Because of my feline nature, I have a way with cats. We have three male cats in this household, one of them, Marty, having clearly set his heart on my youngest daughter Monika as his companion. But I've enjoyed countless hours with the other two, discussing history and literature, whatever strikes our fancy. Granted, I'm doing most of the talking, and usually I let a piece of string or yarn dangle from the book I'm citing just to retain their interest. Moreover, I often smear a little yogurt—Peter's favorite treat—onto my laptop while I'm giving them a PowerPoint presentation on, say, the Ottoman Empire. Enter this convivial and erudite setting a black lab pup named Balt, a bête noire from hell, who has shat over, chewed, and urinated on just about every square inch of our cramped home. I don't think this canine Philistine and tail-wagging juggernaut appreciates the finer things in life, as do my feline friends.