Craft the Good Life? Or Get a Cat?

My greatest ambition

When I was 14 I wanted to be president. Or at least Secretary of State.

Thirty years later, my ambitions have minified a bit. Now, my goal is to be a slacker. Or at least to support myself in some way that doesn’t require me to wear shoes. Or a bra. That allows me to have Honey nearby. And time to volunteer in some way with dogs.

Golden Retriever playing in sand

Why don't you get my job? I'm not wearing shoes or a bra. And the hours are great!

Ambitions meet reality

The problem with trying to craft the good life is that it takes time and sacrifice to get there.

Downsizing our home means we have to make repairs to make it attractive to potential buyers. Saving money for new plans means working hard and remaining committed to my job. And inventing new ways of making money means learning new skills and experimenting with business (a tough course for someone absolutely allergic to making money).

All of those things take me farther away from the good life now in hopes of having the good life in the future.

Honey doesn’t know any of these things.

Honey knows that she likes to have company. She knows that walks and tug are fun. She knows that everything is better with friends.

Golden Retriever on the couch

I'd like to have a kitty friend. This stuffed dragon doesn't play much.

Enter the kitty?

Yesterday, while contemplating my day that began at 5:00 a.m. with writing a blog post and ended at 9:00 p.m. when I got home from teaching a home buyer’s class, I asked my husband a question. “Do you think Honey would like to have a kitten to keep her company?”

I don’t really think a cat (or another dog, which would be my first choice) fits into our plans right now. But guilt about not having enough time to spend with Honey some days has got me thinking.

On tonight’s walk, Honey met a nice kitty. She was a pretty calico lying in the grass. As we walked by, Kitty remained lying in the grass. Honey passed the resting cat calmly. As we passed by, Kitty followed.

Finally, Honey realized Kitty wanted to be friends. And she responded the only friendly way she knew how–by play bowing and spinning around on the end of her leash.

It was too much for Kitty who backed up a bit and got some hackles.

I made Honey sit calmly while Kitty regained her confidence and laid down about 18 inches from where Honey was sitting. I spent the next few minutes petting the cat and allowing Honey to sniff my hands. Then petting Honey and allowing Kitty to sniff my hands.

They definitely wanted to be friends but they didn’t know how to talk to each other. If Honey had laid down and taken a nap, I bet the cat would have curled up next to her. If the cat had started to bat her paws, Honey would have rolled over and begun to wrestle.

Crafting the good life

As fun as it is to think of getting a kitten, it’s not the time. And as much as I enjoyed seeing Honey trying to figure out how to play with a kitty, I don’t think a cat would adapt to the particular good life I’m aiming for. And the last thing I want is to add a new learning curve to my life; I know absolutely nothing about cats.

So I’ll keep trying to craft a good life. Without sacrificing the present. And hope I get there soon.

If I don’t, I just might have to get a cat.


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  1. *grin* You just strike me as such a dyed in the wool dog person, I’m not sure I can picture you with a cat! If you want some companionship for Honey without the expense of another dog, you could try fostering. It’s tough to let them go, but it’s also very rewarding, and Honey would have some companionship while you’re gone. Just a thought!

    • Yes, I certainly consider myself a dog person. But I often admire cats from afar. I think loving dogs has gotten me more interested in other animals.

      The expense I’m most worried about is time. 99% of the reason I decided my next dog would come from a responsible breeder was so I could raise a companion dog who would be a good fit when I started to foster dogs or raise service dogs (I wasn’t sure which at the time; both interest me very much). That’s the volunteering I was talking about in my post.

      I worry that fostering would have me not only neglecting Honey but another dog too.

      On the other hand, I see other foster parents who are crazy busy. So if some of you want to weigh in and tell me how they do it, I’m very interested in learning. :)

      • We fit into the category of crazy busy fostering parents. We both work a full day at the office with no dogs, and our weekends are often also full of errands, chores, outings, and other fun. I think it’s not so hard for us because our Chick has slowed down some at 8 years old, so he is perfectly content to laze around, sleeping on different dog beds in different rooms for most of the day. He does like to go on adventures, but doesn’t seem to wish his life were full of activity 12 hours per day.
        Our fosters are a little different. We don’t foster puppies, because they really do take a ton of time, but everybody we have fostered so far has been between 2 and 4 years old– old enough to be settle down a little from the puppy stage. People have many, many philosophies on fostering, but the main way we stave off the guilt of having limited time is that without our care, these dogs would be living in a stressful shelter environment, or worse– put to sleep because of lacking shelter space. Even if we can only give them 30 minutes of fun a few times a day and a nice cuddle while writing our blog in the evening, it’s much, much better than some of the alternatives.

