It is said you can be either a "cat person" or a "dog person".
I don't know who said it - it was probably "them", you know, "they"...the ones who say all sorts of stuff.
"They say it's going to rain tomorrow." Those "they".
Anyway, I'm on the fence about this one. On balance, counting up the household livestock I am probably a dog person, although I do enjoy a good cat.
Even bad cats can have their merits.
A few years ago a work colleague used to regale us with stories of the bad cat that lived under her house.
It was feral, she said, ugly, mean and uncatchable, and it kept having kittens, she said.
Time after time she would round up the latest litter of kittens and take them to the SPCA, only for the bad cat to produce more.
Finally, she'd had enough. A trap was borrowed from the council's animal control officer and after a few days of setting and re-setting, one morning she came to work triumphant.
"I've got it! It's in the trap in the boot of my car and I'm ringing animal control now to take it to be put down."
She promptly rang the animal control officer.
Five minutes later the fire siren went up.
Work colleague automatically ran for the door to go and cover the event - whatever it was - as any good journalist would.
Then she hesitated.
"Um, I can't drive off with this cat in the boot....animal control are on the way to get it."
Just bring it in here, I told her. "Plonk it in the corner of the office, it will be fine."
She went out and came back staggering under the weight of a towel-swathed cage trap.
I couldn't see what was in there, covered as it was, but out from the bottom of the cage hung four extremely large white cat-paws.
The paws were attached to tabby legs. My favourite flavour of cat. You can see where this is heading, right?
Peeking under the towel I could make out a very cross fluffy tabby cat.
I reached for the phone, and as the cat-trapper was on her way out the door I was already on the phone to animal control.
"Don't worry about picking up the cat," I told the officer. "I am keeping it. I will get it spayed and release it in my hayshed."
"But I'm all ready on my way," he protested.
"Gee, sorry about that," I said. Which I patently wasn't.
Then I rang the vet, whose number I know off by heart - funny that.
"Can I bring in a cat for a spay, vaccinate, worm and flea treatment?" I asked.
They said yes of course and could I bring it straight down. By then I was already in the car on the way so yeah - I could.
When I arrived with the towel-wrapped caged feline I happened to mention to the vet that it was feral.
"Oh" he said.
With that I left them to it and I went back to work. A mere 20 minutes later my phone rang. It was the vet.
"The cat is ready to collect," he said.
"Um, that was quick for a spaying," I answered.
"Yes, that would be because it is actually a neutered male," said the vet.
When my colleague returned from the fire callout (dump fire - all sorted) I informed her that her feral mama-cat was in fact a neutered male.
She was a little surprised.
"So where the hell have all the damned kittens been coming from?" She exclaimed.
At lunchtime I went to collect the now-male and not-exactly-feral feline. The vet nurse explained that they had anaesthetised the cat and shaved its tummy ready for the spay when she noticed it "didn't look like a female..."
The vet handed it over, cage and all and said "you do realise this is a Maine coon cat, don't you?"
Suspicions confirmed. The gigantic paws had been the first clue but the big angry fuzzy face that had peered out of the cage at me was a dead giveaway.
I had found the perfect cat - my favourite colour, plus Maine coons are actually dogs in cat-costumes.
Timothy (because he looked like a Timothy) proved to be exactly that.
Feral? No....not sure what happened there but when I released him into the hayshed he followed me back to the house and sat firmly on the couch.
From there he decided his duties included helping me with the horses, bashing up the occasional chihuahua and getting as much attention as he could absorb. He went from a skinny, matted 9kg to a 12kg sleek brute tabby tiger.
Timmy has now passed into cat heaven, but he remains a good example of how you shouldn't really judge a cat by its....kittens?