Before you have children you have a tendency to treat your pets like they are people. When Fish was a puppy I had a clear clipboard that I carried everywhere with me at work. I laminated pictures of him to it so they showed through the backside. Everywhere I went people asked me about my sweet dog, and I proudly told them what a wonderful creature he was, even though he was a hellacious, barking, running-away pain in my ass, but I loved him all the same.
Those pictures stayed there until my daughter was born and they were replaced by her baby pictures when I returned to work.
Those friends of mine that have known me for a long time understand the love-hate relationship I have with my cat. Stanley is a mean, cranky old lady. She has been mean and cranky since she was a kitten so this can not be blamed on her age. It is simply her disposition. We tolerate each other. But she was my first cat. The first animal I acquired all on my own. Adopted from the Williamsburg Humane Society prior to my 21st birthday. So we look out for each other. We are family. But I can’t say we are particularly friendly.
The last four-legged member of my family came to me by way of MQD. Since he falls in to the category of “before you have children” that I mentioned earlier (or at least he did before he had me and Em) his Cat is spoiled rotten. To be honest I never imagined myself becoming particularly fond of Cat. In part because Cat is in love with MQD. And MQD is in love with Cat. Add to that my general dislike for cats, and I didn’t see a romance blooming. Somehow I failed to factor in what I sucker I am. Inside of a week of moving in with us, I was smitten. Cat is a fine animal. He is funny. He is loud. He likes to eat. Short of being a great dancer, he’d make a great date. I’m a fan. I admit it.
Cat didn’t win me over to the point that I could say I’m as big a fan as this guy… seen here sleeping with BOTH cats.
All of these introductions, simply, to tell a short story. Last night we got in bed. I was exhausted, for some reason, the reason being it is tiring to throw PMS-y tantrums (highlights including the passive-aggressive “I am NOT cleaning tonight, since I am the only one in this house that even CARES!”) Bless MQD’s heart, he not only let me stomp around and (as he said it so eloquently several hours later) “shoot your mouth off” but he also did the grocery shopping. Returning home with wine and flowers. Come bed time I was tired. But no longer so cranky.
In the hopes of getting a good night’s sleep I executed the last of my new rituals since Fish has moved in with us. I took him upstairs to hit the sack with Emily. It is my fault he thinks that he belongs in a bed when he goes to sleep, as I taught him to spoon when he was a pup. But it’s a crowd in our bed these days. Emily (whose legs do not extend down to the end of her bed) seems a perfect bed-fellow for Fisher. He happily followed me up to her room and jumped on the end of her bed. I turned to leave the room. Tired. In the dark. When WHHOOOSH…. out of the little house in Em’s room runs Cat. Or at least I hoped it was Cat. It was everything I could do not to scream, thereby waking Emily. Deep breath. I return downstairs and hop in to bed. Heart pounding. MQD and I have a giggle about how I interrupted Cat’s secret game of House. Imagining Cat in there with little oven mitts on his paws, making muffins in her little oven. Rocking his “babies” to sleep. We had a good laugh. That kind of laugh you can have right before you close your eyes. And I settled in to fall asleep.
MQD, more amused by the cats than I am generally speaking, is still giggling. Scratch, scratch, scratch. Did I just hear something? I jump up out of bed. “Shhh.” Scratch, scratch, scratch. I open the bottom door to my armoire. “Meooooow.” Not a “Thank you, I was locked in this cabinet where I was napping on Your CLEAN CLOTHES and you have rescued me” meow. More a “I don’t know what the shit took you assholes so long. Out there yukking it up while I was fearing for my life in here” meow. And Stanley saunters out of the armoire.
I get back in bed. Still laughing.
All of this to say…. I am now a person with a kid. And I still think my pets are as funny and charming as people. Telling long drawn out stories about them to anyone that will listen…