I always wanted a kitten.
I grew up in a pet-free household – sorry “Sunshine the Goldfish” that my brother overfed and you died, but you don’t count cause you weren’t furry and soft.
I thought that when I left home I would finally get myself something alive to cuddle (that doesn’t talk back).
One Thursday morning in 1995, with the moral support of an animal-friendly boyfriend, six-week old Princess came to live with me. We were best friends for about two years until I moved home briefly, and a friend asked if she could adopt her.
I was petless for about 6 months. By then I had moved out and was living in a big old house with four roommates. They encouraged me to adopt another kitten. This time, feisty 3 month old Jake came home from the Humane Society with me. I loved him, and he loved me and my roommates… and all the action in the house. So, when I moved out to a one-bedroom apartment, he was angry and bit my toes all night long for months. Again, when a friend with other cats offered to adopt him, I accepted.
The next 4 years were too nomadic to be pet-friendly. And then I moved in with Derek.
At first I was sad that my husband didn’t want any animals. He grew up with retrievers, and though he claims he likes dogs, he has a strong desire to avoid the responsibility of a pet.
But when I want something, I persist. I kept suggesting that once we were married and in our own home, we would get a sharpei (he thinks they are the cutest breed so I tried to go with that). I planned and researched and made timelines.
But then I stopped.
And I decided to have babies.
I put the dog plan on hold and started planning and researching conception (it was very romantic).
And now, five years later, the desire for an animal friend has disappeared. It vanished out the window of the delivery room the day my first son was born. It hasn’t returned. When I see a woman walking with a stroller and a dog it makes me feel sorry for her, though I’m sure she doesn’t feel sorry for herself; it’s just me projecting. It’s the same way I feel when I see a very pregnant woman. She might feel great, but I think of how I would feel in her shoes and I get a very queasy, somewhat grossed out feeling. I think it means I don’t want any more babies. But I digress.
I don’t want pets anymore because my boys are like little kittens.
They are cuddly and soft, but on their own cat-like terms. They play-fight together and it’s cute until they aren’t playing anymore and one is screaming and clawing. They scratch me out of excitement and sometimes out of frustration (can you give a kitten a time out?). They beg for treats. They love chasing balls. They love milk (one does anyway). They are cute. They need regular feedings and waterings. They are borne of the same parents but they have different colouring. They like watching Tweety Bird. They can be naughty but I forgive them when they look at me a certain way.
They sit on the couch watching movies and inch closer to each other until they are cuddled up together. They give me unconditional love (to this point), and I give it back.
Maybe when they are stinky pubescent boys I’ll get a dog, but for now, I’m good.