February 3 2018

Agree (Five Minute Friday)

I have been pressured for a long time (several years) to agree to bring another pet into our home. More specifically, a cat. Hubby and adult daughter have been unrelenting lately. I keep saying, “No!”, and they beg and plead like a couple of kids wanting their first puppy.

I feel like I am being ganged up on. I tell adult daughter I already gave in on the hamster when she was in high school and even the pet rabbit, Bruce, also when she was in high school. I finally on the bunny when they called me from the state fair and asked again because I was told the life expectancy of the rabbit was just three to five years. We have had Bruce the Bunny for about six and a half years now and he doesn’t seem to be aging. I knew I was hoodwinked when just a week or two after they brought Bruce home from the Indiana State Fair because adult daughter’s friend’s bunny died. When I asked daughter how old the bunny was, she said fourteen years old. What? “I thought you said bunnies only lived three to five years!” Apparently, the lady who sold hubby and adult daughter the bunny for only $10 at the fair told them three to five years and they took her at her word. I, in turn, believed hubby and adult daughter when they told me they would both take care of the bunny, it would only live three to five years and it would be no trouble at all. He was to live in a cage and only be out of the said cage to exercise two hours a day. Umm…yeah. Bruce the Bunny has taken down any number of electrical appliances (aquarium filter system, lamps, televisions, the entire house network, the cable and internet service for the house) and currently has free reign over hubby’s entire office. Oh, did I mention he also bites unsuspecting sleeping people in their beds on occasion? I must say as long as he isn’t getting into trouble he is a very quiet pet. He never barks or meows.

I have come to appreciate the peace and quiet in our home with pets that are contained and don’t talk all the time like cats always do. I also appreciate not having cat hair everywhere, having the house smell like cat pee all the time, waking up to surprise hairballs on my bed, or stepping in cat puke in the middle of the night on the way to the bathroom. I like the freedom of not having to get anyone to come in and pet-sit for us when we want to go away for the weekend. I like NOT having cats on the table and counters, knocking over cups and vases, chewing on houseplants, and having to do cat checks to make sure they aren’t locked up where they shouldn’t be while we are away from home all day. (The other two don’t appreciate this because I am usually the last one out of the house and thus the one the cat check falls on.) I am also the one around the house more often and thus would be the one pestered for attention. We had cats for many, many years. It has been several years since we have had any as permanent residents of our home. We have had temporary cat guests (Moxie and Pope) for a week or two at a time and I have given in on that because I knew they would go back to their owners in a short while and I hoped it might lessen the nagging for us to get a cat. I would also like to say that adult daughter is rarely ever at home unless she is sleeping and hubby works long hours and has more volunteer commitments and meetings than anyone should so he is rarely home either.

When our family commits to a pet, we commit “until death do us part”, like it or not. We have never returned a pet, given one away, or even turned one loose on society. Darling daughter is constantly trying to get us to do just that with Gilligan the snapping turtle. I reminded her that is not how we do things in our family and that we made a commitment to take care of him for life, just like all the fish in our tanks, Sophie the hamster, Bruce the bunny and all the cats (Sammy, Morgan, Pumpkin, Smokey, and Goldie).

The latest tactic to try to force cats on me again is the recent death of my mother-in-law. Apparently, since we haven’t had cats for a few years, the whole darned family assumes we will take at least one maybe even two of the cats my mother-in-law had. I’m sorry if my mother-in-law was under the mistaken assumption that hubby would take a certain cat if anything ever happened to her, she didn’t ask my opinion, but she DID know how I felt about it. My stance is that ours is currently the only cat-free house and thus all the other families and houses are already used to having cats and another one or two wouldn’t make that much difference. There are only four or five cats to find homes for so it shouldn’t be a problem as there are at least five other houses here in the city where her cats could find good homes with various other family members.

I feel I have agreed to my share of pets and wish the rest of the family, immediate and otherwise, would respect my feelings and drop the subject for good. I feel like we are at the stage in our lives where we have the chance to travel more often and I don’t want the commitment and responsibility of more pets to tie us down. As long as we are mobile enough to travel, and have Bruce and Gilligan and the fish to deal with, I don’t want to get any more pets. I will not agree to allow any more pets into my home for the foreseeable future. Stop looking for loopholes, please. Subject closed.

This post is part of the weekly Five Minute Friday link-up!
The prompt this week is: Agree
The assignment: Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation. Just write.

September 17 2016

Animal Adventures

Yesterday we started a two week stint of cat sitting. We have been a cat-less household for many years now and I actually find I like it that way. Earlier in the summer, our daughter cat sat for a friend of hers from college who was getting married and needed someone to take care of the cat while they were on their honeymoon. The whole idea made me nervous. Sounds silly, I know because we had cats for over twenty years and that was mostly fine. Having had a variety of cats during our years as a cat-owning household, I know for a fact that while most cats are wonderful pets, not all are. You never know, until it is too late, and you have made the commitment, whether you have an angel cat or a cat hellion on your hands. 

