"I hope you're not allergic to cats!"
"Don't mind the fur balls!"
"You said I would never have to change the litter box!"
I'm now the person who says these kinds of things. Because we now have a cat.
"We" have been talking about getting a cat for a while because "we" think it is good for our kids to have indoor pets. "We" understand that it'd be way too much to have a dog in our small house, so "we" compromised on a cat. "We" thought about getting a kitten in a breed of our choosing, but "we" eventually came around to the idea of getting a cat from a shelter.
For a correct rendering of history, please replace "we" with "my husband" in every instance of its quoted appearance above.
I was never hugely enthusiastic about the idea of adding another living soul to our menagerie of indoor/outdoor creatures. In the abstract, getting a cat just seemed like another thing to feed and clean up after. But just as I got worn down about the chickens, I slowly and gently folded on this idea as well.
I know, I know. I'm a pushover.
In my defense, the cat is not a dog. It's also not a goat. Yes, indeed. He's also toyed with the idea of getting a goat. Multiple goats, actually. He once even wondered aloud what it'd be like to have an alpaca, and if our town's zoning laws would allow us to keep one in our yard.
I'm not exaggerating. Unfortunately.
So, I've steered us clear of becoming a mini-fairgrounds and repeat town ordinance violators. I've also avoided, for now, the barking, jumping, chasing, yapping activities of a dog. Caving on the cat really was just a strategic matter of survival.
My husband spent serious time on his iPad researching cats, cat ownership, and cat politics. Through those weeks of research, I repeatedly stated that, if we were going to get a cat, I would prefer that it at least be a cat from a shelter. Of all the options on the table, rescuing a cat that needed a home had an added appeal to it...at least for me.
He protested wildly that adopting a cat would be like giving up control: we wouldn't necessarily get the breed we wanted, and we'd be at the mercy of whatever psychological effects the cat was suffering from its previous 9-X lives. I kept making my case, but in quieter, more subdued tones, as I internally resigned myself to the fact we were getting whatever cat my husband decided he wanted.
Then we went to a Christmas party on Friday night, my husband talked for a few minutes with a friend who'd rescued a cat, and that night my husband realized WHAT A GREAT IDEA IT'D BE TO GET ADOPT A SHELTER CAT!
Marriage is a beautiful thing.
So on Saturday morning, my husband awoke with visions of the Animal Refuge League dancing in his head. While I took my children to visit my 98-year-old great aunt (MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! I SAID MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!), he bounded off to the shelter "just to see what they had." About 30 minutes later, I asked my mother to bet with me whether he'd come home with a cat. We both agreed he would. 45 seconds after placing our bets, my husband sent me the following text message:
"Okay if I get one today?"
Two hours later, Gypsy Rose Diaz arrived at her new home.
"You named your cat after a burlesque performer famous for her strip teases?" you are now wondering.
Well no, not really.
My husband wanted to name her Gypsy, and my daughter wanted to name her Rose. So we combined the names, and the fact that said combination alludes to a woman who authored a mystery thriller titled The G-String Murders is just a happy coincidence.
The feline Gypsy Rose is 4 years old, house-trained, and completely freaked out by her new living situation. I think she's black, but that could be just because she spends most of her time hiding from us. The experts say this is normal. I say it's a sign she's hugely intelligent.
Perhaps the ice will thaw and she'll become a vibrant member of our family. Perhaps she'll meet my son and ask for emancipation. Too soon to tell which way this one's gonna break.
All that's certain is my daily routine now includes tasks like trying to coax a shy cat out from under the sofa so I can put her in "her room" and leave for work.