmas present a few years ago. It is one of my treasured possessions. I still go to bed thinking about Sugar, and wake up missing her. Nothing gave her more joy than seeing me each morning, and I felt the same way about her.