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Some things really do get better with age. I have long joked that my hairline isn’t one of them, but I know one thing that is: My ability to understand cats better, and to build a stronger, more fulfilling bond with the felines in my life and in my practice.
Which is not to say that I haven’t always loved cats, and had them in my life. But on the Idaho dairy farm where I grew up, everyone had a job, and the cats were employed keeping mice and other vermin from taking over the place. Ours was a professional relationship, an admiration of coworkers.They did their jobs, and I did mine. Workplace romance was strictly limited to a little heavy petting now and then.
I’m no longer a farm boy, but I’m still more than a little bit country. Up here on our Almost Heaven Ranch, I still have barn cats, but they are much more than coworkers now. They’re family.
I’ve spent my life caring for and about animals, and I’ve always been a careful observer of what makes them happy. I know the “sweet spots” on every pet I’ve ever met, and since Almost Heaven is a horse ranch (with Quarter Horses whose personalities rival Golden Retrievers for sweetness), I know what makes equine hearts sing too.
But I also know if you hit the wrong note on many a cat, you won’t be singing a happy song for long. And while most cat owners eventually figure that out on their own, you could be one of those people whose current cat tolerates pretty much anything. Your next one, though, could be scratch-happy if you don’t know where to go.
Which is why I love sharing about caring, and in cats that means sticking to four top spots for heavy petting, and ignoring one spot that dogs love but that most cats never will.
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