I always wanted a puppy. A full-of-love bounding everywhere puppy who would grow into the most loving dog.
My parents said no. But every birthday, I asked shamelessly.
In college, my roommate was a cat lover. My friend was a cat owner. I loved listening to her stories and looking at pictures. I bought calendars with kittens on it. I still wanted a dog, but I admired feline friends – from afar. I hadn’t gotten over my childhood folly of being scratched by a tabby when I pulled his tail to keep him from leaving my side. I never had that problem with dogs! Such friendly creatures, they loved my company!
When Rich and I started dating, I met his fat sleepy cat. Grumpy faced, I never know what he’s thinking but I can make him purr but brushing his Persian coat. Pretty docile and independent, he isn’t a cat to play with, but a good companion to have next while relaxing, thinking, writing, or watching a movie.
Just the same, on my 22nd birthday I asked my parents, “You’re getting me a dog right?”
I decided the only way to spend time with animals was to volunteer at a shelter. Rich recommended the shelter a block from his house, Angel Paws. So I decided to check it out.
I said hello to all the kitties, some of whom I had to be rescued from by Rich because I didn’t know they didn’t like to be touched.
By chance, I met Indigo. I was eyeing a gray beauty named Cassandra, wondering if I could foster her, when I thought it would be rude to ignore the cat under Cassandra’s cage. I let Indigo sniff my fingers and to my surprise, she licked me!
I have tried to persuade Rich’s cat to lick me. I have held kibble in my palm, stuck my fingers out while he is cleaning himself, scratched him on his hindquarters (that makes him lick anything in front of him), but he only licks Rich.
Then there was Indigo.
Needless to say, Indigo’s been a part of my family for the last four months now. I can’t imagine life without her.
She’s a wily cat, very talkative, loves her play mice, energetic in doses and a great cuddle machine. Irony is I’m a lot like her. I used to pride myself in being energetic and bubbly but it comes in waves and I would tire out after my spurt of socialness (the basic lifestyle of an extrovert who is really an introvert). As I am a proud cat owner, I accept myself a little bit more each day.
The way Indigo will be chasing a squeaky mouse and then get distracted by the window? I won’t tell you how many times I checked my phone while typing this. Indigo nibbled on my boiled chicken that I was going to put in my salad, so I made her her own boiled chicken and she didn’t eat it. Rich is always surprised I can stop from devouring his meals after one bite. We just want a taste! And who doesn’t love to sleep?
This year for my 23rd birthday I won’t be asking for a dog. I love being on my couch with Indigo when we’re done running for the laser dot. (That’s right, I run too to give Indigo the fullest experience of the dot trailing everywhere in the apartment.) I just want to focus on one pet for now.
When I told people I had adopted Indigo, some of the reactions I got were, “Oh. Why?”
Those people don’t understand what a pet is. It’s not an ideal animal you want in your lifestyle, it’s the animal you bond with.
As I give favored head rubs to Indigo, the clock ticking forward to a late hour, I know that she’ll wake me up at 5:30am, up on her hindlegs, paws on the bed by my head and meowing very loudly. I don’t begrudge her because I love her. It’s a small price I pay for all the cuddles I get.