By Mary Tucker
Animals were a big part of farm life and they were not considered pets. Each was owned for a specific reason; horses were used for plowing, haying, and bringing the milk cows to the barn morning and evening. Eggs were sold and used at home. “Chicken every Sunday” was a given.
Watchdogs and cats lived in the barn; the cat was allowed in the house only when needed to catch mice. When I married, a housedog came with my husband and then cats. Only during the cold, snowy winters in rural Albany County were the animals allowed in the house. That all ended after the children were born. Dogs and cats lived, played and slept with the kids.
After living in Bovina and Fall Clove with cats, dogs, a horse and a pony, the next move was to Missouri so we found homes for the animals. In Missouri our teenage daughter begged for a cat; BC,. a calico, came into our lives. Howard transferred to Kentucky; BC came with us. One day our neighbor’s tomcat left a tiny kitten on our front porch. We brought it to a barn behind our home but the tom brought it back. That was Ziggy. On Howard’s retirement we came back to our present home on Fall Clove bringing the two cats along. When our daughter came to live with us for a time she brought her cat Pandora, then left her here after she moved to Oneonta. So there we were with 3 cats and no dogs after the last dog was killed while chasing a car.
After Howard was gone several years, I decided to go for “zero animals”, keeping and enjoying the three cats but not replacing them as they died. The last cat, Ziggy, went to “animal heaven” this past year at 15 years of age. Since then friends and neighbors have been offering me kittens or puppies but I am determined to stay “petless.” Sometimes I miss having a cat but then think, -no more cat hairs on clothes or furniture, no dust bunnies under the beds, and best of all no more litter boxes to empty and litter to dispose of. No more scratches on furniture, corners, door frames even though there was a scratching post. I can go away for more than a day without finding someone to come in to take care of feeding, watering and cleaning boxes. Being wakened from a sound sleep at 3:00 am because a cat wants to go out was not much fun, especially since the MEOWS kept on until I finally got up to open the door.
Seniors are encouraged to have pets. Studies have shown that owning and caring for a pet helps people to be more content and have longer, healthier lives. Having enjoyed having pets for most of my life, I am content to remember their companionship and the funny things they did. These days my only pets are mice. ~