Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Lifetime Dream Achieved...if the cat isn't terminally ill

On one of our early dates, my husband-to-be and I discussed some of our goals in life.  I planned to someday own a cat.  Before you make fun, think of what it takes to own a cat that I had not achieved yet.  You need to live in a stable environment (since cats do not do well with frequent moves) and you have to live in a place where you are allowed to choose a pet other than a goldfish.  At the time, I was moving about two or three times a year for various semester changes and summer employment opportunities and from one no-pets-allowed apartment or dorm to another.

Getting married did not change that, since I married someone who was starting a PhD program and we promptly moved into married student campus housing.  But when we did purchase our first condo, we tried to make my dream come true.  We adopted a beautiful cat named Kita from the humane society, not knowing that Kita suffered from a terminal illness that would end her life soon thereafter.

We were only in the condo for a short time when we had the "opportunity" to acquire the construction project we currently reside in.  Once again, I found myself in life circumstances unfitting for cat ownership.  Cats do not do well in construction.  (Case in point: One of my childhood pets hid from the construction workers under the unfinished tub during a bathroom remodeling project and they entombed her when they tiled it up.  She did survive the incident, but ran away not long after that trauma.)

However, when my aunt needed to find a new family for her cat, Callie, and thought of us and our recently de-petted situation, we couldn't say no.  Callie was a charming animal, until she took ill a few weeks later.  The vet assured us that her imminent demise had nothing to do with us or even the plenitude of construction materials in the poor animal's final living quarters.  Although my aunt had not known, she had been terminally ill for sometime.

 So I decided that my dream would have to wait, both until the construction project became a suitable home and until I recovered from my newfound fear that a future as my pet would doom any cat to a short life expectancy.

About a month ago, my husband called from work.  He works at a rest home that had a "therapy cat" (i.e. a cat whose purpose is to cheer up sick people).  However, the director of physical therapy and her boss had a tiff which resulted in eviction orders for the innocent animal.  My husband wanted to adopt her; after all, I still hadn't achieved that lifelong goal, the kids would love a pet, and this was one cheap way to achieve that goal, since the pet would come to us with lots of free pet supplies and all its veterinary work accomplished.

Our house is still under construction, but I made the cat her own tranquil bedroom in the closet under the stairs, like Harry Potter.  Soon after adopting her, my husband forgot that the new pet was his idea and complained about her frequently, although I caught him talking baby talk to the sweet kitty when he thought no one was looking.  My children, on the other hand, were exuberant pet owners from the start. My two-year-old was delighted with everything the cat did and brought me frequent, enthusiastic reports, most of which were, "Cat!  Night-night! Cat!"  The first time he saw the cat bathe, he grabbed my arm and dragged me over to see the big event, talking rapid jibberish the whole way.  I told him the cat was bathing.  "Nummy bath?" he asked, having never seen a bath that involved licking before. 

The kids are such exuberant pet owners, in fact, that I am shocked that I have never heard the cat hiss and that she has not clawed either one. She's a good cat.  I hope she isn't terminally ill.

Speaking of which, she came to us with the name, "Callie,"  just like our last doomed cat. I immediately suggested that my daughter rename her.  She is now Lolly, the same name my daughter gives most of her dolls and imaginary friends.

May she have nine very long lives.

No comments:

Post a Comment