Kitty? Puppy? Outboard Motor?

When I was a little girl I collected anything with a cat on it. I wrote school reports about cats and I even have a letter I wrote listing all the reasons why I deserved to have my own cat. I had to wait until I was 30 for that dream to come true.

In the meantime, I became a dog person. Our two black labs are the four-legged loves of my life. But we discussed getting a cat every now and then, just in passing. Then we learned that a precious little kitty was about to be up for adoption, so of course we said we'd take her. Sight unseen I picked her up and that was that.

The very first day she was with us, Danny introduced this little ball of fluff to one of his favorites - hot sauce. I laughed that she would turn up her nose and high-tail it out of there, but to my shock she lapped it off his finger and looked around for more! That's how she earned her name, Cayenne Pepper.

We had specifically gotten Cay to be a little sister for the girls. They needed some excitement in their lives and what better way than with a two-pound, fuzzy squeaky toy! Well, two years and 10 pounds later we have three dogs. Growing up between two 55-pound labs, Cayenne has come to the conclusion that she must be a puppy, too. When it's time for the dogs to go outside, she'll trot to the door with them, wait patiently until they're back on the porch, and then follow them to the kitchen for a treat.

After watching the girls be told to sit for a treat for over a year, Cay finally picked up on the command herself. She will pace around while the puppies get theirs, and then on the sit command she'll plop herself down and gently take the treat from between my fingers. The girls chomp theirs down and watch Cayenne savor every morsel of hers.

The one thing "cat-like" that she still has is her purr. She has a purr the volume of an outboard motor - it drives Danny insane at 4:00 in the morning, but I consider her a furry white noise machine. Every morning I wake up to Cay either on my stomach or curled up by my side. The bed shakes violently like an earthquake and she just sits there staring at me as if she doesn't even notice. Then the vocals begin - we are on a pretty normal schedule around our house, and Cayenne knows when breakfast is supposed to be served in the main dining room. If it's not, the whiniest little mews you've ever heard emanate from this sweet-looking kitty. If we don't move fast enough we are poked, rubbed and sat upon until rolling out of bed occurs.

Several months ago I went to the doctor to find out if I had Springtime allergies. I was suddenly sneezing and coughing like crazy. Even with his prescription I was going through half a box of tissue every day. That's when the lightbulb went off above my silly little head - who is on our bed every morning? Who curls up in my lap every day while I write? Who lays behind my head while we watch television? Whose favorite spot is the corner of my scrapbooking table? I'm allergic to my cat!!! So what do I do? I wash the sheets more regularly, I use those great new pet hair rollers on our furniture and I keep her brushed as best as I can. Dry itchy eyes and a 12-pack of tissues is worth Cayenne's sweet eyes rolling in my direction when I call her name.


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