Yesterday began quite early and I never posted. But what I wanted to post about was how much of a difference animals have made in my life. The title comes from an aggregate of two words I heard very frequently when my children were small. I’d call them to some tasking and get the inarguable reply: “I can’t, I’m cat-paralyzed.”
We always had cats. And dogs. Sometimes a goat, or seagull, or gerbils — or for 20 years, ferrets. Anytime a pet was asleep in one’s lap? You were effectively out of action till the nap ended — cats being the most nappable, it was “cat-alyzation”. Yesterday I was effectively cat-alyzed. The wee black beastie, Magpie, had her appointment to be spayed. So worry over her all day, and collecting her home to lap-love her through the evening kept me from posting.
She looked so desolate in the carrier, and went dead silent. You could see the little furry wheels in her head screeching to a halt with the thought, “Oh, no! They are taking me back – I do NOT have a home like I thought!” There is no explaining to a six month old kitty that it is a one day event and she will be home. When we collected her at 1700? No purr in greeting, just the same desolate little black huddle at the back of the carrier, not even looking at us. Not until we got home and I had her out of the carrier in my arms and she recognized the front porch did she perk up a bit. Then she heard the dogs inside the house and really perked up.
The dogs had sulked and whined all day, missing Magpie. She likes them and they love her. They greeted her rapturously, licking her face and wagging their tails off. She was on the floor at once, cupping faces in her paws! She was hungry and thirsty and still on pain meds, but purring like a top with joy to realize she was home!
In over 40 years of having pets, we’ve always had comments on how unusual our pets are; it baffles us to no end. What people seem to mean is that our pets don’t act like stereotypes of their species. I think this is because we let our pets be who and what they are; no this doesn’t mean they are untrained and rowdy beasts. But we don’t insist on silly behaviors to amuse humans. We don’t view pets as amusement, though they often do amuse us. I view pets as a responsibility, rather like children are — only my pets can’t speak English to tell me what is right or wrong with them. I taught my children that animals may not have human abilities, but that they do have emotions on par with our own and should be respected in that sense.
When our often dysfunctional family could agree on nothing else, we could agree on our pets — their needs often paramount even in serious arguments. Our family was sometimes held together by nothing so much as the need to NOT abandon our four legged animals! We’ve spayed and neutered ALL our pets, no pet of ours ever gave birth to teach my kids the alleged “wonder of life.” The majority of our pets were rescues or strays we found roadside.
Not every rescue succeeded. I re-homed a Great Pyr dog that simply was going insane due to his inability to get us all “herded” safely into ONE building. We returned a fat, grouchy Samoyed that threatened other pets. We euthanized a cat that couldn’t live outdoors due to some other asshole de-clawing her, and yet we couldn’t stop her peeing on everything in sight because she had grown up in a decrepit out-building that was rain and urine stained top to bottom. My allergic response to cats goes nuts over the various proteins IN cat urine, so that was making me very ill. But mostly, once a pet is here, they are here for life. We care for them, and they care for us.
If this was the Middle Ages, Magpie would get me burnt alive — she sleeps curled around my neck! So yay, for modern times!