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I made an arbitrary decision that I would like to write about love during the month of February.

Naturally, that means writing at least a post or two about my cats, because cats are love.

I found a picture of Dinah on petfinder, which I had developed a habit of browsing. I had just moved out of my tiny little studio and into my partner’s house. It was my first summer off from graduate school, as the last one I had stayed on campus teaching a summer off over break, and I decompressed rather explosively. I was feeling wasted and overstressed and lonely, dissillusioned with academia and humanity in general.

I told Josh I wanted a cat.

I had always been around cats growing up, had always loved them, and I knew the value of cat therapy. It was the only kind I had access to as a child.

So I found Dinah online. She was not at a private rescue organization or humane society. She was at animal control, who don’t usually bother to post pictures of their animals. She was one of those very photogenic cats with cobby kittenish proportions and pale green eyes and fluffy white fur, with black ears and a black tail. Two years old, spayed, declawed, and an owner turn in. The only indication why was a warning that she wasn’t good with kids. No problems there, really.

We called to make sure she was still available. She was. We told them that we would be down the next day to come see her.

There was some road construction between us that we had not anticipated, and we called again. They said that people would probably still be there fifteen minutes after they were supposed to close, so we pressed on.

When we finally arrived there was an oldish lady at the desk, the one I had talked to on the phone, who had assured me that we would love her.

It was a younger guy that took me back to the cats. I won’t lie. Pounds are among the world’s grimmest places. Between all the chain link fencing and noise, and the sign posted outside about regulations for disposing of dead animals, and the impression I got that my guide was ready to go the fuck home already, I was eager to be out as quickly as possible. When he showed me Dinah, she was eating, fairly calm among all the cages full of crying cats. I reached in and gave her a scritch. She leaned into my hand.

The guy asked, “So do you want her?”

I had meant to ask why she was an owner turn-in, but it didn’t seem important anymore. I had a cat-shaped hole in my heart and she was a cat in need of a person to watch her eat and pet her.

I said yes.

We loaded her up into the carrier we had brought, and paid twenty five dollars for her. Just like that, she was our cat. They gave us a bag of food and a cat toy and the fleece blanket that was in her cage. On the way home she rubbed her face on my fingers through the bars of the carrier door.

We put her in the bedroom at first with food and water and litter, to make sure she would take to using the box. She was so starved for attention. She walked back and forth between us getting pets and scritches. She had a loud purr and a loud meow.

That night she layed on my legs while I slept. At some point during the night I shifted position and moved my legs, and she stretched out her front leg to put her paw on me, just so we would still be touching. I couldn’t imagine how she ever belonged to someone who didn’t love her.

Luckily enough for us, she proved to be a very good cat. Anyone who’s been put through the wringer at a private adoption agency (the humane society in my college town let us alone to see a cat and THEN told us he was already being adopted after we tracked down a staffer and said we wanted him)? There are plenty of good and worthy animals at your local pound.
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karenarthur: (Default)
Karen Arthur

February 2012

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