Crazy for Animals
Posted by JaneMiller on Saturday, May 5th, 2012
I lived alone for many years. Unlike some, I enjoyed it. Then I got a cat. I obtained the cat through nefarious behavior on the part of my son Travis and his wife Marisol, who have become expert at bestowing on others the offspring of a semi-feral cat who arrives at their home periodically to produce a litter of kittens. The mother, Kitty (yes, they've named the cat), stays until the kittens are weaned, then disappears until her next due date, leaving Travis and Marisol, to dispose of the progeny.* I can only assume that their house is safer than the other(s) that Kitty visits. Or maybe the food is better or, suckers for animals that they are, the treatment nicer.
My own cat, Inkjet, is a product of one of Kitty's litters from about 3 years ago. Marisol sent me photos of Inkjet while I was in another state (of the country, not of mind); or it might have been Travis doing the sending—it happens with every litter. Anyway, I declined the cat very firmly. Then, long story short, they brought her over when I came home and I succumbed. And overall, I'm glad that I did. I love the cat and she provides a lot of entertainment, but I have to admit that Inkjet's personality is sometimes a problem: she hates everyone but me and some days she's not so sure about me either. I was out of town recently for 3 days and when I came back she was refreshingly happy to see me—didn't bite, scratch or act annoyed for days. Kind of reminded me of couples who go on separate vacations and remember while they're apart why they liked each other in the first place.
But: Travis and Marisol. It's not as if they don't have their own animals: they are the owners of Buddy, a now-elderly golden lab, and Oscar, an allegedly miniature dachshund. "Allegedly" because although he doesn't seem to be full size, he's not really all that small either—more like 3/4 size. That, however, doesn't prevent him from keeping up when Travis and Marisol go on runs of several miles, which they do several times a week. The vet says he's 20 pounds of solid muscle. Travis says that Oscar must be part Jack Russell terrier because he's so energetic.
Buddy, although apparently trained to retrieve by a previous unknown owner (Travis found him after a hurricane), never really quite got the hang of waiting until the ducks were dead to pick them up, and in fact had to be watched carefully during runs around water to ensure that he didn't grab one. This is not so much of an issue now that he's too old to run. Oscar, neurotic and hyper, learned bad duck habits from Buddy. So that's the household: Travis, Marisol, Buddy, Oscar and occasionally Kitty and/or kittens. After foisting 2 kittens onto his sister, there are 2 kittens remaining from the latest litter. (I don't know if Travis has yet realized that he's run out of relatives who might be induce to take kittens.) Oscar wants to be friends with the kittens, and one is very willing. The other stares and hisses—probably she's from the same gene pool as Inkjet. Buddy just licks his lips, so the kittens don't come inside unless someone's supervising.
Recently Travis opened his front door and Oscar took off, an occurrence which used to happen regularly, but which had somewhat abated. Travis, who happened to be wearing sneakers at the time, took off after him. Oscar, who is quite capable of evasive maneuvers if cornered, apparently felt that since he had the entire neighborhood at his disposal, it was better to run in a straight line. My son, who has longer legs than Oscar, and just as much stamina, was gaining, with Oscar running forward but looking back to see how close Travis was. While running full speed ahead, Oscar ran over a cat who was sleeping peacefully on the ground. The cat jumped straight up, screamed, smacked Oscar and took off—"smacked" because there wasn't a scratch on him later. Oscar was so freaked out that he fell flat on his back yelping, at which point Travis grabbed him and upbraided him for being a runaway as well as a wuss. When he told me this story, I laughed so hard that tears were dripping off my face. I wish someone had had a camera—could have gone viral.
So I have to say that, much as Inkjet has complicated my life and as much as Oscar and Buddy complicate Travis and Marisol's life, we wouldn't be without them. Those of you who have animals know exactly what I mean. Those of you who are without them probably have a much more peaceful life!
*Please do not email me about the importance of getting Kitty spayed. I am it total agreement and am exhausted from all the times I've already had that conversation.
© 2012 Jane Hardy Miller
3. shirley (17 May 2013 at 1:10 p.m.)loved your story. I've always had pets from dogs n cats to calves n sheep. the stories I could tell, there isn't enough hours in a day to tell them all.
2. Kathy (18 May 2012 at 6:33 p.m.)Hi Rusty, I'm so tickled at being able to enjoy your humor again. I can see you waving your arms about as you tell your stories. They are as good as ever. Yes, I made it to FL by Thanksgiving, and the dogs and I have enjoyed every minute of living here, yet I haven't forgotten your parting words re my first hurricane. I can wait a few more years/decades for that experience. Hi to everyone.
1. Barbara (05 May 2012 at 9:14 a.m.)Okay...not saying it, but thinking it real hard. Loved this story. You are a good writer.