That’s how long we’ve been married and in all of those 42 years we have been blessed to have raised 3 children and seen them married. They then blessed us with 7 grandchildren, all of them living within a 30 minute drive of our home.
We have owned two homes, one in New Jersey where we lived with family we love and now one in Florida. We have owned 6 dogs Jake, Ralph, Buffy, Stella, Haven, and now Phoebe. We have also owned two miniature hamsters, both named George, and a fish named Fred. But, never have we ever owned a cat, until now.
“Why did we suddenly decide to be cat owners this late in the game?” you might ask. And, I might tell you. It’s because of the dog, Phoebe. Of all of the dogs, in all the world that we’ve owned, only two have suffered from separation anxiety, both of them hounds. Ralph, our German Shepherd-Beagle mix and now Phoebe, our Lab-Walker Coonhound mix, which makes me wonder about the psyche of hounds. But, I digress.
Phoebe is almost 6 years old and whenever we leave her, even for a short time, even when I just walk across the street, she has a conniption. She cries, she barks, and when she’s worn herself out in those areas, she looks out the window and, eventually, curls up by the door…waiting. It’s all very sad, pathetic, and heartbreaking.
When Ralph had this problem, we got another dog, Buffy. She was mentally deficient, but Ralph was smart enough for both of them and she was company for him in her own weird way. Since I have promised my ever-so-patient, animal-liker-not-animal-lover husband that Phoebe would be my last dog, another dog was not an option. However, I never promised that I wouldn’t ask for a cat!
Enter our daughter, Rachel, who has recently become the “madame of a high class cat house.” (I borrowed that phrase from my friend. Thank you, Sue!) She and her family have had “Fat-Cat” (not his real name) for about 11 years now. Last year they took in a small black kitten that Phoebe found in a scrub palm. This year they’ve continued to adopt and in their pursuit, came across a kitten that the Rescue organization had named “Pounce.” They quickly realized that Pounce was an unusual kitten in that Pounce loved dogs. Rach came to us with what she felt was the answer to Phoebe’s anxiety issue, a kitten. Think emotional support animal for a dog. We said we would think about it. And I did.
I admit, I was unsure at first. I have an aversion to the smell of cat food and even more so to the smell of a litter box. But, the more I thought about it and looked at pictures of Pounce, the more I liked the idea. Cliff was not quite so easily enamored. I talked about it with him. He silently listened. Cliff is not a fan of cats because they’re not exactly sociable. But, I had a gut feeling about this kitten and so, I prayed.
Pounce is 17 weeks old, kind of old to be that cute and not adopted. Every one of the people fostering or familiar with him, couldn’t understand why. Rachel had decided it was because the Lord was saving him for me. She offered to buy him for me as an early birthday present. Rach would buy the kitten and Cliff and I would buy all the necessaries as his present to me. Whether Cliff would agree or not was a whole other story.
After some days had gone by without getting a yay or nay, I conceded that a kitten was not in my future. And so, I thought about something else I might want for my upcoming birthday. I thought of something I love and shared it with my husband at breakfast that day. The conversation went like this…
“I’ve been thinking about what I want for my birthday, since I’m thinking you don’t want a kitten. I thought you could just get me an Amazon Giftcard and I’ll get some books I’ve been wanting.”
“I haven’t ruled out the kitten.”
To say that I was shocked would be an understatement. I never thought that the idea of me purchasing books would be so odious that he would agree to a 10 to 15 year commitment of a cat. But, he did! I called Rachel immediately and we got the process moving before he could change his mind.
Within a few days we picked up “Pounce”. We changed his name to Charlie Chaplin for obvious reasons and brought him home to a house full of people. My sister, both of our daughters and their children were all there anxious to meet the new family member. I did not think this would go well and expected the kitten to bolt as soon as he could to a hiding place that we would never get him out of. He didn’t. He greeted Phoebe and began his investigation of the house. It took him two days to investigate the rooms he’s allowed in, guest rooms are off limits, as is the playroom for now. And then, he just started doing all the things that kittens do.
I asked Cliff where he did NOT want the kitten to go trying to be considerate and fully thinking our bed would be a big “Oi Vey”. It wasn’t. Charlie sleeps on top of the quilt, by our feet, on our bed, every night and my animal-liker-not-animal-lover husband is just fine with that. I can safely say that we are both in love with Charlie. So now, Phoebe is thrilled and we have joined the ranks of those who love both dogs and cats. In the light of all eternity, it’s really not that big a deal!