So I am officially crazy. Or have gone crazy. Or maybe I was there already.
Yeah, I think that’s it.
Because in this tiny house lives two humans, two dogs, probably a million spiders, a couple mice I’m sure, and now, two cats.
Well, kittens for now, but someday too soon they will become cats. And that is the problem with kittens.
But I needed them. You know, because of the alleged mice. And they are supposed to be barn cats. When I entered into this agreement with the previous possessors of the kittens, this was the plan. Out to the barn.
Well…they have been here for two weeks, living wild, bouncing off furniture, hanging from the curtains, running from the pug, jumping on the pug, scratching at the carpet, and today I caught one on the inside of my partially open window, making his merry little way up the screen. Yes, they have been here, in all their grey striped, fur-ball, squeaky, jumpy, frantic and dare I say charming and completely loveable ways…and they have yet to see the inside of that barn.
See I claim to be a dog person and have stood my ground on this for a long enough time, but here, friends, is my confession. I am not a dog person. I am not a cat person. I am not a hamster person. I am just a plain, downright, head over heals, stupidly obsessed, animal person.
And the proof is in my colorful past spent catching, finding, taming and raising ridiculous creatures. Yes, I had the occasional cow puppy who I would take over and try to train to do everything but chase cows (which turns out to be the only things cow dogs are really good at, besides eating poop). I had pups that bit my little sister’s ankles, pups that never learned to fetch and pups that would come and lick my face when I would try to get them to pull me on my sled. I even had a runt puppy that made it into an elementary school play dressed in a tutu.
Of course there were horses (although we don’t really consider them pets), and the occasional bottle-fed calf that would be fun and cute until it was big enough to escape the fence and chase me home, nudging and knocking me over as I ran for my life doing everything it could to get the last drop of milk out of the bottle I stupidly still clenched in my hands. No, I was not his mother, but I could never convince the calf of that.
But my love for the non-human did not end with my furry friends. No, I did not discriminate. I spent much of my childhood searching for and trying to capture frogs and salamanders living in the creeks behind our house. I also had a couple of pet turtles that had brief stays in mom’s crock pot (for a cage, not for soup) and one snake our hired man found in the yard.
And then there were the lizards. All six of them. The kind that would change from brown to green. So cool. No, I didn’t have all six at once, just one unfortunate lizard soul at a time, each one a replacement for the previous lizard that died a mysterious death before; each death a little blow to my tender, animal loving heart and each death over analyzed:
“Perhaps it was the giant wasp I tried to feed him?”
“Maybe it was the cat?” (those damn cats)
“Maybe it was old age, I mean how do you tell the age of a lizard? That must be it.”
“Maybe mom shouldn’t have left the terrarium out in the sun on a 90 degree day while I was away at Bible Camp (and then try to trick me with a replacement lizard. I was at Bible Camp for crying out loud!)”
Oh, and I almost forgot about the baby goat, Filipe, who wasn’t really mine, but a baby…errr…goat sitting project during Christmas break when I was eleven. Nevertheless, I put him in diapers and took photos of him under the Christmas tree.
Anyway, all of these critter experiences were little lessons for me about death and self-control and frustration management and the fact that it is a miracle if you can get anything to listen to you (especially when it comes to pulling you in a sled), you bring it home, you feed it and life generally doesn’t turn out as planned.
Hence the cats.
Oh, we had cats when we were growing up too, but I try to blame that on my sisters, especially when I reveal to those who show any kind of interest all of the incredibly random names we gave them…I mean, we had a cat named Belly who had kittens that we respectfully named Button (get it?) and Head. Really not quite sure about that one.
But the truth is, I really loved cats too. So much so that when I was in diapers, and had yet to learn my own strength, I would pick up the kittens my grandma would bring in from the barn (where they are supposed to live) and love them so much that, unsupervised, I would literally squeeze them until they puked.
I wouldn’t believe this either, but unfortunately I was born after cameras were invented.
Anyway, luckily I have grown up into a non-sadistic, animal loving adult (I am sure my parents were worried there for a bit) and I haven’t squeezed these kitties to death yet. I think I can control myself. But I am not sure what I am going to do about the four animals in the house thing. I am eating my words for making fun of my sister for her four cats. I am not sure who is crazier here.
But they have made their home. They have found their little nooks and crannies and favorite blankets to curl up on. They chase each other around the coffee table, they purr when I pick them up. They lick my toes. They dart around after little glints of light and bask in the sunspots that shine through the windows.
Even the pug loves them, although it might be because they are so good at hide and seek, but he is appreciative enough to let them have his spot on the couch and that is serious business. And the lab doesn’t mind as long as they leave his tail alone.
So what’s a girl like me to do? I am an adult now and know better, but the truth is, these animals I surround myself with make me feel…
…calm on a crazy day and crazy on a morning when I’m running late and one of them puked…frustrated when all of my screams will not succeed in getting the lab to cease in chasing after the deer he will never catch…completely enthusiastic about inanimate objects like sticks and Frisbees…absolutely disgusted when what goes in must come out–on the living room floor…totally relaxed on a winter’s evening with a good book and a fur ball at my feet…absolutely loved when I come home to slobbery, jumping, balls of energy who couldn’t be happier in any other moment….and human for knowing that no matter what, these are just animals and they will never be able to tell me if my ass does indeed look big in these jeans.
So I think I’ll keep those kitties in the house a while longer, if only to make up for the ones I may have squeezed too hard. Besides, they need a few more good meals before they go out on their big mouse hunt…you know, in the barn…