I have been equally terrified of all animals, from puppies to arthropods for most of my life. (Are arthropods technically animals?) Fish were ok because they swam harmlessly in their little aquarium and pretty much didn't need any caretaking. I had my stuffed animals to keep me company- they were cute, didn't bite, and didn't need baths or walks.
I started warming up to dogs in my teens and 20s when my family inherited Mariko, a fluffy but yappy Shih Tzu from our Japanese neighbors. Not until I began to dogsit for my boss in San Francisco did I really learn to yearn for the company of dogs.
And then I moved to Japan where I shared a living space with lizards, frogs, mice, and many unidentifiable winged creatures. In one of my 2nd year English classes in Japan, we actually held debates on which were better: Dogs or Cats?
Cats to me, symbolized these snooty mysterious creatures that came and went on their own, with little regard or respect for people. Dogs on the other hand, were loyal, friendly, and approachable.
So, I never thought I would see the day when I would catsit. Regardless, Raylene and Ez asked me if I would be interested in taking care of Arwen, their Abyssinian, while they were away for a week. Since Paul has been outspoken about wanting to have a cat "slink around the apartment" for some time, we decided that he would host the kitty at his apartment and I would stay over and take care of her.
Well, after seeing that cute face, her beautiful and elegant poise, we both started fighting for her attention and the privilege to feed her, pet her, hold her... It was like having a cute little baby waiting at home for us without the mess, the crying, the diaper changing.
Unlike many [obese] American pets, this was one lean animal. She jumped and played gracefully and had a shiny coat, due to her very healthy and organic diet. She would softly "bonk" her head as her cute little way to show her affection for us, and purr softly as she inspected the apartment. After a week of having her around, we are now feeling a little empty spot in our hearts and Paul's apartment.
more pics of the kitty