Owning a pet and growing up with a pet are two completely different experiences. When you grow up with a pet, they’re supposed to be your buddy. You play with them and include them in your imagination stories. You pick them up and run around the front yard making “SWOOSH!” and dogfight noises. “The Red Barron won’t get away from us this time, Lieutenant Whiskers! Engage the afterburners!!” They’re your pal. They’re your friend.
Not true with me. They were my science experiments.
I think I typed that too quickly… I’m not saying they were my “let’s see how they respond to shock treatment” type of experiments. No-no-no-nooo…. I’m talking good natured young-child-curiosity-when-mom-isn’t-watching type of experiments. Think of them more along the lines of “Why does the cat stare at me when I continually make this noise?” kind of thing.
Growing up, we had an eclectic assortment of pets. We had:
- Friskey the Cat
- Loquito the Cat
- Sonney the Dog
- Spike the Bird
- Nibbles the Rabbit
- A Guinea Pig
- A beta fish (it was my sister’s)
Each one got the same Matt treatment. “How long will they look at me if I do this?”, “Can I get them to think I threw a ball around the corner?” and “Can I make my own Frankenstein monster?”
Oh Frisky… She was our first cat. I was roughly 5 or 6 years old and playing with a plastic construction set on the front porch. About that time, Frisky sauntered by and stretched out in the afternoon sun. I had just seen an episode of “Wishbone” which talked about Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” when it dawned on me that the two plastic green “nails” with my construction kit looked a lot like the rivets in the monster’s neck…
So I grabbed the two plastic bits (which were roughly the size of my thumb in diameter) and walked over to the poor unsuspecting cat. She opened a lazy eye, acknowledged me like any cat would, and resumed napping in her spot.
As if assuming that was her consenting to the plan I just devised in my Play-Doh filled brain, I casually reached down, lined up the first green rivet, and gave a gentle tap with my trusty red (also plastic) hammer.
CONCLUSION: Cats do not like that… and Bactine smells like hospital room and regret.
This was the story I couldn’t get out of my head when Aleah said we were going to adopt a cat. I had known we were going to get a pet and I was secretly dreading it since she started hinting toward it before we moved in together.
Pets were responsibility. I hadn’t really “bonded” with any of the pets we had growing up except maybe Loquito. He was crazy. I liked crazy. Plus I didn’t have to take care of him. Double bonus. But pets of our own?…. Ugh.
We ended up adopting not one, but two cats. Both are tuxedo colored and came from Cherokee County Animal Shelter. One is named “Indy”. He’s the larger of the two and is roughly a year and a half old. “Zoe” was the runt of the litter and just reaching 4-months old when we picked her up. Will these two little fuzz-balls be able to teach me about that close empathetic bond an owner can have with their four-legged friends? Possibly. Will they teach me inventive ways of guarding the new sofa from getting thrashed? More likely.
I know my brain (and emotions) sometimes just take longer than the average bear’s; so I’m in no rush. While I’m figuring it out, I will admit they’re kinda cute… I wonder if they like experiments?