My Shadow

When it comes to cats and dogs, I’m partial to dogs and neutral on felines.   I suspect why I’m partial to dogs is when growing up, my family owned dogs only, with the exception of a rabbit that met its end by one of the dogs.

I recently did some pet babysitting. I tended to a relative’s cat for about a week and then the following month, I did the same for a puppy.  Comparing the two reminded me of a neurotypical (NT) and someone on the Spectrum.  The cat showed some typical Autism traits and the dog showed more NT.

First off, most times I wouldn’t have known our houseguest cat was even in our midst.  She seemingly played hide and seek and it was always our turn to seek her and not the other way around.  She was the queen of observing and did not seek attention.  The same could be said of me.  If I was limited to one word to describe myself, it would be “observer”.  I tend to disappear when I’m a houseguest too.

In contrast, the puppy didn’t cater to having any time to himself.  The dog’s breed is Matisse and from what I’ve read, they don’t like being left alone by humans.  No kidding!  He was on my heels or my Mom’s every waking minute.

We had to be careful when we went out the door because the pup would make a run for it.  That was hardly the case for the cat.  Both front and back doors could have been left wide open and all the windows opened, and the cat would still be sitting on her throne of a window sill or top of the divan.  The dog was OVER social; whereas the cat was just the opposite.

My Mom teased me about the puppy being “my shadow”.  He was at that.  He followed me from room to room.  He stuck to me like glue.  During the night when I tended to a nature call, I felt something cold against my leg.  Sure enough!  It was my shadow.  I complained to my Mom, “He just won’t stay in a room by himself!  Not for one blazing second!”  I had to laugh to myself.  No wonder I have a hard time relating to this puppy.  If I stuck to people like glue around the clock, I’d be in meltdown country big time!

Lastly, their owners didn’t forget to pick them up after their vacations.  When the cat’s owner came in the door, there was no heart-touching reunion scene.  The cat wasn’t nearly as thrilled as her owner.  I can relate to being wary of emotional reunions or departures.  I shy away from such “huggings” myself.  As for the pup, it was the exact opposite.  It was hard to say who was more excited at their reunion.  You could say the one who picked him up got a “pup licking”.

I did miss both after their departure.  Yes, even the feline.  In fact, maybe I’m a little more partial to cats than I was before.  The cat, much more than the puppy, reminded me of my daily living on the spectrum.  Physically speaking, the puppy was my shadow with his being at my heels.  Neurologically speaking, the cat was my shadow.





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