The cat we had here in the early summer was a cute little tiger cat named Moxie. She was a sweety and quickly put me at ease. She was very quiet and usually came quickly when we called for her. She got along great with Bruce, the black bunny, who has been part of our household for the last five years. We often found her in the master bedroom by choice hanging out with Bruce. Yes, the bunny has the master bedroom all to himself at our house, but that is a story for another day. 

The cat who came to stay yesterday came to us in a bad mood because he didn’t like being caught and put into a cat-carrier apparently. So he came in howling, which reminded me of every single time we ever had to take any of our cats to the vet. They seemed to know that they would not like where we were taking them and howled the entire time they were in the carrier and the car. This is why we always had a vet very close to home.

He settled down finally and the howling stopped. As the two of us were alone in the house, I realized that the cat, Pope, was a very vocal cat. He meowed almost constantly. I’m not used to that. In my experience a cat meows when it is in distress, so a happy cat is a quiet cat. That was reinforced by our great experience with Moxie sitting earlier, so it must be true, right? 

I don’t know this cat well at all yet, but I had to chase him off my desk three times last night while I was trying to work, then found he had jumped up on furniture in my bedroom this morning. I don’t like having cats walking on anything I wouldn’t be sitting my butt on, you know? I’m ok with cats being on chairs, sofas and beds, but stay off the dressers, desks, counters and tables please. In my experience, cats who jump up on desks, dressers and such will also jump up on kitchen counters and dinner tables. I realized that I don’t miss having to worry about closing the toilet lids so the cat can’t drink the blue water or keeping the basement door closed to cut down on the trouble the cat could get into. I don’t miss worrying about whether there is a cat getting into food left on the kitchen counters while we are eating in the dining room. I like knowing that if I wipe the counters they are still clean when I come back to them and nothing has been walking across them while I wasn’t looking. 

So, we will have to see how it goes having this cat in the house for the next couple of weeks while his owners are on an out-of-the-country honeymoon.

The good thing about cat-sitting is it gets the hubby and adult daughter a cat fix without having the long-term commitment actually owning a cat would entail. The pets we currently own, a bunny, a snapping turtle and numerous tropical fish, can be left alone for a week to ten days without having to have someone come in and look after them, and as we get older and want to travel, that is a definite bonus. (710 words)

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March 2 2015

Fish

When we were kids, our mother used to breed tropical fish. In the basement, she had built a framework of two by fours into very sturdy shelves for the aquariums to sit on. There were fluorescent lights above the top shelf. Most of the tanks had their own hoods on them. She would get these boxes (in the mail I think). They were brown corrugated cardboard with red printing on them. The boxes were about twenty inches square and maybe ten inches tall. Inside each box was a Styrofoam liner that was maybe three quarters of an inch thick and form fitted to the inside of the cardboard box. There was a lift off fitted lid to the Styrofoam making it insulated like a Styrofoam cooler. She would get boxes of fish inside these foam containers. I think they came in bags like you get when you buy fish in the pet stores, but I can’t picture that part like I can the boxes. Maybe I can see the boxes in my mind because they were so sturdy and thus lived a very long life storing stuff in our basement. I think most of her tanks were twenty gallon long tanks. I remember her having silver and black striped angel fish about the size of a half dollar. She had guppies and mollies too. There were orange and black lyre-tailed mollies, black mollies and fancy, fan tailed guppies. She also seemed to have a lot of snails and cory catfish. I don’t remember what she did with the fish she raised. As I look back, I assume it must have been one of the many ways she had found to earn extra money, but I don’t remember her selling the fish to anyone. Maybe she raised them to sell at pet stores, I’m just not sure about that. She always loved having bright colored tropical fish around. Because we had the fish tanks, I got to be the one to take the turtle home from our classroom tank when our kindergarten teacher went on maternity leave and didn’t plan to come back to teach that school year. I think her name was Mrs. Rider. We had this cute little turtle that swam around in an aquarium with fish I think. I don’t remember much about the turtle itself, just feeling like the winner of the luckiest kid contest for being the one to get to take it home. Perhaps that is why I was so willing to allow Austin to keep the turtle that our former neighbor, Mary’s dog had cornered in her kitchen. We had a lot of work and research to do to keep it because we were unsure whether it was a land turtle or an aquatic turtle. We got Gilligan when he was about the size of a silver dollar. We put him in a small two gallon tank. He grew and grew each time he outgrew his tank, we would put him in a bigger one and he would grow exponentially almost overnight. We finally learned not to be in such a hurry to upgrade the size of his tank. We also quickly realized that Gilligan is a snapping turtle. We should have had sense enough to release it as soon as we figured that out. But, in almost all things, hind-sight is twenty-twenty. Now we have a Frisbee sized snapping turtle in a forty gallon breeder tank, and keeping it clean is a chore nobody enjoys. (582 words)