That was one of the few things my grandmother and I agreed upon over the years. She had gone for a long while without pets, and I recall coming over to the house for Friday pizza night and my parents announced that my grandmother had adopted a kitten. Pepper was a lovely companion for my grandmother for many years, and it pained her greatly when Miss P had to go on to her great reward. Knowing the importance of pets – not just pets – animal companions – my mother scheduled a trip out to Arizona for the specific purpose of helping my grandmother find another kitty cat. As it turned out, my grandmother found Miss Kitty the week before my Mom went out there. (Sometimes I think Miss Kitty and Carmen share some very specific “I should be the only one here, so fuck you” DNA.)
My pets bring me so much joy and happiness and serenity. Most of the time. And then there are nights like this evening where they are all just batshit crazy. Don’t get me wrong – I would genuinely be lost if I didn’t have my two feline velociraptors and my canine triceratops. (Even as I type this, Carmen is tapping my leg for the go-ahead to jump on my lap for a cuddle. Then she changed her mind, jumped up on the cat shelf and headed for the fireplace mantel. I helped her get back down.)
But occasionally, I can come up with a list of things that people do without pets…
– Cook spaghetti sauce without a dog twirling between their legs waiting for something to fall. (Or a culinary minded feline.)
– Never have to tell a dog that the cat shelf isn’t actually eating the cat.
– Never have to put one cat on Prozac because she is so insanely protective of her sister cat that she will shred your foot when she thinks sister cat is in danger. (Especially when said sister cat is in no danger and is just clumsy as all get out.)
– Read a book without a cat landing on it.
– Take a nap without a cat suddenly landing on your bladder.
– Not having to check your clothes for cat hair if you’re going out of the house for an important appointment.
Yes, my pets have tested my patience in the past 24 hours. Barking, running, taunting, jumping, and stampeding have all been a part of the day. But the day has also included cuddling, using-me-as-a-yoga-stand (Mox), snuggling, and purring. And lots of my talking to them as though they could understand me, and their making all kinds of noises as though I could understand them. And those bits are worth so very much.
My grandmother was right. I really don’t know what I would do without them.