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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Friday, November 22, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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The Full Suburban: Our house has become animal house in Spokane Valley

By Julia Ditto For The Spokesman-Review

I think the early October snows must have short-circuited my brain because absolutely out of the blue and for no apparent reason, I have caved to my children’s relentless requests and agreed to get another kitty.

This brings our feline total up to three, which I know is not a lot by “cat lady” standards, but it seems like an unsustainable amount for a family like ours (family theme: “We Have Pets?”). Our foray into becoming pet owners began as so many people’s do – with a half-dead goldfish being sent home with a child after a school party.

More goldfish followed for one reason or another, and we became emboldened by the fact that we could keep them alive for a reasonable amount of time. This naturally led to the assumption that what our family really needed was a puppy, which we subsequently purchased on Christmas Eve of 2015 with zero research or preparation.

We probably could have thought that through better. Our puppy was soooo adorable, but we were definitely out of our element. I remember one day shortly after we brought home little Maggie, she of the indecipherable breed. I was walking her on the sidewalk in front of our house when a neighbor passed by with her huge dog (breed also indecipherable).

I had seen her many times, and we had given each other a friendly “hello” but had never stopped to chat. Now here we were, all of a sudden bonded by our common dog-ness, discussing the dogs, letting the dogs sniff delicate parts of our bodies and laughing in delight as the dogs stuck their noses in each other’s hind quarters.

“Am I a dog person now?” I wondered, a little horrified. Because although I was a dog owner, I wasn’t suddenly interested in doggie anecdotes or discussions about doggie health or doggie habits. Even today, I feel like a double agent sometimes, loving my little dog but not really giving a hoot about anyone else’s. Am I a monster?

And now this self-described non-animal person has added three cats to the mix. Thor and Loki were the first to arrive, given to us last summer by friends of a friend. Our relationship didn’t start out well: After the kittens frolicked all over our house for a few days, we discovered that they had fleas.

I didn’t love that day, and ever since then, they have been barn/garage cats, which means that they’ve developed some “personality quirks” that come with having to fend for themselves a lot of the time.

Logan likes these cats because they are excellent mousers. This is a cat-person term that means they catch mice at an alarming rate and toy with them mercilessly before devouring them in a savage manner – and then leave at least one unsavory body part for me to encounter when I step onto the rug by the garage door. They’re disgusting but useful. Logan likes useful.

This third kitty is a different story. It currently serves no purpose except to be cute. So cute, in fact, that I’m convinced that if all the warlords and despots in the world could look at its little face for 30 seconds, they would instantly throw down their nuclear launch codes and melt into babbling puddles of, “Oh, you cute wittle kitty! Do you need some cuddles from daddy? Yes, you do! Yes, you do!”

Logan is not as easily convinced as a crybaby warlord. So far, all this kitty has done is distract the kids from doing their chores and eat a bunch of expensive kitten food that Logan didn’t want to buy in the first place.

Time will tell if she joins the ranks of the personality-averse barn cats, or if she’ll somehow meow her way into our hearts and home. And if she can somehow achieve world peace while she’s at it, all the better.

Email Julia Ditto at

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