Saturday, August 4, 2012

Lessons on Rescue and Commitment

We Gibsons have a reputation for pet purging, and in keeping with habit, we've been considering whether to keep our two cats or not. One is so clingy she can make you a little nuts. The other is weird.
Weird Marshall

Recently one of my daughters told me I am not a dog person. It surprised me, but as I thought of it I realized she's right. I don't want to be greeted when I get home, or have my walks include someone pulling me down the road and stopping to sniff at every tree, fire hydrant, etc. I don't want to play frisbee or buy funny little sweaters. I don't want to be kissed by a dog - ever. I don't want to walk around my back yard with the shovel, trying to look like I'm doing something else. I like other people's dogs, but mostly because they are other people's. So my daughter - who actually held a birthday party for her dog where everyone brought their dog and painted ceramic food dishes to take home - speaks the truth.

I've had cats for over 40 years. Every single one a rescue. One from the rafters of a barn who looked more like a badger; one from a nasty shelter in the middle of nowhere, one who mooched from the entire neighborhood - we adopted him and named him Mooch - and our current two cats from the local shelter. Miss Kitty is a calico. She looked like she should sit in the kitchen window;

Miss Kitty and her killer instinct.
she was half-starved, had ear mites and a respiratory infection. $750 later she was nicely fattened up and free of creepy crawly critters. Marshall, the yowliest thing I'd ever heard, with a tail like a lemur, completely gray with green eyes. Trying to socialize Marshall - whose Daddy and Momma likely lived in the woods and ate mice and lizards for dinner - has been a bit like trying to turn Howie Mandell into a dentist.

We considered finding Miss Kitty a sweet older woman who would love a clingy cat and not put her on a diet because she has issues with abandonment and eats about 15 times a day. But how on earth to find someone to take Marshall? The minute the doorbell rings his four feet skitter across the wood floor and he goes flying up the stairs to hide under a bed. A two day visit from our grandkids leaves him showing signs of PTSD for days.

We made the decision - take Marshall back to the shelter - he's neutered and has all shots, front claws gone, nicely fattened up and maybe someone will fall in love with him. Take him home before they realize how strange he is. Regarding clingy Miss Kitty - we decided to put an ad on our neighborhood bulletin board and note that she had to be an indoor cat. Where we live outdoor cats become dinner for coyotes and such. 

We left to go on vacation for two weeks, with the full determination that when we got home we'd 'deal with the cats'. Find them homes, take a cat break, and eventually get a cat that we paid enough money for to prevent personality issues. 

Til I thought of rescue. And commitment. And changing old habits and patterns of behavior. There was a time when I needed rescuing - spiritually, physically and emotionally; I still do now and then. 

So we looked our two cats in the eye and told them they're staying. The fat, clingy one and the one who'll likely still be running for cover when the doorbell rings ten years from now. I need frequent reminders that some things in my character need bolstering and these two quirky creatures give me just that.

But I still don't want to be kissed on the mouth by a dog. Ever.

6 comments:

Bev said...

Checking to see if comments is working.... yep, seems to be.

Sammy said...

Well, Ms. Kitty is a full-figured gal, isn't she?! :-) Such a pretty cat!

This post made me smile. And oh boy, am I with you on the dog thing! I am always so (secretly) grossed out when people let their dogs kiss them.

Bev said...

Sammy, do you know Miss Kitty weighed 6 1/2 lbs (at 3 years old) when we adopted her. She'd had a litter of kittens and was starving trying to nurse them all. We have a history of very full-figured pets, but every time we put them on a diet they whine so much it drives us nuts so we're resolved to chubby cats. And I've seen where dogs put their noses - no thank you! Thanks for taking time to say hello.

Anonymous said...

I saw this and instantly remembered this: http://www.frtommylane.com/stories/humility/man_dog_cat.htm

Bev said...

anonymous, THAT made me laugh right out loud! Amen! thanks for sharing, and I'll remember that, now and then, when I look MK and Marshall in the eyes. ;-)

Toni said...

TOTALLY could relate to your quirky cats. Ours is now 10 years old and just as odd as ever. If we all sit on the floor to play a board game, she meanders in, rolls on the floor and purrs. But don't try to pet her much. Oh no, that totally freaks her out. And DON'T try to hold her. Ever. She growls, hisses, and eventually attempts to bite. She HATES being held, sitting on laps, etc. Just as she LOVES sucking up space and giving little in return, lol. Serously, there's not all that much joy in caring for her. But if we don't, who will? We know the answer and so here she is, some 9½ years later. It's an exercise in commitment for sure.
Blessings,
Toni