I say this a lot–I don’t have kids, I have cats.
Some people laugh at that, as if they couldn’t possibly be the same thing. And I’ll admit that my cats lead shorter life spans, will never grow up to learn to speak, and certainly won’t be around to take care of me when I get old. But in the meantime, they keep me calm when I’m stressed, they have more personality than people give them credit for, and they’re cute, dang it.
Unfortunately, my cats also have health problems.
Penny (she’s the sweet angel of the family) recently had a cold and an infection that meant she needed a tooth pulled. She occasionally gets fleas, frequently coughs up hairballs, and needs lots of brushing because her luxurious white coat is easily matted. On the whole, she’s easy to take care of–in the six or so years I’ve had her, she’s only needed four vet visits, and three of them were for the same thing.
And then there’s Zoe.
Zoe is the kind of cat people cite as the reason they don’t like cats. She’s mean, territorial, and free with her teeth and claws. She’s also riddled with gastrointestinal problems–the amount of money I’ve spent on keeping this little devil alive is enough to make people suggest I euthanize her, but even writing that is enough to make me tear up.
Because the thing is, her myriad problems are treatable. Every one of them has been easily (expensively, but easily) fixable, and she’s gone on to live a grumpy, testy life despite them. She has to be on a laxative constantly (prompting confused questions from guests as to why there’s always a laxative on my kitchen counter), and the slightest hiccup from her is enough to send me into a panic.
Because as much as she’s a troublemaker, frequent biter, and total jerk, she’s also mine. I picked her out of a litter and she’s my responsibility, not only because I chose her but because I can’t tell you how many times her mean little glare has brought me joy when I’m in a bad mood. She can be quite sweet when she wants to be–she hops up on two feet when she’s excited to see me, she chirps for attention, and she’s the best climber I’ve ever seen.
I’ve had a pretty busy weekend, with my best friend’s wedding, a short hiking excursion, and entertaining out-of-town guests. I’m coming down with a cold, I haven’t slept well, and I’m pretty exhausted. And today, Zoe has decided it’s time for another bout with illness.
It’s quite possible that she’s entirely fine–having guests might have stressed her out, she just figured out how to get into the trash can and pull out all kinds of tantalizing little snacks, and she could just be having a little gastrointestinal flare-up just to spite me. But regardless of the cause, I’m just not feeling the idea of writing and posting a new drabble. Particularly since I should have written it yesterday, or at any time in the previous week.
Instead, I’m going to curl up, take it easy, think positive thoughts for my stupid little brat of a cat, and hope I don’t need to take her in for another three a.m. enema.
Eight weeks of drabbles without a hiccup is pretty good, I think.