This is Otis! It is his first visit to the tropics. I think he likes it.
I have always loved dogs. Although my grandmother had cats for practical reasons, I don’t remember having any feelings about them whatsoever. They were there, they served their purpose, somebody fed them and that was that as far as I can remember.
When we moved to Costa Rica, my husband and I promised our children that we could finally get the dog we couldn’t have in Manhattan. We were true to our promise and at one point ended up owning 4 very lively and healthy dogs. At no time did the children ask or did we entertain the idea of adding a cat to that mix.
Fast forward a few years, our dogs got older (didn’t we all?), 3 of them have gone to dog heaven. Our children are all grown up and now living their lives in New York. In the Covid-19 year of 2020, nobody travelled. As 2021 began to open up, we are making tentative plans with lots of enthusiasm. Our daughter arrived last week and brought her 4 year cat with her. Our middle son got married almost 4 years ago and his wife brought a cat with her. Our oldest son has never shown any interest in owning any animals although he did once have a goldfish!
I have found myself entertained by my own reaction to Otis. I met him a few years ago on one of my trips to New York. We kind of stayed out of each other’s way although I noticed early on that if I pretended not to notice him, he would come out of his hiding places and rub his body against me. If I was sitting on the couch with my daughter watching television, he would somehow sandwich himself between us and I could occasionally pet him gently without any problem. He is an unusual fellow and I suppose he might think the same of me!
He is here now. When I approach the front door of where they are staying, he does not run away. He advances towards me and I speak as I bend down to pet him…by the time I bend down far enough all I can catch is his tail but that at least is something. I have become curious to know what goes through a cat’s mind. Dogs are a little easier to read, I think. In this moment (and at any time I sit to write) my dog, Lila, is at my feet, dozing off to the sound of my fingers tapping the keyboard.
Otis has to be lightly sedated for any outing to the veterinarian. He needed some extra help for traveling on an airplane for 5 hours plus the waiting time in his “cramped” traveler bag when dealing with customs officials and airport delays. I watch him as he gets acquainted with the sounds and sights of the tropical paradise we live in versus the cold gray reality that he left behind in NYC. Otis will never be able to tell me what he is thinking or feeling and I have never been more curious to know what he might be living. Our daughter thinks he likes it here very much. Although she would hate to leave him behind, every once in a while, I find that she might be entertaining the idea. I have not said yes. I have not said no. We will take it one day at a time, they still have more than a month left to their stay. Time will tell. In the meantime, I will see what I can glean from Otis’ body language when I visit.