I decided to doodlewash a cat for the first time today, since I think I still have Halloween on the brain and they are always a star player. I was going to try a black one, but opted for a gray tabby I’ve seen around the neighborhood instead. Wasn’t sure how to handle all the hair and whiskers, so I just whisked some white gouache on it at the the end.

Growing up and all through adulthood, I’ve only ever had dogs. It wasn’t until I was grown that I realized I had a mild allergy to cats, so this worked out well. I think cats are beautiful, but prefer the ones that are social and act more like dogs. The aloof cats confound me as they seem more like a pet “prop” rather than actual companions. The tabby doodlewashed here roams the neighborhood and I’ve never seen where it lives and am only assuming it has a home, because it’s hard to tell with cats sometimes.

I remember visiting a couple a few years back and when I sat down and they handed me a drink, their cat jumped up on my lap. I screamed loudly. Not because the appearance was so sudden, but because this particular cat was completely hairless and ancient. They just smiled and said, “That’s our little baby” and I tried disparately to pass it off as simply a case of being startled while trying very hard to remove the look of disgust and horror from my face.

I learned that this cat was over 26 years old and that the lack of hair was on purpose. Apparently it was a Sphinx and they had been giving it better care than most children. But seeing a bald cat for the first time is still a little disconcerting and takes some getting used to. As it turns out, even without the hair, these cats are not hypoallergenic so it was a relatively short evening.

On a visit to another cat house (oh wait… house with cats in it, not the other kind), I was shocked once again to find this couple had trained their cat to use the toilet. Admittedly, this sounds awesome, as the smell of kitty litter in a house can usually be detected from the driveway by people like me who don’t live with cats daily. But when you walk in on a cat doing his business on the toilet you were hoping to use, it’s more than a little disturbing. Admittedly, I should have knocked, but they really should have thought to train Whiskers to lock the door behind him first.

I finally met my first dog-like cat soon after that and I was immediately in love. The cat was a yellow tabby and so ridiculously cute that you immediately wanted to cuddle up next to it. And that’s exactly what it wanted to, so allergies be damned I did, and it was totally worth the itching and sneezing. This cat was my new best friend for the night.

Though I don’t think I’ll ever own a cat, as I still prefer dogs and dislike sneezing, I find them fascinating creatures. There’s sort of an ancient wisdom in their eyes and secrets they will probably never reveal to you. And that makes them pretty cool. There’s such a range of types and personalities with cats that I’m sure there’s always a cat for any non-allergic person to enjoy. Even if they prefer to use your toilet over a litter box or are made entirely out of skin. Which admittedly… still sort of creeps me out.

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43 thoughts on “Neighborhood Cat

  1. A very handsome cat, Charlie! I like how you painted his eyes especially! 🙂 I am a cat person myself but I will NOT be training “Jack” to use the toilet. Jack believes he is part human however and likes to sleep under the covers with his head on the pillow. I often wander what this would look like in a photo with all of us sleeping… thanks for making me laugh with the “naked” cat story! :-)))

  2. I always wonder how to do wispy white with watercolor.. I usually do white gel pen but gouache is a great idea.. I can imagine the shock of seeing a hairless cat! I’ve had both cats and dogs as pets and love them both!

  3. Your stories are priceless, dude!! I could picture you screaming at that hairless cat. 😀 I love cats myself, but my older son is really allergic so we’ll likely never have one again. Funny enough, I’ve had 2 cats and 2 dogs in my life, at separate times. Your cat’s eyes are so realistic and awesome!

      1. They are cute! So are puppies…if I didn’t feel so old and tired, I’d get another pet. It was so time consuming training our farm dog (and then she died young from a tick-borne disease) that I don’t want to have another dog at the moment. :}

          1. Took us a couple of years to get over her loss…but it’s taking longer to get over my mom’s death (she died a month before my dog died…talk about an awful year).

            Okay, enough of that sadness stuff! :}

  4. Fantastic (and very pretty) cat, just as I was expecting! You’ve got the look of curious pomposity down to a tee with those eyes.

    I LOVE cats, big or small (though I would rather they have fur). I currently have three, but I feel I’d have many more if allowed. They’re hilarious. Dogs do amusing things for attention, or to impress their masters. Cats do amusing things because they jolly well want to. ‘Ancient wisdom’ is right; they were once revered as gods… and they’ve not forgotten that!

    The cat using the toilet is….hmm… interesting… can’t say I’ve ever had the inclination to teach any of mine to do that, but… interesting…!

    1. I was laughing so hard my husband came to check on me, thinking I was crying. I read aloud (as best I could between laughter) the paragraph on the sphinx and the cat on the toilet, and we were both howling with laughter. Wow…you are a great writer!

  5. My hubby’s allergic to cats, too, so I don’t currently have one, but I love them as much as dogs. As you say, personalities vary – I’ve had cats that seemed more like dogs.When I was a kid, I had one that would climb on the refrigerator, open the cupboard door, pull out a pack of my father’s pipe cleaners, carry them next to the figurine cabinet, open the pack and one by one play with them by batting them underneath and then trying to get them back out. Once he couldn’t retrieve one, he’d pull out the next and start over. My parents both snarled and cussed, but they never quit storing the pipe cleaners from above the cupboard.

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