Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Standing In

We are cat-sitting.



We are not currently pet owners, for no other reason than I don’t really like having pets.

The reason is two-fold.  First, I don’t really believe in keeping animals solely for my own pleasure.  I sort of feel bad for the pets.  They can’t talk to anyone or go to the store or meet friends for lunch.  There’s no Cat’s Night Out on Thursday nights.  They don’t decide where to go on vacation.   They can’t play the lottery or shop for clothing.  They can’t drive or fall in love or go to school.  They don’t even know who Jimmy Fallon is.

We also don’t have pets because you have to take care of pets.  You have to feed them, make sure they have somewhere to poop and pee, wash them off when they get dirty, and make sure they have what they need when you go away (or take them along with you).  You have to sort of cater to them.  They need you.

They are like children (and husbands) that way.

And I have had enough of that.

Recently I am experiencing the feeling of being unneeded, a feeling that is really apparent this winter because we’ve all been stuck inside together for 624 days.  I putter around the house and put things away.  I fold laundry and make dinner and empty the dishwasher.  I don’t have to.  Anyone else in this house can do these things. 

It’s wholly incredible.

* * *

This cat is cute.  He’s also entertaining.  He stretches languidly, then falls off the piano.  He carries a toy chili pepper around in his mouth.  He sits on a stool at the counter and peeks over the top when I prepare meals.  He prrrps when we fill his bowl with his disgusting food and he naps in the sunlight that pours through the window.  Just looking at him relaxes me.

But he poops in his litterbox immediately after we clean it.  My husband is allergic to his fur.  He continues to walk on all the tables even after we shoo him away.  We are on alert for open doors to the outside or closed doors to the basement where his box is.  He bites our hands when we pet him and he pounces on our feet when we walk by.  He wakes my daughter up at four in the morning by jumping and running and eating her hair.

But we like having him.  I think he likes us.  He’s easy; we’re happy.  It’s a treat to have him.

And he will go home, leaving us without a pet once again.  And I will go back to not really being needed.

Which is just fine.



*******


18 comments:

  1. He looks just like my first cat, Regal. We had to give him (and my other cat, Tiffany) up when my first baby was 2 months old. I just didn't have time/ energy for them anymore - sadly.

    They do dance (or rather, stretch) to their own tune, don't they?

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    1. They sure do. This particular one has a very loud, bitey tune.

      Having kids sure does change the priority in the house, doesn't it? I never could get back to our little dog being the baby when the kids were born. And then we had to put her down, and I never quite forgave myself. Yet another reason why we don't keep pets - losing them is too traumatic. I'm a huge wimp.

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  2. He is pretty!
    We don't have any pets and my daughter really wants a cat. My husband really wants a dog.
    I have never really liked cats and all of the chaos they cause.
    Dogs are pretty much like having kids, in terms of work and money, but I'm more inclined to want a dog because I want to feel needed. I want affection! Not as many cats provide that!

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    1. This cat is okay as far as mischief goes. He's really just a kitten but still pretty sedate. He hasn't knocked over anything valuable - yet. We are keeping him busy so he pretty much sleeps all day, but his being a little nocturnal is hard to take, especially the hair-chewing. Oy.

      I like dogs too, as long as they live in someone else's house. They are like having a two-year-old forever.

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  3. You know, you just gave me a good idea. Our dog is close to the end of the old road, and all of my family except me wants to immediately get another dog. I would prefer to wait a year or so so I can have some recuperation time, but I guess I wouldn't mind foster-parenting a shelter dog now and again. Hmmmmmm. No smelly pooping-indoor cats, though.

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    1. It's a really good idea, I think. I'm no good for the long haul with a pet. There are plenty who need loving homes, though. Or just a place to crash for a few weeks.

      I'm sorry about your dog. :(

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  4. Cats can make you feel needed, on their schedule. I laughed when I read about pooping in a clean litter box. My cat does that, too. Then again, wouldn't you rather be sitting on a clean toilet than a dirty one?

    You experience pet sitting is a lot like my experience with kids: I'll be around them long enough to have fun and play with them, and then as it starts to feel too much like a chore, I give them back. Your exposure to this beautiful kitten is short enough to have fun, yet long enough to realize you don't want one of your own.

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    1. I thought about that with the litter box, too - I'd much rather use a clean bathroom. Cats are pretty smart creatures.

      You hit the nail right on the head with the kid-pet scenario. I also don't want any more kids, but I don't mind being around little ones for a short time.

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  5. Oh, he is sweet! What a lovely kitty! They do grow on you, don't they? Kinda like fungus...

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    1. Thank you Lisa! He is sweet and the kids and I are enamored (the hubs is still wary due to his allergies). Although he kind of has ruined my fantasy of a cat warming up my lap or feet in the afternoons. This cat, he's a busy one. Maybe in a year or two he will learn the art of lap-warming.

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  6. That IS a really pretty cat, but I'm with you on the "no pets" business. I just don't want to have something else to take care of, so for now I will listen to my kids whine and pet the neighbor's dog every time he wanders into my yard, which is often enough.

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    1. You and I are in the minority as non-pet owners. We have a dog parade that runs pretty constantly in our neighborhood, too.

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  7. You're hilarious, Andrea! I have to disagree with you on this one though. I'm an animal lover by nature and have never been without at least one pet. They can be a pain in the ass but the unconditional love is worth it! :)

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  8. I tried to comment on your Olympic post but there was no box (Pass the Depends = SNORT).

    Anyway, yeah pets are a pain in the butt. The kids left the front gate wide open for a long time and Hunter didn't even leave!

    (He didn't leave. That was cute).

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  9. I so know these feelings!

    I *never* would have thought I'd be a smitten pet owner and here I am SMITTEN with our puggle!

    I honestly don't even recognize myself anymore! :)

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