  2. I’m a dog person but I’ve had several cats through the years. I don’t ever remember choosing one. Just one day they were in my life and never left. I don’t speak cat, but I do quite well as their staff. Somehow my current cat seems to keep my dogs grounded. And cats are wonderfully uncomplicated.

    • We have some cats who have adopted our yard and even our front porch. But I know they have people waiting for them at home.

      If I did this, it would have to be a conscious choices and include a visit to the SPCA.

    • I don’t know if you can really say tthat cats and dogs are total opposites. I’ve seen cats chasing dogs and dogs chasing cats. I’ve seen rude dogs and gentle dogs…nice cats and..well, not so nice ones (Yes, im talking scratches and bites here ;)). Perhaps the cats vs dogs dichotomy simply reflects the forces of male and female … but there are many grey tones.

  3. That’s such a sweet post, Pamela. It’s funny, we too have considered getting a cat for George to keep him company. We are at home with him all the time, but I think at times he’d love to have something soft, cosy and alive to cuddle up with whilst we’re working. We don’t think we’ve got the room or time for another dog, so a cat somehow seemed like a better idea. Unlike Honey, he hasn’t got the chance to make friends with a cat yet, so I’m not sure how it would go. But we’re just thinking about it.
    I loved your description of how Honey and kitty made friends. Honey has the sweetest nature, she’s such a wonderful dog and a credit to you. And the smile on her face in that photo is priceless…She seems quite happy, even without the kitty.

    • Unless you see some indication that George wants an animal friend, I suspect he’s pretty happy having you home with him every day. After all, he probably sleeps a good part of the day.

      Lucky dog!

  4. I’d like to bring the boys with me – or work from home. It sounds like they are considering it for me. Even though I’ll have to make an appearance in the office for a couple of days each week, I’ll still be able to have an extra day with the boys by my side! (…and no bra!)


  5. Sounds like you already have you heart open to a friend for Honey…only a matter of time now. : )

  6. Katy came home last year when the neighbors got a dog. Even with regular doggy daycare visits Bailey wanted a regular companion. So we contacted the rescue that brought us Bailey to find out about getting another Sheltie. There are more costs, but not double the expenses I expected in all cases. Our doggie daycare is more, but not double.

  7. I see everyone else has already give you some great advice!

    I have been thinking of adopting a second cat for a long time. Then we were hit with the flea fiasco and I thought it would be best to wait until that was done with. Now I am not so sure if it is a good idea. Time has become a very prized item in our home. However, there are so many older – dog friendly – cats in shelters that don’t require a lot from their future owners. Food, water, shelter, a clean littter box, a little cuddle on the couch at night, and they are fully satisfied. I had originally been thinking of a kitten but perhaps an older cat is more our speed right now. We shall see.

  8. Well, how providential! (That you and Honey met the pretty little calico on your walk.) :)
    (Might I also add that you are a brave lady for posting this information knowing that you have at least one cat-person lurking around your blog ;).)

    Kittens/young cats make excellent companions for good-natured dogs, and they are remarkably adaptable/low maintenance. Tigger was my late dog Molly’s BFF and Lulabelle was JF’s (until Dewi came home). They still act like brother and sister.

    Good luck with this decision (although, it sounds like it’s just a matter of timing – and by that I mean, it’s just a matter of time before your kitty finds you). :)

  9. Dogs seem to know how to balance us out properly don’t you think? If you find the answer to what your looking for please send it along! I wouldn’t mind figuring that one out for myself! :)

  10. I can well understand your dilemma. I’m often away at work for 12 hours a day and while Frankie handled it without any problems (or destruction!) I always felt bad about it. So I began toying with the idea of getting him some company, although it wasn’t going to be a cat, he’s not into cats in a good way! And getting a Greyhound wasn’t in the picture either in the early days. I was thinking more along the lines of getting a similar type of muttley dog. Then we got friendly with some women with Greyhounds at our park and he loves them and they love him and I grew to love them too. Not long after our Beryl entered our life and pretty much took over, lol! And fitted in perfectly:) So be careful, you never know where those first little thoughts can lead!

  11. I have already attained that “good life” which you are still aiming at. I work in my pj’s out of my home office and my dog has me all to himself for most of the day. Yes, that is a good life but …

    But my dog still wants to play with other animals. So, I’ve been contemplating on adopting another dog but I’m afraid of that extra commitment. A cat would be easier but I’m deathly allergic to them. Now, there are my dog’s preferences to consider and he seems to prefer the company of squirrel whom he’s been begging to play with him each time we go out walking around the neighborhood and at a local park.

    Now, I suppose that with enough perseverance any animal could be domesticated as a household pet. But I just never thought of myself as an adoptive parent to a squirrel.

    Anyone have any thoughts on that?