I’m a recent cat owner. I swore up and down that I would not be getting a pet because pets keep you from traveling, are a pain, cost a lot of money, etc. However, my sister and I have been roommates for most of the last ten years and she had two cats, Max and Tigger. Tigger passed away a few years ago, and ever since then I’ve felt sorry for Max, who was a total snuggler. He loved to cuddle with Tigger and lick his ears, and he seemed really bereft when he was left alone.
I’m also well-read on animal rescue, so I know that adult animals are much harder to adopt out. One day, my sister and I were passing by PetSmart and stopped in for treats for Max. “Oh, it’s adoption day!” I said. “Let’s go look at the puppies.”
This was a perfectly reasonable thing to say because under the terms of our lease, puppies are ABSOLUTELY PROHIBITED. (The newly-refinished hardwood floors, yo.) So there was zero danger that we would be sucked in by the puppies. Unfortunately, I wasn’t prepared for Polly and Becky.
There they sat – Polly curled up in the litter box in a tiny cage, Becky next to her with her face pressed against the bars, as if she thought that so long as she couldn’t see all the strangers, they wouldn’t be able to see her either. Both girls are eight years old, and had been part of a four-cat household belonging to an elderly gentleman who adopted them as kittens. The gentleman passed away suddenly and the cats were all alone while his estate was being probated. They were trying to adopt out the two girls together and the two boys together.
Adult cats. Trying to keep two together. It broke my heart. It was their fourth adoption weekend at PetSmart and nobody was interested in the girls. I told my sister I wanted to bring them home. She couldn’t believe I was serious.
We left with the two cats in cardboard carriers, and a new litter box, collars, and a big bag of food. The woman who had been fostering them – a friend and neighbor of the elderly man – rushed to the store with their toys, food, and blankets. She was in hysterical tears, so grateful they were going to be adopted together. I left my sister to deal with the emotional mess (she’s much better at people than me, since I don’t do empathy very well) and got their names and my phone number engraved on their new tags. The woman burst into renewed hysterics when I came back with the tags: “You’re keeping their names?!?” (Who would change the names of two eight-year-old cats?) The rescue organization thought we were a dream come true, since my sister worked nights, and I worked days, so someone is almost always home. They nearly died of joy when they found out that rather than have him euthanized, my sister had given Tigger twice-daily insulin injections to control his diabetes. There was no way they were letting us out of there without taking Polly and Becky home with us.
Now the household has three cats. Surprisingly, having three cats is crazy different than having two. Tigger and Max were not much of a problem and didn’t seem very expensive (insulin aside). But having three cats, we use an incredible amount of litter and food, and have an incredible amount of cat hair floating around. To be fair, the litter probably isn’t as bad as I imagine, it’s just that we have to haul it up to our second-story flat in big forty-pound boxes. And the hair is only so obvious because we have all wood floors, no carpet to get the hair all stuck in (thank God). But there’s a lot of cat wandering around our home all the time, now.
Still, I wouldn’t trade them for the world.