Wednesday, October 7, 2009


They say that pets are wonderfully therapeutic.  On what planet?  In my world, they provide nothing but stress.

When the kids were little I tried all kinds of pets.  In those days I believed some good might come of them.  Every attempt was a disaster.  We tried Cats, most of which drove Sweetie nuts for countless reasons.  One wouldn't shut up, another barfed on the rug, repeatedly, another had mange or something.  Eventually, she, who brought them home, made me find another home for them.  We tried Dogs, Sweetie hated the way they mournfully looked at her when she wouldn't give them her full attention.  We tried Hedgehogs; not warm and fuzzy enough.  We tried Chinchillas, which were warm and fuzzy, but didn't like to be cuddled.  We tried an Iguana, whose only redeeming quality was that finally I was more handsome than somebody.  We tried parakeets who taught us all about death and loss.  We thought Zebra Finches were cute and at first their little beeps were charming.  We found out you can only take so many beeps.  We tried rabbits and I shudder to even describe the disaster that was, poor things.  One of our many Easter Bunnies, gave birth on Easter.  She came to us in a family way.  And we thought we could avoid that by getting only one. I have a couple of rabbits now, but I don't see them as pets, but rather as food storage.

Then there were the turtles.  We started with three little dime store Sliders.  I couldn't imagine they were happy in that little dish with the palm tree sticking out.  I made an elaborate aquarium/terrarium, stocked it with frog's eggs and installed the turtles.  The eggs hatched.  The turtles dined voraciously on polliwogs, got spoiled, refused to eat anything else and died.  Furious, I became an expert on turtles.  Eventually, I had five species and up to a dozen, thriving, healthy turtles.  The local Vet sent all sick turtles to me.  I was a good Turtle Doctor.  Once recovered, most owners didn't want them back.  For a long time, I thought Turtles were the perfect pet.  They weren't much trouble, kept quiet, were fascinating to watch, didn't mind being ignored, didn't eat much, didn't shed, and stayed where I put them.  Eventually, I tired of them though and closed up shop on that project too. I closed that episode, convinced that owning nature was criminal, unsatisfying and no longer for me.

Then our little Caboose came along.  She begged for a pet and eventually we got her a Cat which we neutered and tagged and all the legal, ethical and expensive nonsense which that entails.  He was handsome and well behaved.  He was quiet.  I was tempted to love him, but he sheds 24/7/365.  I can't stand to be near him.  Everyone else steers clear too.  Cat fur everywhere.  Gag.  To keep him company the gals brought home a female kitten, which we also eventually neutered and tagged.  That one has a great coat and hardly sheds at all, but she's looney and won't hold still to be petted or to just sit in your lap.  Instead of keeping Nolly, the male, company, she teases and pesters him to distraction.  Itty Bitty, the female, came crazy, Nolly grew that way.

So now I live with two neurotic cats.  They wake me in the night to let them out.  They can't decide if they're coming or going.  I shudder to think of the hours of sleep they've cost me over the years.  Everybody protests when I suggest we get rid of them.  Go figure, nobody even notices they exist.  I wouldn't either if I could sleep through their caterwauling.

I grew up in a day when you drowned unwanted creatures like these, or you hauled them off somewhere and dropped them off, or you clubbed them with a shovel and buried them some place.  Now-a-days, people get arrested for such things.  I know, I see those, scary TV shows where armed police arrest people for such things.  Who wants to go to jail for animal cruelty.  Why can't there be laws that prosecute cats for human cruelty for crying out loud!  After all, in a human/feline relationship, who really owns who?  Who is really in charge?

And so I suffer, and wait, and hope.  I see dead cats in the road all the time.  Hope rises within me, but they're never mine.

1 comment:

Booklogged said...

I laugh, but only to keep myself from crying. Wish you could sleep through them like I do.

I know who people who really love their cats and dogs, but that's not me, either.

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