A few years ago, I posted this message on Facebook:
“I am not a cat person. I am thinking of getting a cat.”
Well, truth be told I had not ever been much of an animal person, or at least so I thought.
Bailey, my youngest son’s half-Collie-half-Golden Retriever, lived out the last of his fifteen years under my roof.
Bailey and I had this quiet comfortable roommate thing going on. And then very sadly he was gone.
It has been several years now. It is Bailey I miss. That particular golden-haired member of my household. Bailey who was afraid of soda cans and squeaky toys. Bailey who I used to drag around the block on a leash. Bailey, the dog who barely knew his name.
But with Bailey’s departure, I rediscovered some of the creature comforts of living alone.
After work, I could go wherever I pleased. No need to rush home. On rainy mornings, I could stay dry in my pajamas. No need to get drenched outdoors. Wardrobe wise, I could wear black and no longer needed to stash lint rollers all over my house and in my car. No vet bills. No boarding costs. I was free as a bird!
But I would still get a little misty eyed whenever I thought about Bailey.
So, I realized I did miss having a dog, or something like a dog!
Tempted by a rebound relationship, I almost adopted a little Bichon Frise puppy named “Posh.” But someone else rescued him before I got there.
Disappointed, my desire for a dog went up like a puff of smoke. Faded in the blink of an eye.
But lots of my friends kept encouraging me to get a four-footed companion.
“Get a cat. They are so easy!
“A cat to keep you warm!”
So, I surfed the animal shelter sites online looking for a cat. Maybe a cat would be a better fit.
And on Facebook, I posted:
“I am not a cat person. I am thinking of getting a cat. Please, advise.”
And friends I did not even know were friends commented. There was no shortage of replies:
- Adopt a kitten.
- No, kittens tear up your house.
- Adopt a rescue cat.
- Adopt a two year-old cat, already housebroken.
- No, adopt an old cat.
- Adopt a black cat because they get left behind.
- No, adopt a special needs cat.
- A deaf cat, a blind cat.
- Better yet, get two cats. To keep each other company (Uh, aren’t two cats twice as expensive as one?)
- Or, adopt a Maine Coon Cat, it’s almost like a dog!
- Or a British Short Hair, an Alice in Wonderland cat!
- Or maybe, just take my cat.
- No, for heavens’ sake just get a kitten. So cute. So cuddly.
Hmmm, this was way more complicated than I thought and I was pretty sure my answer was no, until I visited the Fairfax City Humane Society. And there I fell in love with two little orange tabby, ginger kittens. I named them Cheshire and Charlie and brought them home.
And now four years in, I have made at least, a hundred trips to PetSmart for:
Litter boxes, litter, and litter box liners. Dry food, canned food, and cat food dishes. A cat carrier and a pet gate. Cardboard scratching things for every room in my house, cat toys, a cat bed, and catnip spray. Don’t-pee-here spray and don’t-scratch-there spray. Cat collars and cat-proof trash cans.
I’ve spent about a bazillion dollars. Give or take a few. It’s all been worth it..The world forever seems coming apart. I wish I could save it — but of course, I can’t. So, I decided to save Cheshire and Charlie. It’s the very least I could do.
So, I am now a certified “certifiable” cat lady.
It’s like living with drunk acrobats in my condo. Cheshire has spider-man-like tendencies and literally climbs the walls and windows. Charlie, is a hunter par excellence, who ferociously tears up toilet paper rolls.
They are hysterical. Cheshire and Charlie bring a spark of life into my everyday existence.
And I bet your animals and pets do the same. Raise your hand if you have a cat! Raise your hand if you have a dog! Raise your hand if you have a bird! Raise your hand if you have some fish! Raise your hand if you have a snake or a lizard! Raise your hand if you have stuffed toy animals of any kind!
And this is how God intended it to be.
“It is not good for the human to be alone…”
So out of the ground the Lord God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air and brought them to the human to see what he would call them; and whatever the human called every living creature, that was its name. The human gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every animal of the field…”
Feathered friends. Furry friends. Some slimy and scaly, too. Some that go “moo.”
And, of course, God made metaphorical Adam and Eve, human friends too.
To walk alongside us. Fall asleep in our laps. Chew up our shoes. Raid the trash. Wag their tails. Bark at the robbers. Catch the rats. Scratch the furniture. Make us laugh.
On the Feast of Saint Francis, let us give thanks for —
All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
the Lord God made them all.
The Rev. Joani Peacock, Editor for Emmanuel Voices: A Parish Blog