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  • Writer's pictureMichael Ruscoe

I GOT THE CAT. Meet Doc.

Updated: Mar 11, 2021

Ask for a kitty and the universe will provide.

The first blog I ever wrote for this website was titled, “I Should’ve Gotten the Cat.” It contained the sentiment that in the face of weeks (that I had no idea would turn into months) of sheltering in place alone in my apartment, I should have gotten the cat that my daughter had been begging me for years to adopt.

Folks, meet Doc.

Bringing him into my home took some doing. You wouldn’t have thought that adopting a rescue animal would be such an undertaking, but there you are. It took weeks of paperwork, texts, phone calls, a home inspection, and a day-long road trip to pick him up, but here he is. And he’s exactly the cat I was looking for and exactly the cat I needed. Funny how the universe works that way. Does it happen like that for dog owners too?

I picked up Doc a week or so before Christmas (he was a Christmas present that actually made my daughter squeal with shock and delight). He’s a gray tabby, about a year and a half old, and he looks for all the world like the living embodiment of a Kliban cat, for those of you who remember when such things were all the rage. He's also the first cat I've ever had who has an advanced degree.

A Kliban cat.

Doc has a troubled past, including being abandoned by his original owners and, we suspect, being hit by a car—considering the pronounced limp in his right rear leg (although he can still race around, leap up onto things, and cause his share of mischief, leading my daughter to conclude that he’s faking the injury for sympathy).

After a day or so of hiding under the bed, Doc became my best buddy. He literally follows me everywhere. During the day, he sits on my desk and watches me work. In the evening, as I sit in my recliner and watch TV, he jumps up on the chair’s arm and flops over against me (sometimes even stretching out across my lap). And when I turn in for the night, he races into the bedroom (again, the limp magically disappearing), jumps on the foot of the bed, and sleeps there until morning. For months during the pandemic, I was alone. Now, I’m blessed to have this furry, constant companion.

Doc manning (or catting?) his post, where he helps me write.

Which is not to say that he hasn’t found a way to cause trouble. Doc’s chief function in this household is to test the gravity from every table and desktop in the apartment. As a result, all kinds of things have wound up on the floor: pens, pencils, paper clips, my computer mouse, nasal spray bottles, baseballs, you name it. Thanks to him, though, I know that the apartment’s gravity still works, even during those months when I’m late paying the gravity bill.

Doc loves staring out the window, hunting the occasional flying insect that makes its way into the apartment, and playing the Laser Pointer game. He’s incredibly affectionate (when he feels like it, of course—after all, he’s still a cat), and he’s incredibly handsome. (I already have more pictures of him on my phone than I do of my daughter, but please don’t tell her that.) Best of all, though, he’s here, and it just seems as if the two of us were made for each other.

I’m pretty sure every writer should have a cat. There’s something about cats lounging around piles of books and papers and occasionally strolling across keyboards while you’re drafting manuscripts that just seems natural. I have nothing against dogs, but they’re simply too needy. Writing with a dog around seems to me like trying to write with toddlers underfoot. And I’ve raised two toddlers. Those years were not my most productive in terms of writing output.

So this is my little furry buddy, Doc. I’m more grateful to the universe than I can possibly express for bringing us together. If you’re looking for some kind of four-legged friend to get you through the rest of the pandemic (and beyond, because pets are a lifetime commitment), I implore you to check out your local animal rescue groups. The kitties and doggos you’ll find there need homes far more than we need companionship, but in the end, it’s a great deal for everyone involved.

One of Doc's main jobs around the house is making sure the bed still works.

Looking to adopt a rescue cat or dog? We suggest and Also, there are likely great local rescue agencies in your area. Good luck!

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