I am what you call a cat person. I only have two cats, but I exhibit cat-possessed behavior.

I cry uncontrollably among the cats at the Animal Refuge League, even though I know they are safe and well cared for. They should all be at home with me.

And I go to work in my dark, professional outfits adorned with ginger-colored cat hairs. I swear I roller-brush them off before I leave the house, but they pursue me.

Friends tell me I am becoming that crazy cat lady but I maintain they are dog snobs and don’t understand. Plus I would have to have at least six cats.

The truth is I don’t think dog people get the subtlety of cats. On early spring afternoons, the sun stretches across my foyer floor. I burst through the front door, excited to be home from work, and nearly trip over Hector, and occasionally Willy, snoozing on the foyer rug in the sun.

Hec doesn’t move; he just flicks his tail. The uninitiated might think he’s annoyed at me for disturbing him but I know better. When I see the tail go, I scoop Hec up in my arms, feet upwards, and give him a raspberry right on his belly, at which point he flattens his ears and glares pointedly at my forehead — a sure sign he loves the attention.

I leave Hector and Willy to their sun worship and walk down to Willard Beach, which I am apt to do on any day at any time of year. The most exciting walk in recent memory was during the February blizzard when we had 30 inches of snow. Plows pushed the snow 8 feet high in front of the Willard Street entrance.

I hiked to the top of the towering pile and observed the beach from that safe distance. Violent wind blew everything sideways. Flecks of water and sand singed my face. Squinting, I watched determined gulls wheel over the sea — by force or their own will I am not sure. Iron-shrouded waves slammed the beach, which was a mess of seaweed and sand and snow, clogged with buoys and driftwood and a dead gull. In moments like this I am alone and humble against the omnipotence of Mother Nature.

In the early spring I have to accept that Willard isn’t mine anymore because the warm weather brings people and their dogs. The dogs run free, barking, splashing and sniffing each other’s rears.

Their people stand in groups to catch up after a long unsocial winter. I keep to myself, but watch their dogs romp around, spreading joy, exulting in a new season and a change of pace.

Sometimes a dog grabs my wrist playfully in its mouth, or jumps up with dirty paws on my chest or entices me to pull the mangled ball from clenched jaws and throw it far out into the water.

I should be mad about my dirty jacket and slobbery wrist and the inattentive dog people. Perhaps someday I will be. But not today.

I wonder if I had one dog and only five cats, I could avoid the crazy cat lady label. Maybe I’ll give it a try. 

Liz Rensenbrink is a resident of South Portland.