Last week I went and adopted two cats, because what I really, really needed were two more creatures depending on me for their welfare and nourishment.
The acquisition of these cats was the result of a skillfully executed emotional blackmail campaign on the part of my children. It started with our visit to Cleveland, and Henry's deep infatuation with Roy, my cousin's boxer. "I love Roy," Henry sighed, over and over again. "Can we get a dog like Roy?"
"That's so sweet!" I said. "And NO." We had this experience adopting a dog about three years ago, also immediately after returning from a vacation. The dog, despite a misleading show in the socialization yard at the SPCA, did not like small children. She did, however, enjoy rolling in dog and cat feces. Frequently. She was also incontinent, literally leaking pee around the house as she walked. The dog was not, to put it politely, a good fit for our family.
But I saw how much Henry loved Roy, and I recognized that however cheerfully I may talk them up, our goldfish will never fill that fuzzy, cuddly place in his heart. So the idea of cats came about as a compromise. Furry and nuzzly, but not so needy. That was my thinking.
They are lovely cats. Four-year-old siblings (brother and sister) who were surrendered because their owners lost a job and had to move to a no-cat location. They are friendly and pretty and have yet to swat or bite, even in the face of Henry and Amelia's aggressive attempts at affection.
We are still in the "adjustment period," which, according to the SPCA literature, can last from one week to several months. Our adjustment period involves a great deal of plaintive howling and knocking things off tables in the very small hours of the morning. It was irritating the first night, infuriating the second night, and by the third night I was sobbing and calling them "monstrous pieces of sh*t." (Have I mentioned that I have some mood issues related to lack of sleep?) Now I lock them in the downstairs bathroom when the howling begins, and we are all happier as a result.
Oh, and their names are Jessie and Woody. Like from Toy Story. I had some wry, clever names lined up for them, references that would have made me smile when I called them, and maybe have helped endear these quadrupeds to me. But apparently, my kids were the last things in my house I got to name.