Throwing out a topic: a beloved animal

I notice that more than one of us has a cat somewhere in their lives. So, for a fun topic: tell us about an animal you love (or loved).

My wife and I are nutty over our cats. The three words spoken most often in our house: "They're so cute!" Chili, the cat in my web page header peering over the book, is a red tabby with some Siamese in him. He played fetch when he was a kitten, flinging himself into the air and turning a 360 to catch the toy which he would then bring back again and again as long as you'd keep throwing it. He's a dog in disguise. Not only did he play fetch, he licks your face to say hello and rolls over to show his belly if he wants affection. Best of all, he always knows when I need a cat. When I'm blue, he'll come and snuggle up, let me cradle him in my arms and rub noses, all the while purring with pleasure.


My dog. She's a two year old Brittany, her name's Briar, which is incidentally the given name of one of my more active fans.

When I write on the couch, she's lying at my feet. My routine generally involves having a cup of tea beside me. Reheating the tea and letting Briar out keeps me moving and prevents me from writing for six straight hours and then finding I can barely stand.

She's a wimp. I originally picked her out of the litter because my older Brittany (then 15) had a very alpha personality and I wanted a more submissive dog to complement. It did work, but she's an exceedingly sensitive soul - I can bark out a stern 'no!' for something she's doing wrong and then an hour and a half later I'll see her sulking at the foot of my bed, and I'll be all, "Ohhh, right. I hurt her feelings."

Very athletic breed, and intelligent enough to make my life hell if I don't give her the exercise she needs. It gets me out of the house and walking (which I enjoy). Very different from my first dog in a lot of ways ('Diva' passed in December 2012 at the age of 16 - 3.5 years after the median lifespan and 1 year after the high end of the breed's lifespan). Briar's not quite so smart, and a bit of a chewer - I couldn't find any toys, even the durable super-tough toys that are supposed to stand up to attack dogs with crazy jaw strength, that she didn't go through in an hour. Only last fall did I discover deer antlers as an option. Now there's little spots throughout my place that look like the floor of a lion's den, littered with the gnawed antlers.

Wow 16 is old! My cousins had a cat that got to around 16 - every time they got new neighbours there would be a call to the RSPCA (animal protection charity in the UK) saying it was being abused because it looked so awful...

I'd love a dog, but I don't think it would be fair given that we both have pretty much full time jobs and I wouldn't want to leave it alone for so long in an empty house.

That's funny, but I can see where it could get old fast. My dog didn't look awful, I don't think - I think she had something most dogs don't, which is a heck of a lot of time with fresh air and clean water, with me growing up spending a fair portion of my summers up at the family cabin. Crapton of exercise, a lot of attention, and very good luck on our part.

I get what you mean about not wanting to leave a pet alone. With my first dog, I was just entering high school so there was my family to collectively give her attention (and I went home for lunch, so I let the dog out partway through the school day). With Briar, I spend a lot of time (read: probably too much) time at home, so she doesn't have to spend too much time in her kennel.

I fully believe in pets being a part of the family, rather than an accessory. I also believe pets are necessary for writers, because writing is a pretty lonely occupation (even if you have some friends/family who follow your work, even if you're a serial writer in contact with your fans).

A couple of years ago I inherited my next door neighbours cat when he died, a Russian Blue named Mister Moses. That seemed like a mouthful, so I just call him Mo. He's the friendliest cat I've ever seen, and I grew up with a lot of cats, all of them aggressive as hell. It was nice to have a cat that didn't try to claw my face off every time I touched it.

I say 'he', but that's not a certainty. No one can agree on Mo's gender. His original owner called him Mister Moses and said he was a boy, but several other people have since taken a look at him and declared him to be a girl. Still others insist he is in fact a boy. I can't tell myself because I have no idea what I'm looking at.

More recently he was attacked by a large fox, and barely survived. His tail was broken, back end chewed up, teeth marks on his behind and his head. Poor thing was on death's door for a week. He's slowly recovering, but I'm not sure he'll ever be the same.

He's extremely affectionate in any case, and likes to head-butt people to get their attention. Gently, that is. Oh, and yesterday he peed on me, because I didn't know that 'meow' meant 'let me out, I gotta go!' rather than what it usually means, which is 'gimme a hug dammit!'.

Wildbow and Alice, I love your descriptions of your dog and cat. Brought smiles to my face, especially thinking of deer antlers strewn about the place.

We adopted our two cats from the same litter. Luna is Chili's shy, quiet sister. The adoption place, quite rightly, insisted that cats be adopted at least in pairs so they wouldn't be lonely. They play together, chase each other around the house, have epic mock battles then lie on the bed licking each other.

I'm home during the day a lot and the cats (usually Chili) lies on my lap, my keyboard or whatever book I'm reading.

My family was never big on pets so I've never really had any. (Of course, now my father who was always a big pet-hater, has a horse, about the biggest pet you can get ;-), which I find very funny.) There was one animal though I loved even if I only knew it for three weeks. We went on vacation in Maine, when I was about 8, and there was this little black and brown cat that lived in the woods around the house we rented. My sister and I named it Bianca, and fed her everyday and played with her out in the woods. She would actually come when we called for her by name. She'd follow us around while we played house in the woods. I loved that cat and still think of her. She quite easily the only animal I've ever really cared about. Of course now I know I'm allergic to cats, but I still have fond memories of Bianca. When we left we told some people about her who said they were going to try and catch her and keep her as a their own pet. I sometimes wonder if that worked out. She was a really loving animal and was awfully pretty and well-behaved.

Naomi, that's so sweet.