Act Your Age… Getting A Cat

First appeared in Issue 33 of Retirement News Weekly

My family is very project oriented. For me, it’s always been writing that keeps me occupied; whether it’s producing community newsletters, creating a blog (‘The Deviller is in the Details’ – Follow me!), or writing a fairy tale to get over a bad break-up. For my dad, projects mean online shopping and research. Throughout the past decade, he’s shopped around for campers, four-wheelers, boats, trailers, and camps though he hasn’t purchased any of these toys. So when dad started looking for a cat, my family and I kind of thought he’d eventually find something new and forget the idea.

In the beginning, my mom was far from thrilled about the idea and quickly put a kibosh on the whole thing. But that didn’t deter dad and he continued to conduct his research ‘just for fun.’ This went on for weeks and every once in a while a cat in particular would catch his interest. He’d make the cat’s picture his desktop, name the kittens, and would talk for days about getting the friendly feline. Before too long, mom started helping name the cats and we knew it would only be a matter of time before dad would get his way.

One day, just before Christmas, another cat piqued his fancy. Her name was “Libby” and she was a tri-colored calico, which means she was predominantly white with tan and black splotches on her face and chest. She was on sale at the SPCA since she’d been at the shelter for over a year. With new found determination, dad chose her and started filling out the paperwork.

This is the ploy dad used to get his cat. He picked Libby at the SPCA and then talked Jessica, my sister, into ‘wanting’ her. Then he convinced mom that Jessica was getting the cat and that when/if she moved in the future, the cat would come to live with my parents.

We arrived at the SPCA with paperwork in hand. Mom stayed home, but had warned that if Libby wasn’t a good cat, not to get her. Jessica and Dad went straight to the fat calico and started to play with her. The staff seemed excited that Libby was finally being adopted after all this time. I wandered through the rest of the cages browsing and found myself facing an orange striped cat. She looked just like the cat I had growing up and I began to play with ‘Robyn” and talking to her in a soothing voice. There were two rows of cages and this cat was on the top row. As I played with her, I felt something on my leg.

In the cage below, there were two grey cats and one of them was reaching his paw between the bars and smacking me. I crouched down and started petting him. He was desperate for attention and pressed himself hard against the cage.

“You’re a needy-Lisa cat,” I said affectionately, referencing one of my exes, and laughed.

As I had been exploring our options, my sister and dad had ruled out Libby. She was friendly enough, but wandered off and hid behind a desk within the first few minutes of being let out. That, matched with the fact the chunky cat shed white fur by the bushel, resulted in my family following my lead.

They came over and looked at the orange tabby and then, like me, were pawed by the grey cat. They were sold. Dad signed the paperwork and we had ourselves a needy kitty named “Grayson.” I felt that naming a grey cat Grayson was a bit too on the nose and so our new cat became “Grayson Johnny Catfire.”

The first night at home, Grayson was somewhat timid and hid in a bedroom, but by the next morning he was sitting on laps and begging for attention.

We had Grayson de-clawed (I realize the questionable ethics of this, but it wasn’t my choice). So on the fourth day with us, he was walking around with two purple bandages on his feet. My mom’s motherly instincts went into overdrive and throughout that day and night of coddling she fell in love. She tried to convince Jessica to let her keep Grayson and when Jessica wanted him, my dad finally got a cat of his own: “Jaydon Piper Catface.”

As I said in my column on pet rats, I haven’t been a big pet person in a long while, but Grayson has a way about him. As we saw at the shelter, he is super needy and wants constant attention. Whenever my sister or I leave the apartment, he meows for us to come back. But it’s nice to have the company and the unconditional enjoyment of our presence. Grayson is so needy, that one day I was showering and he jumped in with me. He quickly jumped out upon realizing he was getting very wet, but that’s some crazy devotion. He is the most relaxed cat we’ve ever had and will stay wherever you put him. He also has the bad habit of chewing on headphones. I’ve gone through six pair and now buy them in bulk.

A big issue my family has been having is using the proper pronoun. We had a female cat and a male dog for over ten years, so Grayson is regularly referred to as a ‘she’ or ‘her.’ He doesn’t seem to mind.

Pets are a wonderful addition to any family and if you’re feeling lonely or a bit bored they may be just what you need! Your local shelter is likely overflowing with adorable animals who are excited to have a new home. So if you’re at all interested, give them a visit and find out some more information.

It’s cheaper than buying a camper or a boat.

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One Response to Act Your Age… Getting A Cat

  1. Anonymous says:

    >Hey Jeff, nice article……….I had to chuckle a little at your mom and dad's antics….too funny. Your mom sure loves her new friend Jaydon! She speaks of her almost everyday.Louise H.

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