The Pet Update.

I know. Photo courtesy a google search, as Wikipedia doesn't have any pictures of miniature Maltipoos, yet.
I can’t. I JUST CANNOT. Photo courtesy a plain old google search, as Wikipedia doesn’t have any pictures of miniature Maltipoos, yet. If I get one, I’ll post one.


Back in December, I shared that I was thinking seriously of getting a kitty.

Most of you loved the idea and your enthusiasm was powerful. I had visions of little Pipkin (brilliant, Lesley!) licking his whiskers, curling up for a nap on a stack of quilts. I even emailed the pet adoption center downtown and filled out the application form to foster a kitten after several readers advised me to start there. It was all very exciting.

Just a few people said, “Hm… Are you sure, Mar?” and I was glad that those voices were there because as much as I hated to admit it, I had a small but real hesitation in my mind about getting a cat. If the “Hang on there, cowgirl” people hadn’t spoken up, I might’ve ignored that little doubt and there could be a kitten on my lap right now.

(Oh, wow. There could be a kitten on my lap right now… That sounds really great. Wait! No! Focus, Mary Fons! Focus!)

Here’s the problem: As I said in the original post, I really, really want a little dog. I love cats. I do. And we know from this Quilt Scout column that I’m not sold on the idea that “there are two kinds of people in the world” and therefore there are cat people and dog people and ne’er the twain shall meet. Truth be told, I’m actually afraid of big dogs; I’ve personally known two people who have suffered dog bites — bad ones. Like, face bites that required surgery. (I know; it’s really, really horrible.) But even not-so-big dogs can freak me out: One of my best friends from back home, her dog when we were growing up was mean as a snake, barked incessantly, and snapped at me whenever I got near her and she wasn’t much bigger than a Big Wheel.

But the truth is, like a young girl who has watched way too many old-school Disney movies dreams of her Prince Charming, I dream of my teacup Maltipoo, Philip Larkin. He’s a teacup Maltipoo and he’s my guy. My problem with getting a cat is that really, I want a dog and I’m not ready to be mature and wise and gracious and giving and get a different species entirely because I can’t have him, yet. (If you haven’t read the original post, the reasons I can’t have Philip Larkin right now are listed there.) I just have this Phil-or-nothing mindset. It’s like I’m practicing pet chastity or something, saving myself for…marriage. (That’s a super weird line of metaphor that I’m going to drop immediately, even though it is weirdly accurate.)

Perhaps what cinched it for me was my learning from all of you about how cats really need to have a feline companion, especially if they’re alone for long hours in the day. Having two cats makes total sense and if I ever have a cat, I’ll have two. But that was just it: Instead of not having one dog, suddenly I had two cats. And it felt wrong.

For now, I shall wait. I will pet my friend Sophie’s cats. I will pet my friend Heather’s cat. And I might still foster a kitten at some point, just to make sure! But several people have asked me about the Cat Question and I thought I’d update you.

Someday, little Philip Larkin. Someday, buddy.


21 Responses

  1. Mary Says Sew!
    | Reply


    Consider fostering an adult or senior cat, especially one who’s lost his or her owner because the owner has died, gone into hospice a long-term care facility, or moved where they cannot take their cat. You might a cat who’s perfectly comfortable being an only cat.

    You might also be able to be a cat cuddler or dog walker at a shelter.

    • Carla E
      | Reply

      Yes, this! We adopted an elderly cat and she is very calm and sweet. She was an only cat to begin with, and her owner was too old to continue taking care of her. We ‘rescued’ her but we are so lucky to have her.

  2. Ruth
    | Reply

    Cats do NOT have to have a companion. In fact, they are solitary animals.
    If you did get a cat, because of your health an travels, I would recommend and automatic water and food dispensers. There are some automatic (more or less) kitty litter pans as well. In addition, these things allow you to have a more irregular schedule.
    If you get a dog, you could plan on having someone else taking care of him when you can’t. Automatic water and food dispensers will work for dogs, too, but dogs need more attention.
    If you really, really want a dog, that’s what you should get.

    • Pamela Keown
      | Reply

      Ruth is correct. Dogs require MUCH more attention. I have had both dogs and cats. If you want a dog and can provide the attention he requires, get a dog. And personally my dogs have been happier with a companion. The one time I had an only dog, it did not go well. But that was my reality, it may not be yours.

  3. Jennifer Moore
    | Reply

    I’ve had both cats and dogs – big dogs during my childhood and one cat so far as an adult. There are definitely pros and cons to both. Dogs need to either be taken out for a walk or let outside several times a day, but cats are just plain divas. They’re #1 and humans are only there to serve their needs. My cat is a tortoiseshell nicknamed “Gato” and she is CUUUUTTTEEE and makes noises like a Furby. Makes all her demands tolerable because she’s my cuddle buddy. Some cats do have the unfortunate habit of spraying or destroying stuff in your house, but luckily Gato does not do that. My childhood dogs chewed everything in sight, slobbered, and drooled over everything. With your travel schedule – you would experience stress when you traveled over what you’d do with the dog. Cats can go for a few days with 2 litter boxes and LOTS of food, a dripping sink.

  4. Susan
    | Reply

    Philip Larkin. Jump, Mary. It may be complicated but you will never regret it. Jump. Just. Jump.

  5. Barbara
    | Reply

    We had two cats and ended up having to give one to a friend because they did not get along. They were both much happier being master of their own house, so my experience is that cats do not need a companion.

