By David Glenn Cox
Seeing how it’s Friday and getting near Christmas and all, I will overlook Republican sedition for today in favor of a lighter subject matter. My cat recently passed away. We’d been together ten years and they had said she was ten, when I rescued her. So obviously, I’ve been out of the cat market for over a decade. We had such good luck with an older cat, that I sought to rescue another as a tribute to my fallen friend.
I spoke to the people at the local animal rescue at Petsfart. They had just a few display kitties they’d brought along with them for display purposes only, lest you think they were peddling ferrets. They had the cats decentralized in foster homes, which is a good thing. Keeping them out of cages and out of the range of barking dogs in a shelter. If a cat knows there’s a strange dog in the building, they can’t relax. Could you relax with a terrorist or commando in the next room? “Oh, don’t worry. He’s not coming in here.”
But the flip side is I must now make an appointment to meet a cat. Visit and be allowed inside someone’s private home. Take a bath, cut my nails and wear a collared shirt for Pete’s sake, you’re going to visit a cat! But all cats are not created equal they have distinct personalities. They like the status quo, and they don’t like change. Why would a contented cat comfortable in a private home, think a stranger nosing about is anything but trouble? A wise cat would stay away, lest they be snatched away into the darkness.
What must they think? They can’t understand a rescue or a foster home. “Anyone seen Frankie lately? I’ve been looking all over for him, and he’s just gone!” Sooner or later, it gets us. Happened to Jimmy and Buttercup and Snowball. Oh sure, it looks like a nice place man. But you better sleep with one eye open around here bro. There’s a lot of strange disappearances going on around here. One day they pet you and feed you. The next and you’re…gone.
Now if our eyes meet and we begin to fall in love then we begin the marriage contract. I fill out paperwork and apply for routine visitation. Then they come to inspect my house. It’s not that I mind really; I understand. You gotta check these things out. But it’s the idea of cleaning up for the cat. Not that my house is messy, it’s not. It’s just idea of being scrutinized, what’s disqualifying for cat ownership? Sorry, but that bathtub ring was disgusting!
If I’d been on an episode of “Hoarders”, would I have applyed for a cat ownership through a shelter? But I understand, I had a guy apply for credit once who had literally never paid back a loan in his life. Everyone who had ever extended him credit regretted it. But he filled out the application, I guess just to see how stupid he thought I was.
These foster homes by necessity only have a few kitties per location. That’s a stressful situation to be put in. I don’t want to come into your home and declare your kitties insufficient or somehow lacking. Its about bonding and either it’s there or it isn’t. It’s a one-sided relationship if the cat is content, and I am the only one wanting!
I looked at the Petsfart kitties, but I’m suspect about a cat from a chain store. They might have been from their mother’s sixteenth litter. It’s sometimes better not to know the background than to fear their background. Sell more kitties, stock price rises, end of story.
I looked on Craigslist for the good old-fashioned “Free Kittens” sign that used to be nailed up on the telephone poles. Now they want a donation. I didn’t get your cat pregnant, so I’m not paying you child support. “I see you have six kittens; would you like to try for seven cats?” I’ve had both kittens and puppies to rehome of over the years. Free is a good price, if you’re going to give them a good home.
I take the responsibility of getting the pet neutered, vaccinated, and examined. In the end, it would cost me more than the shelter, or the pet store and you want a donation? Some the cleaver ones, leave out the mention of price altogether. Hoping as you hold a purring fuzz ball, you won’t mind letting go of a few bucks. Especially, if there’s a kid standing there in the doorway with tears in her eyes.
My last kitty jumped into my wife’s lap at the shelter and asked, “Where’s the box? When do we leave?” We’d looked a dozen kitties before this one picked us out. They’d shaved most of her hair on one side where they had removed a fatty tumor. She was a black longhair shaved to the skin on one side with a black scar down her side. She was our Punk Rock kitty, and she was perfect.
The shelter couldn’t believe their good fortune. Lines of cute kittens and here we were taking one off the scratch and dent shelf. They were so grateful to unload this kitty, they all but gave her to us. They gave us a carrier and some food and would have given us a ride home, if we had asked. Our rock bottom discount kitty, no warranty. As is.
Freeing her from her cage, she investigated our apartment in the upstairs of a century home in rural Ohio. After checking all nooks and crannies, she deemed it acceptable and laid down in the center of living room for an acceptance nap. As she napped, her tail swished. Upset at the change in her surroundings. Each day swishing noticeably less, until it was just an occasional small bump on the floor.
We had a widow’s walk that allowed her access to the roof. She would prowl the roof line like a Commodore browsing the fleet. Sometimes she would sit on the peek of the roof, like she ruled the world. Sometimes watching the moon, sometimes peeking in our bedroom window, curious to see where that window goes.
I’m looking for a new friend and it’s not about money or paperwork or checking under my couch for dust bunnies. It’s about a connection, a cat that will jump in my lap and say, “Let’s go home! I’m hungry! You look a little goofy, but you’ll do!”
That’s the way with a cat, you know — any cat; they don’t give a damn for discipline. And they can’t help it, they’re made so. But it ain’t really insubordination, when you come to look at it right and fair — it’s a word that don’t apply to a cat. A cat ain’t ever anybody’s slave or serf or servant, and can’t be — it ain’t in him to be. And so, he don’t have to obey anybody. He is the only creature in heaven or earth or anywhere that don’t have to obey somebody or other, including the angels. It sets him above the whole ruck, it puts him in a class by himself. He is independent. You understand the size of it? He is the only independent person there is. In heaven or anywhere else. There’s always somebody a king has to obey — a trollop, or a priest, or a ring, or a nation, or a deity or what not — but it ain’t so with a cat. A cat ain’t servant nor slave to anybody at all. He’s got all the independence there is, in Heaven or anywhere else, there ain’t any left over for anybody else. He’s your friend, if you like, but that’s the limit — equal terms, too, be you king or be you cobbler; you can’t play any I’m-better-than-you on a cat — no, sir! Yes, he’s your friend, if you like, but you got to treat him like a gentleman, there ain’t any other terms. The minute you don’t, he pulls freight. – Mark Twain