It’s no secret that I would rather not have a pet. It’s not that I don’t like animals, but I like my house to be clean and I don’t like to have to clean it – just not do-able in a house with children and adding pets doesn’t seem like it will be a big help. Still periodically my husband and I have the big talk.
“Honey, I feel like we’re really bad parents because we don’t have a pet,” I say.
My husband says, “me too."
Then he goes on to say, he wouldn’t mind getting a dog and I say that’s the worst possible pet I can think of (aside from rodents or birds or reptiles or fish) and I suggest a cat and my husband says no he’s not that crazy about cats anymore. Then one day he saw a cat video and sighed, “Cats are so cool.”
“I know,” I said, “Did you change your mind?”
And he said yes. So we discussed at length how we would practically remodel our house so the cat would have a good space, be able to get fresh air when he wants, have a litter box somewhere that wouldn’t make me hate him and so on. My husband overhauled the garage, we discussed all the things we’d need to buy at the store, etcetera. We were excited – we had a cat before we had kids and we loved her so much that once when we spent a weekend in San Diego we left her a message on the answering machine – in case she was lonely.
We took the kids to a no-kill shelter and as we were walking around looking at the (literally) hundreds of cats living in cages there, out of the blue and apropos of nothing J announced loudly, “Our cat used to scratch us so she had to die.”
My husband and I looked at each other with raised eye brows first wondering what the hell he was talking about and also trying to hold in our laughter.
From that moment on a large older woman in Birkenstocks wearing cat broaches and cat earrings and cat bobby-pins began following us around and finally said (essentially) we are simply not good enough people to rescue a homeless cat who is otherwise destined to live out his miserable existence in a small cage – perhaps we might consider a goldfish.
Which I suppose is just as well – I do have enough daily messes to clean up here, but still.
In the car on the way home we said, “J, Deja didn’t die. She went to live with another family.”
”Oh,” he shrugged. “I didn’t remember.”
“Too bad,” I said so only my husband could hear, “because now you’ll never adopt a cat in this town again.”
And we laughed and laughed. Yes – at our kid’s expense. We know. No wonder people think we’re not fit for pet ownership.
On a positive note, we are still pet-free and it’s not entirely my fault so I’m feeling really good about myself as a mom and at peace with the universe. I mean, I tried, right?