    • Jennifer Moore
      | Reply


      Our cat is also “master of her universe” and very much prefers it that way. She dislikes other animals and doesn’t enjoy interacting with them. She’s fine with us, and is very friendly.

  6. QuiltShop Gal
    | Reply

    I was bit by a dog at a young age and needed surgery. But I’m still in love with dogs, as well as cats. I’m a firm believer if you can provide a good home, a loving home, than adopt. There are so many that live in unloved homes and dogs and cats both know the difference and prefer love. Sadly, I’m petless right now, as we are just not home enough to have a pet. But I’m looking forward to when life calms down and I can be a good pet parent. In the meantime, I’m always volunteering to take care of pets, even happy to be a free dog walker. I hope you find your furr-ever pet soon.


  7. Colleen
    | Reply

    I do feel for you . We adopted a cat while we had a dog and another cat now we only have that adopted cat she is very much a cat that doesn’t want any other animals around, but she is also very attentive to us she follows us and likes to start her sleeping night on me so when she is ready for bed she gets there and cries until I get in bed then she gets on me until my husband comes to bed then she goes to him and all night she goes back and forth
    She seems ok when we go out together but she is very aware when we Or either of us come home she escorts us up our walkway and into the house . She stays within 5 feet of the house or in the house
    She has my husband trained to feed her when she tells him

  8. Carla Gutman
    | Reply

    Not all cats need a companion. I have a sweet little kitty, Tabitha, who is an only and is quite happy.

  9. Linda
    | Reply

    You should wait until the time is right and get your dog.
    I am very very allergic to cats. Going to visit a friend that has a cat is not a good experience for me. Allergy medicine does not lesson the problem. I know it sounds picky but a cat owner has cat hair on their clothes which transfers to car seats and coats and sweaters and all that is ok for the non allergic but very difficult for someone who is..

  10. Pat Hicks
    | Reply

    Mary I’m guessing you don’t have any allergies to . Sorry about. I’m not a cat person for any and all cats. I like them when they are kittens, but then they go and grow up. I have allergies so I can’t handle being around a cat long term the other thing is the cat hair it seems to be every where. Cats are easier to leave f o e periods of time. Are u up to cat sitters? The picture of the dog on your blog today is really cute. It would be a lot of making a arrangements for care giving. Small dogs are my favorite.

  11. Diana
    | Reply

    I’m reading your blog about your fear of big dogs (among other things) as my 120# lab is snoring away next to me. I’m not fond of little dogs…different strokes for different folks I guess.

  12. Marianne ten Kate
    | Reply

    Great! You’re drawn to two of the most expensive hobbies on earth; quilting and dog ownership. Both are truly rewarding in so many ways and for the most part, each is all about love. The joy of giving a quilt is hard to beat but I get the joy of a fulsome canine greeting several times a day! And I smile and I laugh every day to the point where I think the neighbors and passersby we meet out walking may easily begin to slot us into the ‘eccentric’ category! Almost no one is afraid of Friso, who is small and channelling his inner Ewok, and I now love walking more than I ever have in my life. Sure I have to shell out for his haircuts and vet’s bills, but it seems a small price to pay for the endorphin rush – for both of us – of doggie love! Tap into the network of dog walkers and carers (paid and voluntary), do a budget, prepare for temporary puppy-house-training-chewing hell and reap 10-15 years of furry sunshine every day (and just think of the blog content!). GET PHILIP LARKIN SOON!

  13. Karen
    | Reply

    Oh, Mar what a dilemma! I have always had small dogs (nothing against kitties). The companionship is incredible but don’t forget that this is a little being that has to be cared for. Feeding/medical/training/playing and you can’t just up and leave for a few days without consideration for your buddy. After all that remember, there is that unconditional love. Ah, yes, there’s that.

  14. Shermie
    | Reply

    I understand. Over a year ago, our Shitzu had to be put down. I miss a dog so much I can practically taste it. But we are now retired with out of town kids and fixed income. So the reality is not looking good for another sweet pal.
    Our family is full of cat allergies so that is out of the question, too.
    So I browse Facebook Foster Pet Outreach photos and drool… for now.

  15. Elizabeth
    | Reply

    You do you, Mary. I thought I REALLY wanted a dog once, and I even drove from Indianapolis to rural Kentucky to adopt one. I took her to the doggie spa and spent a weekend with her…and then decided that as a single gal with no family around to help out if I needed it, a dog just was not a good idea. So I drove her hours back to rural Kentucky a few days later. Dogs require a lot more attention and time, as others have commented, and I realized that with a full-time job, no one to share daily dog duties, and no fenced-in yard, it was not right for me. I’m very happy in my one cat household — on my second single cat and they have both seemed very happy to be king and queen of the castle, respectively. My advice is to stay true to what you think is best for you but also stay open to that idea that you can and may change your mind. Politics, pets — the same rules apply.

  16. […] new condo so I can get my little doggie, Philip Larkin (but I would keep this one and rent it out because even in my fantasy life, I know the value of a […]

    • Maggie Marlow
      | Reply

      Has to be ‘Pip’ Larkin! Apart from he’s so cute, he’d be a wonderful companion and give unconditional love. Yes, looking after a dog requires adjustments and outlay, but the rewards are without compare – just like quilting really…………………

  17. […] went to pet little puppies. Remember Philip Larkin? Me, […]

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