I’ve always loved animals. My parents regale stories of me, three years old, my feet barely reaching the end of the couch cushions, sobbing over the uncertain fate of wolf puppies in a Lassie movie. I used to ask for prairie dogs for pets and couldn’t understand why it just couldn’t be. While other teens were reading books like Sweet Valley High, I was engrossed in the tales of a young English farm veterinarian in the series All Creatures Great and Small. I was always the child at school who offered to watch the classroom animals during school vacation. And when the opportunity presented itself, you could be sure that with the permission of my parents, I would bring home a new pet, from cats to dogs, to bunnies and birds.
Yet, it wasn’t until just a few short years ago that I truly fell in love with cats above all other animals. I blame it on my husband. He loves cats more than I’ve ever seen a man care for a feline. I got glimpses of this trait when we first started dating, but it became fully apparent just three weeks before we moved in together: I was heading over to his place for a date when I got a text saying he brought home brother and sister kittens… to keep. I thought he was joking, but I quickly came to see that he wasn’t. For a multitude of reasons, and with much regret, we didn’t keep the little guys. But with that, he began to awaken the inner cat lady in me.
Months later, after much lamenting over the brother and sister kittens we were unable to keep, my husband and I adopted our first kitten together. The moment we stepped into Petsmart, we didn’t stand a chance. He was just a few measly pounds, was all ears and was the color of marmalade. We name him Gilligan. Despite the fact that Gilly is now almost 20 pounds and over two years old, he will forever be our baby.
Gus came along about a year later. He was our “oops” kitten. We had some time to kill before a movie one night and we just happened to stop into Petsmart while they were wrapping up an adoption fair. Gus was the runt of the litter, and after seeing how small and sick he was, there was no way we were leaving without him. Gus has a white face with a distinctive thin, black mustache, bearing resemblance to one of history’s most unsavory figures. But unlike his infamous human doppelganger, Gus is sweet and shy and completely lovable.
Since these two creatures have made an appearance in my life, it’s like a light switch has been flipped. Cat commercials which I once thought were mildly cute now bring a huge smile to my face. Lolcats has new meaning (and if you love cat’s you’ll know what I’m talking about). My husband and I talk about our little guys endlessly in the same fashion parents that talk endlessly about their human children. We’re completely smitten.
More significantly, having Gilligan and Gus have instilled a sense of responsibility I’ve never fully experienced before; the fact that I am responsible for their health and safety for the next fifteen or so years is a tremendous commitment and undertaking. This responsibility is also great training wheels for the day that another type of mewling creature comes into my life. Through raising these two cats, experiencing their little personalities, eccentricities and all, has brought a lot of pleasure to my life and has made me understand fully why so many people say that animals are so good for the soul.
I used to say, and believe, I was an equal opportunity animal lover. Now I know differently and that without a doubt, I’m 100% crazy for cats.