Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Baxter Confessions

I should probably come clean about the cat.

I talk all the time about the precocious three-going-on-sixteen Aria Grace, or my astounding nine-month-old-about-to-walk baby Caroline, or about my patient, loving Chris, or my large, jubilant costume-wearing dogs.  They all give me a lot of material to blog about.  But since we're all friends here, it's now time to bring up...the cat.

The correct reaction here would be, You have a cat?

Yes.  We have a cat.

You know how I feel about the dogs.  I love the dogs, I adore them.  The cat?  Well...  I feed the cat.  I acknowledge the cat.  I accept the cat.  I even clean the litter on the days that Soledad - or, as she is known in our house, The Angel in Pink Sweatpants - is not here.  In other words, I provide for him a very comfortable life.

But do I love the cat?  Hmmm... complicated question.

If you are a cat lover, you should probably just stop reading now, because the glib, wry prose that follows could possibly, maybe, potentially be perceived by some as anti-cat.  And I would NEVER want to give you that impression.  So, please, cat-lovers.  Stop reading.  In fact, go on over to this here website and read a nice article about whether or not cats have souls:  All About Cats.  Get back to me on that.  And you can page down to the last paragraph of this post.

If you are not so crazy about cats, then have a seat in your ergonomic chair, and carry on.

Perhaps now, you need some back story.

Once upon a time, way long ago, waaaayyyyy BCs (Before Chris and Before Children), I was a lonely single girl working the night shift, and I decided I needed a companion to come home to.  So I went out and adopted my very first pet, a cat named Adam.  Well, technically, my first pet was a rabbit named Denver, but he's kind of Persona Non Grata in the Kappa house at Clemson, so let's just say, for the sake of this blog post, that Adam was my first pet.  He was very small and shy, didn't ever seek affection, and was pretty much unable to elicit any emotional response from people other than pity for how small and shy he was.  But, being the pick-up-wounded-animals type of soul that I am, I thought I could change Adam with a little love and a stable home, from Meek, Shy, Kitty into Fun-loving, Attention-seeking Kitty. 

I couldn't.

Adam spent 80% of his life cowering under my bed.

Next came Cooper.  Since Adam wasn't cutting the mustard in the welcoming me home department, I went out and adopted myself a nine-week-old yellow lab puppy named Cooper.  My devotion to Cooper is now blog-legend, and I'm a little sad to say, Adam fell down a notch on my pet-priority list.  I still loved him dearly, and sobbed my eyes out the day I had to put him down, but I know in my heart he is now in a better place than under my bed.  Rest in peace, my sweet Adam.

Around this time, a friend approached me and begged me to adopt her very large, very unhealthy cat, Baxter.  He doesn't have front claws, she said.  My fiance's dog will eat him, she said.  He needs to be in a more cat-friendly place, she said.  Know what she said after dropping him off at my house?  SUCKAS! 

Oh, I kid.  I have no hard evidence about that last part.

Upon adoption day, Baxter tipped the scales at twenty-nine pounds, and I admit, I agreed to adopt him on the unspoken assumption that thyroid problems or diabetes would get the better of him before the fur had a chance to settle at our house.  But noooooo... despite my worst intentions, that cat has managed to usurp my medical suspicions (prayers), lose weight (down to a svelte 25 pounds), and live a long and fruitful five years with us.

Have I mentioned things can sometimes get little chaotic in our house?  This is how it can go down:  baby pulls cat's tail, cat screeches, dogs bark at cat for screeching at baby, cat hisses, dogs then chase cat, baby cries from all the ruckus.  Mommy cries.  Mayhem.

And to make it worse, somehow over the last few months, Baxter has become our default creature to blame when things go wrong in our house.  Fur everywhere?  Baxter's fault.  Carpet is dirty?  Dumb cat.  Kids are grumpy?  Grrr, daggum Baxter.  Flat tire?  Baxter, how dare you?  Seriously, we do, we blame him for pretty much everything.  And there is a lot he can take credit for.  I know he is systematically dismembering the beautiful floral centerpiece on my dining room table gifted to us by my sister-in-law Julie who is a designer with excellent taste.  He's yet another nocturnal creature in a house run by two people who greatly value their sleep.  He has a lot of fur, much of which accumulates regularly on the hardwood floors, the sofa, and any dark-colored clothing.  Unfortunately, he also has a sensitive digestive system, which is how I know he is responsible for the mutilation of the aforementioned centerpiece.  

It is because of all this alleged trouble-making that my husband has decided the cat has to go.  (In fact, for the time being, we're putting a moratorium on all things that poop).  We have a friend who shall remain nameless (you know who you are) who found a new home for his wife's cat on craigslist, and now Chris wants to do the same.

Which puts me in the unfortunate position of having to defend the honor of a creature I'm pretty certain has none. 

I mean, we can't give him away - I haven't even entirely decided if I like him or not, right?  He can be pretty cute when he wants to be.  What if I miss him?  And he's awfully sweet.  What if his new owners are some kind of cat-traffickers?  What if he misses us, tail-pulling and all?  Sure, my gut tells me there's not a big market for overweight ten-year-old cats on craigslist right now, so the rabble-rouser will probably remain a member of our family for many more litter-box changes, er, I mean years, to come, but you never know about these things.  He could be just the unhealthy, overweight, nocturnal, beautiful centerpiece-consuming pet a person has been looking for.

Therefore, in order to do my due diligence to Chris, and avoid the crazy catkillers on craigslist (read:  assuage my massive guilt if my husband unloads him to someone on the internet), I'll "look" for a home for him via this blog, on the off chance that somebody might want to take him off our very tired, very busy hands.

Any takers?

No?  Ah, well.  See, Chris?  I tried.

1 comment:

  1. Hey! I'll take the cat! :) When will I see you next? 1.5 years or 2.5 years??? Surely you can keep him until then! ;-)