Now ten years old, the cat spends most of her day napping under the bed or shedding in my favorite chair. So it makes sense that my daughter wants a cute, playful kitten.
“I like kittens, too,” I say. “But they grow up so fast.” Kind of like kids—only faster. Plus I explain it would be twice the litter to scoop and twice the hairballs to clean. Like all starry-eyed children, my daughter offers to do all of the work. I do not fall for these empty promises. So she gets out a piece of paper and writes “Dear Santa.” She looks up at me, “Mom, how do you spell ‘real kitten’?”
Uh-oh. Will this be the year Santa disappoints her? Maybe another kitten wouldn’t be much more trouble. But then I remember. We’ve been a two-cat household before. We had a crazy calico that used to bite for no reason. I cried when I realized she couldn’t stay once we had a baby. Then my husband fed a starving stray on our back porch. We refused to name the black feline, calling her simply Kitty-kitty. Eventually I caved and took her to the vet for her vaccinations. I resented the hassle of feeding two cats—one inside and one outside. Then one day Kitty-kitty howled and started acting strange. I had no idea she’d soon die in our backyard. I cried and cried. Why hadn’t I realized something was terribly wrong?
That’s the thing about pets. You love them, but eventually they make you cry. Maybe it’s not just the hassle I want to avoid, but also the heartache. All of these memories make me realize I should appreciate what I have. Suddenly I wonder where Romeo is hiding so I can scratch behind her ears. I just love it when she purrs. . . .
(Please do not take this as an invitation to drop off any kittens on my doorstep!)
If you enjoy a story that warms you like the love of a good pet, you’ll appreciate On the Verge, where a husband’s head injury leads him to bring home a puppy and buy a house without talking to his new wife. Available on Amazon for $2.99.
For a chance to win an autographed copy of What Happiness Looks Like, click here.
CAST YOUR VOTE: Are two cats better than one?