I am a young, single, full-time student with a schedule that looks like a life’s worth of activities scribbled on every square inch of a daily planner. One day while rushing from my first job to my second job, I decided that I needed to make my life unnecessarily complicated. I rescued a kitten.
A few weeks after my senior, asthmatic and toothless rescue cat passed away, I was heartbroken. Sean was an aged old soul who needed my help, and when I took him in five years previous, I was forever changed as a person.
He came fully trained, gentle and peaceful. I could count on a relaxing evening at the end of an exhausting day, knowing Sean would enjoy quietly sitting on my lap as I enjoyed a glass of wine. When at last his time came, I was assured I had given him a wonderful last few years he never would have had in a damp, dimly lit shelter I have chosen to forget because I wasn’t able to save the other sad faces looking out of their cages.
I was a mess after Sean. Any breakups I had with boyfriends paled in comparison to the heartbreak I had for that skinny cat. As any lonely, brokenhearted person knows, rebound can usually distract us from reasonable action.
So, I decided to adopt a 7-month-old kitten. Listen, it wasn’t like I had a choice after I was told he would be euthanized the following day.
Under all that cute tabby fluff was a responsibility I couldn’t have fathomed. I had fallen in love, not realizing the commitment, time and patience it takes to make such a relationship work.
My life started to change the day I brought Cooper home. The balancing act of student, receptionist and aspiring journalist has competition with this small creature that has turned my daily routine into a fiasco.
My closet is a playroom. As my treasured cashmere sweater hung provocatively on a hanger, it didn’t stand a chance against the razor-sharp claws of this tiny hunter-in-training I call Cooper. I hope that ripped jeans come back into fashion.
My mother’s advice is to stay positive and redirect his attention. Positive? It will only take two years before I can replace those clothes. Redirection? Cooper decided to redirect his attention to turning toilet paper into confetti, for which I admit was impressive. I mean, how many people can say they came home to a snow scene inside their apartment? And what energy he has! After he left what I thought were chocolate paw prints across my newly washed laundry, and finding out it wasn’t chocolate, Cooper was ready to play a new game that involved my couch and his claws.
And sleep? Oh, no. You will regret falling for “cute” when this nocturnal animal makes you regret buying hundreds of fuzzy mouse toys with all the bells and whistles that hum, buzz and squeak throughout the night. You will most likely wake up to pointy teeth crunching on your nose hours before your alarm sounds. Coffee can be a real lifesaver after the bumps in the night leave me awake, wondering what else is being broken.
But even that is prey for a kitten with a curiosity for hot liquids. Already late for work, coffee on the kitchen floor, I reminisce over the days I adopted a senior cat. Then I realized I was asleep — in line at the checkout with a basket full of cat food, cat toys, cat litter and spot remover.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Cooper and I plan on him being in my life for the next 16 to 20 years if I am lucky. But when you imagine bringing home that adorable baby animal you saw in the window, just think of me as I Scotchgard and plastic-wrap what’s left of my couch.
I recommend that if you rescue a pet, give an old cat or dog a chance. Pups and kittens don’t come with warning labels meant to deter the impulse shoppers.