Thursday, July 27, 2006

Cats



Kevin and I often go to the SPCA to play with the cats. We sit in this big, smelly room full of cat hair covered cushions and blankets, while these poor mewing animals that are starved for affection crawl all over us. I can stand it for about an hour until I begin to sneeze, and then the cats run for cover-and me for cat-free space.

It's pretty ironic that I'm allergic to the only animal that I really would love to have for a pet. We have considered other pets-John is allergic to birds, the landlords have forbidden dogs, reptiles are far too work intensive, and rodents...well...we haven't warmed up to that idea.

I was fortunate enough to have a cat as a child, during my pre-allergy days. When I was 11 I decided that I must have a pet and began the bargaining process with my parents. They said no at first, until I pulled out the heavy artillery and literally begged. I even wrote a sob story letter about how I must have a cat and what it meant to me. They of course saved it and read it at my wedding 11 years later. They finally broke down, and I was allowed to get my cat. Mom hated the cat I chose. She thought he was ugly, with a big head and tiny body. I thought he was the cutest thing ever-bright yellow green eyes, dark grey coat with black stripes. It wasn't his looks that I fell in love with though, it was his personality. From the first time I saw him, he came right to me, sat in my lap and then sat looking at me. It was like he was saying, "take me home, please." And so I did.

My sweet loveable kitten turned out to be a holy terror. He shredded Mom's drapes, knocked over a Christmas tree, chewed on a Thanksgiving turkey left on the table, ate holes in a wool sweater for my uncle, and would gallop through the kitchen like a herd of elephants when it was about to rain. My parents hated him. Of course, I loved him. He was also the kind of cat that craved affection and wasn't aloof, like my sister's cat. He'd sit in your lap or beside you on the couch, sleep on your bed, and run to greet you. You'd be reading a book and he'd casually walk over and plop himself right down directly ON the book and look at you as if to say, "Oh-were you reading that? I think you should be paying some attention to ME." As I got older, he was my best friend. Boys would come over to watch a movie and Nermal would wedge himself between us, ears flattened back as if to say..."Beat it punk, she's MINE." The last days I spent at home before I moved to the city, he slept right beside my pillow and wouldn't let me out of his sight, as if he knew I was going. A year after I left, my parents gave him to new owners. I couldn't take him, and it wouldn't be fair to keep him in a tiny apartment when he was used to roaming around in the bush.

Kevin has often begged for a pet, and as much as I want to okay the cat, I know I may not be able to live with it. So we visit the SPCA and he sits in the middle of the floor with cats of all shapes and colors crawling on him while he whispers and pets them. Dogs are too hyper, he says. Give me a cat that will sit in my lap and purr. I really wish I could-he doesn't know how much I'd love to take one of those bright eyed, furry little creatures home. Unfortunately, it's not to be and in the meantime, the SPCA will just have to do.

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