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.