Though several of my friends have cats, not one of them has actually ever purchased one. You don’t need to. They just show up. Like dandruff. And like dandruff, when they disappear, it’s not a very noticeable absence. Not like, say, your garage is missing or even your vacuum cleaner (wait, I wouldn’t notice that missing, either.) The point is- cats just appear. You don’t ever need to buy one – like those return address labels that come in the mail daily.
So imagine my surprise when I found myself actually looking for a cat. Years of Christmas lists from my daughter always had a familiar slant. The initial ninety or so items differed as she aged but at the bottom of every single list was the request for a kitten. It was bordering on pathetic as her tastes changed from American Girl Dolls to Sephora makeup. There was always the pitiful…”and a kitten, too” as the last line of the list.
Having made the decision to obtain a kitten and appease said daughter, I was dumbfounded as to the lack of them to be found. It appeared I was actually going to have to look for one so during a wintry Buffalo day, I told my co -workers I would be bringing back a kitten after spending my lunch hour at an animal shelter.
I found a kitten that appeared to have all the required kitten qualities, scooped him up and began to walk out the door. Immediately, I was halted by the animal police scolding me that I had to fill out a form and PAY FOR IT!!!
“Pay for what?” I asked.
“You’ve got to be kidding! Who pays for a cat?”
“You do if you want one. That will be $50.”
Being that it was two days before Christmas, I acquiesced and forked over the dough. Opening the exit door, I was accosted again.
“What now?” I asked.
“We need to do a credit check on you,” I was told.
“But I just paid you in cash.”
“Sorry. We need to know you’ll be able to afford the care of a cat.”
Care? I asked myself. What care?
Brother, I said to myself and filled out a credit application.
“Okay, can I go now?”
“We need 24 hours before we get the results of the application. Once we receive that you can pick up the cat. Also, we will need you to write a paragraph as to why you want a cat.”
So after two hours, $50, a credit application completed and a brief essay on why on wanted this cat, I came back to work sans kitten. When my colleagues asked where it was, I just told them they were fresh out of cats. Explaining what had happened would be painful!
We named the cat Courage. His tumultuous beginning at the shelter was indicative of how his days would be with us. There wasn’t a basket of clean clothes he hadn’t defecated on nor did he ever pass up the chance to vomit- on everything. We learned early on in the relationship to smell bath towels before drying our hair with one. Often the mistake was caught too late and many a day we went to work with cat urine in our hair. A nice touch working in a crowded office!
Courage was apparently disgusted with the bad press he’d received and disappeared. Feeble attempts to locate him were fruitless and we eventually became used to wearing clean clothes again.
We do now think we know where he is. One Sunday morning, I was amazed to see the subject matter of the Parade section in The Buffalo News with the following caption:
TALES OF COURAGE IN THE MIDDLE EAST
Apparently, this cat was going to infiltrate the insurgents with his own particular brand of weaponry. We couldn’t be prouder!