Sometimes people ask me why I own cats. Why?
Because I can’t own a sloth.
No, but really, even if I owned a sloth, I would still have cats, because how precious is this?
Really, I have two cats because they keep me company and they keep me entertained. They may drain my wallet a bit, but I really think that they’re worth it. My cats are worth the 3am wake up calls, the scratches, the endless amount of fur on all of my work clothes, and the terrible smell wafting from the litter boxes, though my new Litter Genie thingy has definitely reduced that. Yay birthday presents!
My first cat, Licorice, was an “illegal” dorm cat from my senior year of college. I didn’t go into senior year planning on getting a cat, but it just happened. Two of the Honesty Time bros, Lori and Kaely, got a cat for their quad and then I just couldn’t get the idea out of my head. Nothing would have made my dorm room more complete than a little cat chasing around my yarn while I try to knit.
Of course what really ended up happening was that I abandoned all knitting projects and all yarn became cat toys.
The beginning of my senior year was a little rough. I had a breakup and even worse, a lot of different health problems that resulted in hives from the top of my head to the soles of my feet, among other problems. Due to the fact that my body actually thinks that I’m an octogenarian, this made me sick for almost the entirety of my first semester. I was on antibiotics, stomach medicine, steroids to counteract the first round of antibiotics which I was severely allergic to, more antibiotics, and a steady course of Motrin and Benadryl. I needed a little emotional support from a cuddly creature when my friends weren’t around or when I was stuck in bed.
Enter Licorice. I went to the animal shelter and looked at every cat except Licorice. Every time I went into the visiting room to meet with a potential cat, my roommates and I would see little black paws reaching under the door, begging for attention. That was Licorice, choosing me before I got the chance to choose her.
The little scamp stole my heart when I saw her running around and ninja-ing her way all around the cattery. She also sat with us and drooled on our jeans for the longest time. Sold.
Her first night in the quad was terrible. She ran around and screamed the entire night. We quickly found out that she did better confined to one room. Every night I would move the litter box either into my room or my quadmate’s room and shut the door and she would be perfectly content. It took a few months, but eventually she was ok with having access to both my bedroom and the bathroom. However, those first few nights were so rough that I almost considered returning her to the shelter.
I’m so glad that I didn’t.
Even though she sometimes doesn’t make it to the litter box in time, and sometimes she scratches the furniture, and sometimes she still wakes me up at 3am, and sometimes she dumps a full glass of water over an electrical outlet, I still feel that adopting this little stray was the best decision that I have ever made.
I am often sick, and when I get sick, I tend to be ill for quite some time, like I said. Licorice knows when this happens and she never leaves my side. In college, she would sit on my night table all night so that she could be as close to my face as possible, as if she wanted to make sure I was still breathing. When I herniated two discs and pulled the muscles in my back while student teaching (carrying sewing machines and PARS/ERS/Fresnels can be dangerous, kiddies), she sat next to me and kept me company.
She also does funny things that keep me ridiculously entertained. Just the other day she was bird watching out of my bedroom window and getting all excited as the birds were landing in the bush by the window. Finally, she could take it no more, and launched herself at the bird. Except the window was closed and she totally bonked her nose right on the glass.
If I had returned her, I wouldn’t have been giving her a fair chance. Cats and people need to make it through the adjustment period before we can be certain if we made the right choice. I ended up volunteering at the shelter where I found Licorice for over a year. I would always be saddened when people would adopt a cat, and then return him or her the next day because they weren’t willing to have an “adjustment period.”
However, there are some people out there who wait, for weeks, months, maybe even years, for their cat to adjust to their home. Sometimes it never happens. What should you do then? Maybe you should look for a better home for your cat instead of neglecting her for 6 years and letting her get no play, exercise, or love while she’s tormented by the other animals in the house. All after you declaw her, of course. And then you decide to give her up at a shelter because you hated her lack of personality.
I’ll get off of my soap box, but I feel strongly about all of this. Why? Because that’s part of the story of how I got my second cat, Jasmine. But that’s for another day.
Sorry, that absolutely just turned into one of those Sarah McLachlan commercials. I’ll try not to do that again. It’ll probably happen though. So, let’s look at more cat pictures in order to get “Angel” out of heads, because I know we’re all thinking of it now.