In all fairness to the fish lovers out there, Lola is not our first pet. However, in my husband’s classification system, a “pet” has four legs and fur. So Lola, our cat of two months, is the first to fit the bill. I’ve never been a cat person, but when I saw this picture in my e-mail with the question, “Does anyone need a cat?,” I immediately fell in love and forwarded the message to Luke to see what he thought.
Our conversation went something like this:
Me: Hey…want a cat?
Me: We would have to buy some stuff and do research on, you know, how to grow a cat.
Luke: Wait, are you serious about this?
After some deliberation, we decided to take the plunge, and after a few phone calls, we were set as the adoptive parents. We made arrangements to pick up our new pet on a Saturday afternoon. Friday night, we trekked to Petco to gather supplies. We chose a litter box and scoop, water and food dish, and food that stated it would help her not get hairballs. If we weren’t apprehensive enough about hairballs and hair in general, the gentleman checking us out warned us that our new kitty might be too nervous to eat, and the new food might make her sick, and had we checked on her shots because we didn’t want her to get heartworms, etc., etc., etc. We left with mixed feelings about what we were getting into until we got her home.
On day one, she did some cautious exploration that turned into hiding in places we thought were too small for a full-grown cat. Day two, she started hanging out with us, and we began to realize she was the friendliest cat we had ever known when she slept on my lap for two hours that day. In fact, she made herself at home so quickly that I started to wonder whether I liked our house not being just “us” anymore. However, after a week with Lola, we all fell into a comfortable routine.
We can count on life with Lola being similar every day. She sleeps under our bed because she likes to be wherever we are. She gets up with Luke and squints when the light comes on. Then she stretches. Then she paws at the recliner. Next, she takes a nap and repeats the process when I get up. Then she hops on my lap, respectfully waiting until I’ve finished breakfast, and I watch the news while she takes another nap. I am convinced that the life of a cat must be utterly exhausting. When I leave for work, I open the blinds so that she can a) watch the birds outside and b) nap in the warm sunlight. She’s waiting in the window when I get home and never fails to greet me at the door. We sit together for a bit, and then she jumps up to greet Luke upon his arrival.
Though we had some doubts in the beginning, Lola has definitely been a good addition to our little family. For one thing, she’s reinforced the joy of our commitment to our marriage. She’s six years old, and as I told Luke, I’m glad to know that I can count on us being together through her lifespan. There have been a few moments we’ve had to work together as “parents.” I had a talk with Lola on the way home from picking her up about how we have a fish and that fish are friends, not food. However, Lola finds the water in Rick’s bowl particularly tasty, and we’ve had to develop a discipline plan to keep her from dehydrating our tiny gilled friend. We’ve learned we both have to reinforce the strategies, or they won’t work. Part of that working together is managing the work that comes with pet ownership. One of those tasks is the litter box. After a few days of trying to pawn this task off on each other, we discovered that each of us only really dislikes half of the job. Luke doesn’t like scooping, and I don’t like taking it outside. (We live in the country…how in-town residents handle this is still a mystery to me.) So I scoop, and he deposits outside.
We’ve also had the joy of watching our “kid” show her personality. On Sundays, we actually get to wake up after the sun rises. This week, after Lola pried herself from her slumber, I heard her yowling downstairs. I looked over the railing, made eye contact, and she raced up to me. But she walked away when I tried to pet her and raced back down and began yowling again. This process repeated itself two more times, and no amount of shushing her or asking what seemed to be the problem led to a solution. Finally, realizing I wasn’t receiving the message, she ran downstairs and jumped on the window ledge as if to say, “How are you not getting this?!?” Understanding at last, I hurried downstairs to open her blinds, and she collapsed, obviously exhausted from all that activity, into a sleepy pile of fur in the sunshine.
All of these fun moments add up to a bit of a lifestyle change for us, but we wouldn’t go back. She is the perfect pet for us. Her personality fits our home and adds something to what we call “us.” So, through the lint rollers and vacuuming, we are glad she’s part of our family. This is an adventure we’re glad we started.
(Lola says hi.) 🙂