As you may know, my daughter, Annie turned 30 this weekend and I'm proud to say she wanted to spend a couple of days just hanging out with her old man. How cool that my daughter wants to spend that time with me. We have all kinds of activities planned for the weekend, not the least of which is the Dallas/Green Bay match-up Sunday afternoon.

Well, you know how it is with plans; Mice and Men and all that. At least one part of the weekend wasn't planned and that was when my daughter showed up at my house for coffee Sunday morning bearing with her a tiny ball of fur. Annie informed me that she saw the cat on the boardwalk and realized that it was abandoned and just had to do something to help it. She just couldn't leave it there to be afraid and lost. Now, lwet me translate all that for you. "Dad, you have a cat."

I don't mind having a cat, but the big test was when we introduced the kitty to my dog, Hank. Hank is a real laid back fellow and the only thing that upsets him is strangers around the house. Well, I'd call that a pretty nice thing for him to do, but I wasn't sure how comfortable he would be with a little furry stranger in the house.

Hank, being the super cool pup that he is, took a couple of excited sniffs of the cat and went on about his business. Even when the cat decided to eat out of Hank's bowl, he was cool with it. To tell you the truth, I think that, perhaps he was even a little bit afraid of the cat. Oh, he came back from time to time to check things out and try and size up this intruder. After he had satisfied himself that all was well with this new critter, he turned to me and gave me a look that said, "you've got a cat."

So, now I have a cat. My daughter picked the name, Cait. It's an appropriate name. "Cait" is Irish for cat and that pretty much translates itself. I have to admit that I'm already kind of attached to Cait even though she's only been in the house for about an hour. Still, I'm resigned to the fact that this cat is now a part of my life and the sooner I get used to it, the better off I'll be.

I know the folks at Petsmart are thrilled with this new development. As soon as the cat hit the door, I knew I was headed for a pet store for supplies. It was time to get the trappings of having a cat. I thought I knew how to do that; grab some food a couple of bowls, a litter box and litter and you're good to go. Right?

No sir! Pets now need their own possessions. We've got to have tons of toys and a place to keep them. yeah, like the cat is going to put them back when she's finished. That means that I'll be stepping in cat toys in the dark for the rest of my life. We also have to have a collar and a personalized tag. Now, this cat will probably not go outside again in it's little life, but we've got to have all the fashion accessories.

I'd sitting there watching Cait amuse herself with a dust bunny on the floor and I'm thinking to myself, "Toys? Why does this cat needs toys? Give the thing a paper ball to play with and we're good for the day. Apparently, that's not the way it works anymore.We're still not finished becoming a cat person; we have much more to do before we can take in a kitten. Let's see now. What is next on my daughter's list of things I must have to be a good cat daddy?

I can remember having cats when I was a kid and when they needed to go, there was always outside. If they didn't go outside, ( yes, we actually let our cats go outside back in the day) there was a large tray with some kind of kitty litter in it in a seldom seen corner of the house. . Have you priced kitty litter lately? You'd think the cats were going to eat it the way the product has become so high class. We can't just have any old kitty litter, it's got to be a premium brand, because we only want our cats going in the finest litter.

To me, spending a lot of money on cat litter is kind of like filling your toilet with Perrier. I mean, seriously. You wouldn't' believe the price of kitty litter. Of course, right away with kitty litter, you've got to have a litter box. I found a ton of them off on one of the shelves near the floor. You had to be looking for it to find it, but there it was; a plain plastic pan about 6" deep. Perfect? You obviously have never owned a cat.

A regular tray filled with cheap litter isn't good enough anymore. No sir, it's got to be big enough for a German Shepard and it's got to be electric. Yeah, you read that right. The damn little box needs to be electric. they say they are "self cleaning." All I know is that the only way that thing is "self cleaning" is if it also cleans itself out after a few days of use. Someone, (insert my name here) is going to have to take care of that litter box on a regular basis.

I took my list of cat supplies to and dutifully got everything on the list. My shopping cart was full of things for kitty. As I stood in line, I noticed the man in front of me. He was looking at the shopping cart filled with feline accessories and then looking up at me.. We just stood there and spoke "man" for a couple of minutes then, as he turned back to his own business, I noticed a kind of smile of sympathy on his face. The look said to me, "you've got a cat."

Meanwhile the guy behind me in line was wheeling a cat filled with various items, all of which had a picture of a doberman or a German Shepard on them. He had toys in his basket too, but they were big, dogly looking toys. There were big clunky things to chase that looked like real rodents. There were tough looking leather chews and other various and sundry dog toys in the basket and they all looked very manly. it was then I noticed that, in my own basket was a cure little flexible toy with fluffy little feathers on it. I looked away in shame and I swear I saw a sneer on his face for just a moment.

I tried to think of a way to save face, but I knew that just saying, "My daughter brought home a kitten" wasn't really going to b help. I even considered the humanitarian approach. I was going to be all new agey and proudly announce in a manly voice that,   "yeah, we rescued this cat from the civic center." Instead, I looked him right in the eye and said to him, "I've got a cat." I then weakly added, "I've also got a dog." Mr. Dog Owner looked at me, then at my basket full of kitten stuff and gave me a nod that said, Nice try Cat Man."




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