What were you expecting me to say? Lessons I learned from my parents? Favorite college professor? Children?

I realized something the other day. And before I admit this, I should probably point out that I have always been a dog person. So, here it goes. I like cats. It all started with a stray cat. He showed up one day and never left. We live in a rural area and people like to dump unwanted pets along our stretch of the road. Then another cat came and she never left. They had kittens and, well, the rest is history.

Life lesson 1: Don't judge a book by its cover.

Cats are quirky characters who want to be left alone, for the most part. They are quite appreciative though, which brings me to the next thing I learned.

Life lesson 2: Remember to say 'thank you' even if you don't like the gift.

I've lost track of the times I've stepped out of the house to find a "gift" on the back step. While I have never asked for a dead, decapitated mouse, I appreciate the thought.

Life lesson 3: Saying goodbye is hard, but sometimes it's the right thing to do.

At one point, we were up to 12 cats and kittens. I was on a mission to find homes for each and every one of them. My kids were not happy with me, but realized the kittens would each be much happier with a family of their own. That overabundance of cats brought me to the next lesson.

Life lesson 4: Know when to ask for help.

Take advantage of local spay and neuter clinics. There are several low cost options available if you do your research. By cats #20 and #21, I stopped naming them. I figured if we didn't name them, we wouldn't get attached and maybe (hopefully) they would disappear.

Life lesson 5: Just because you don't name them, doesn't mean you won't get attached.

The "new" cat and the "new new" cat went on to have three kittens. We found homes for all of those "no names" and are happily down to three cats these days.

I hope I didn't just jinx myself.