It is a known fact that I am not an animal lover. I’m generally ashamed of this, and try to hide it because I think it makes me seem somehow evil in the eyes of our animal loving society. On the outside I am politely smiling while I push your dog’s drooling face away from my lap, but inside I am screaming, “don’t let that slobber touch me–aaaaah, help!” Worse, ever since an incident in middle school when I was scratched by a cat, I have been terrified of cats in general; sure that each cat who glanced my way was sharpening his claws and plotting my death.
So it goes without saying that I shocked all my friends and family when I agreed to adopt two kittens last February. It all started when my oldest child’s doctor recommended a pet as a way to ease some of his recurrent anxiety. Pets are good therapy, and I was willing to give it a try for my child’s sake. Strong-willed child declared he would only have a cat, despite me pleading that any cat brought into our house would want to rip my head off. Husband reassured me that a kitten would grow fond of me, that cats are clean by nature, and would not add too much chaos our house. (he also promised to clean the litter box for the rest of his life).
So, we headed out to the Woodford Humane Society (a fabulous facility, by the way) and picked out an adorable kitten, who just happened to be inseparable from her brother. A few hours later we had three very happy children and two very bewildered kittens in our home.
Over the next few months I did my best to ignore the cats, while the rest of my family showered them with attention and love. I didn’t mind having them in the house, as long as they didn’t mess with my routine, or touch me. The kitten, however, had a different idea. For their favorite resting spot they chose the place I spend most of my day: my computer chair. Much like years past when I sat working at my desk with a baby sprawled across my lap, I now found myself with a cat curled in my lap constantly. And although my husband kept to his word about the litter box, it inevitably fell to me to fill the food and water dish each day. The cats rewarded my kindness by wrapping themselves around my legs anytime I tried to walk from room to room.
As predicted, over the last 6 months I have become friends with our cats. We keep their food and water in my laundry room, so now everytime I do laundry they follow me in there, sometimes anticipating a refill on their food, sometimes just to watch. This morning I folded a warm, fluffy towel from the dryer and placed it on a shelf the cat’s like, and watched as Whiskey curled up happily to watch me finish my chore. “You are going to have to keep me company, when everyone goes to school, you know,” I informed him. And he doesn’t seem to mind having the job. Even now, as I type this, his little sister has squeezed into the chair with me, claiming her spot.
Am I a cat person now? No, I don’t think I’ll ever be one of those people who gets all gushy over pet stories on t.v. and I still think my cats are pretty gross (I can’t stand to watch them lick each other). But I am no longer afraid that every cat is stalking me, and I no longer agonize over all the cat hair on my couch. I even find myself stopping to pet the cats for no reason other than to hear them purr and make them happy. My son has undoubtedly received many benefits from the two new pets, but in the end, I am the one who needed pet therapy.