I don’t want a pet. I’m a single man, living in an apartment while I shop for a building to buy so I can build my Dwell-y, lofty dream. I don’t want a pet. I don’t want the responsibility, the expense, anything. I love animals to death, I’ve had pets for most of my life. Just not now. Not now.
I have a pet. Dammit.
Back in June 2009, my then-wife (“E”) called me from outside a PetSmart, where a local shelter had set up their mobile adoption center.
“You need to come down here.”
“To see the most beautiful kitty ever.”
Oh boy. 25% of me said “shit”. But really, 75% smiled a big hearty smile. E’s last cat, Shatzi, had been with her for 19+ years until we had to put her down on 11/1/2007. As many times as I had suggested getting another cat, the answer was no. She wasn’t ready. But on this day, apparently, “we” were ready for pets again. And seriously, were YOU going to say no to this face? I didn’t think so.
But of course, we decided that as two professionals out of the house 9-10+ hours a day, we should probably bring home two. So they could each have a buddy, some company, some socialization. We perused the others and both noticed the same little black-and-white kitty; very alert, very sweet-looking, very playful. Done.
They were indeed the little buddies we’d hoped they’d be. They were terrified of the changes together (for about a day), they explored the new digs together, they groomed each other and played and play-fought and eventually settled into their grand and fortunate circumstances together.
Then Max’s growth started to greatly outpace Tabitha’s. I mean from less than 1 pound each, to 7 and 4, 11 and 7, and so on. Less than a year old and Max was 16 pounds and on a diet. Which was pretty tough to enforce, but we tried. Not effectively, I must admit.
E and I split in the summer of 2010, and she got the putties. No discussion really – just assumed – and I believe rightly so. I loved those creatures but E was not going to give Tabitha up, and they were just 1½ years old – we didn’t want to split the “siblings” up. I haven’t seen the little shits since August 2010.
Then comes the conversation a couple months ago. Max is beating Tabitha up too much, Tabitha just hides/perches on the highest bookshelf where Max can’t get her. Oh, did I mention Max is 22 pounds?!
[box] To flashback to when we were all a family… Max was my little puppykitty. He followed me everywhere, and I could actually call him. A cat — that could be called. He was my sidekick. And sure enough, Tabitha was E’s little girl. Maybe not as responsive, being a SIAMESE PRINCESS and all, but still… while Max was with me, Tabitha was with E. If you knew us, and you ever met the cats, it’s so hilariously obvious. The graceful beauty and the big brute. [/box]
I had to do some soul-searching (and landlord texting), but really, what choice did I have? E and I are responsible for these two creatures. By her observation, Tabitha’s quality of life was suffering due to Max’s aggressiveness. Max was my boy; if I took him back maybe he could be again, and at the same time Tabitha could flourish. Less than 3 years old and she’s hiding from her brother, or at least avoiding him when he’s being aggressive? Not acceptable, and I need to do my part.
So… I have myself a fat cat. E brought him over tonight, and it went pretty well. He hid under my bed for about 5 minutes while he collected himself, then began the exploring/sniffing of every single square inch of the place. It’s what they do. He knows where the litter and food are. He comes over to me for scritches when he wants reassurance. He has a hiding spot already that I keep busting. He won’t need it for long anyway. I won’t allow it. Welcome to your new life. And mine.
As E left, there were tears. We won’t talk about who was sad about what.
But welcome to Troy, Max. I think you’ll like it here. Your mom and sister are always free to visit. Also, you can’t cheat on your diet any more by stealing your sister’s food. We will get you down to a better weight. Considering you are all muscle, I suspect our target is 18 to 19 pounds, because you certainly aren’t fat. Big-boned, we’ll call it.
This will be an adjustment, but better for everyone. I really think so. Meantime, E will monitor Tabitha, I will monitor Max, and if there are any signs of separation distress we will reassess the situation. I don’t see how the need would arise, but if he has to go back, he goes back. I think Tabitha will be better off for this, and Max will be fully adapted by tomorrow. Just a hunch.