Monday, April 11, 2011

My first pet.

I wasn’t always a dog person, I mostly considered myself a cat person growing up, I guess because I grew up always wanting to get a cat.  It wasn’t like I never had a pet or anything, but I guess I never felt like I had my own pet.  We had Mr. Moot, this mutt dog that my mom found outside her work long before me or my older brother was a thought in her mind.  He was put sleep, I don’t really remember much about it, but I do know it was sad. He was also super crazy and would like go all insaner every time you walked in the door. Then there was Heidi, who was a great dog and around for a lot of my life growing up, enough so that some people close to me would feel that Heidi should get her own page on this blog. But the problem was Heidi was my mom’s dog all the way.  She didn’t help to shape who I am. The pet where I would start with and who has shaped who I am today, becoming this person who has all these animals that I consider my family, was Taffy.  Taffy was my very first pet I had that was my very own.

I remember being this 8 year old kid and somehow thinking that having a cat would be the best thing in the world. I have the appropriate amount of fish that every kid should. We had a family dog that died of old age and even got another one afterward to replace him.  I don’t know what it was about having a cat that made my desire so strong. Was it the desire to have something that was mine not the families? Or was it that even at 8 I knew something special about the feline species.  Whichever one I remember that I asked both my parents about the cat. And both told me no. This was devastating to my 8 year old heart. But I was never one to back away from a challenge and slowly started working them hoping for victory.  I think that somewhere along the line I had to prove that I was responsible. I’m sure I had to do extra chores or something. I really don’t know anymore its so irrelevant how the process took place.  I just remember the end result.

I can still see the day when I asked my mom “can I have a cat mom” this must have been a fairly regular question I asked usually met with   a “maybe” or “someday” but this day was different.  I guess something must have made them think I was responsible enough because she answered with a very non chalant. “As long as it was ok with your dad” I waited and waited and waited all afternoon for him to come home and ran out to meet in the walk up to the porch. Can I have a cat dad? I asked for the 100th time in that year. “As long as it’s ok with you mom it’s ok with me” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.  It was almost too much for my brain to process.  Both of them said ok!! I think I was stunned for a few seconds and then I realized that I was able to get my cat!!  VICTORY!!!

 Unfortunately what I didn’t know then was that getting the ok was just the first step in getting a cat. Where as most families might head to the local pound and pick out a cat. My family now entered into the research phase of getting a cat.  Some of you might not have a clue what I am talking about but its pretty self explanatory. We have to research cats, and cat breeds, and cat toys, and colors, and pretty much everything cat. This is going to tell us what cat will be best for our family. This was also what my 8 year old self liked to call torture. I just wanted a cat, any cat. I mean the neighbors had kittens they were giving away and I was suddenly not able to get one.   It was confusing because I was thinking that victory was mine. At 8 I didn’t realize what I now know and that that my family likes to research every little decision ever made, sometimes excessively research. So during the research phase I started going to cat shows. I started talking to people about there cats, what the personalities were for each different breed, all the good, the bad, and the in between.  I got this huge cat breed book that I read all the time committing the facts about every breed to memory. And finally narrowing it down to the very unusual Russian Blue or the very elusive Japanese bobtail. Why these I’m not entirely sure anymore. But finally after months and months we (my parents and I) deiced on the Japanese bobtail.

We had met this woman who showed JB’s (Japanese bobtails in case you didn’t figure out.) She was super nice to me, always answered my questions, let me touch her cats, and never seemed to mind this weird kid being her shadow. She knew of some people who breed JB kittens. I think that was how we ended up at Taffy’ house.  I couldn’t tell you where the house was just that it took like an hour to get there. I remember pulling up and knocking on the door. I remember that the guy who answered as wearing red. I remember that there a few kittens to choose from and that I “wasn’t supposed to get my heart set cause we were just looking”. By this point we had seen many a cat and had still not found our cat, so I did take that advice to heart. But this was the first time we were looking at JB kittens, so I was hoping that this would be it. All this research had just made the desire for me to get a cat even greater. Anyways so here we are at this house, I think my mom is asking the appropriate questions, I was playing with the kittens, and this one little orange girl came and curled up in my lap and took a nap.  I was hooked and instantly knew I wanted her sooooo bad. I know that in true parent’s fashion, we had to go and talk about it in the car.  We excused ourselves and went to go sit in my moms little red Subaru as she put her keys in the ignition, I know that she shouldn’t have and even said something about remembering to take them when we left.  We talked, I couldn’t tell you anything about the conversation except that it ended with us deciding to take orange kitten… I was so excited that this was going to be my kitten! We did all the payment stuff and got her all boxed up, then went out to the car and Oh No… like I expected my mom locked the keys in the car.  We had to call my dad to come and open the car for us all the while hanging out at these peoples house waiting for like two hours. You can imagine how anxious I was to just get this kitten home.   Finally he came opened the car and off we were.   My kitten was finally coming home.

Well the first few days were a whirlwind. I had some problems adjusting to not sleeping because the kitten would attack my feet all night.  I had to keep her in my room exclusively for the first few weeks and I remember she wasn’t always great about using the litter box.  She had to learn not to claw the furniture or us. At some point I’m not sure exactly when or why but orange kitten became Taffy.  Taffy was a pretty mellow cat in whole. Even though she was a kitten and had her crazy kitten moments, for the most part she just liked to lie around in a sun beam. She adjusted well to the dog, and the family.  I wanted to show her since I had gotten sucked into the world of cat shows doing all that research stuff.   She was pretty good at it and won a lot of the time. I think looking back a lot of those wins were due to her being an unusual breed that not a lot of people have around, so she won a lot by default I think. Regardless of the reason she got enough points to be considered a grand champion so at this point in her career we stopped showing her and got her fixed.

 She always seemed to gravitate to my father. I think it was because he was this mellow laid back person who is content to just sit in a chair reading or watching TV and Taffy enjoyed that lethargy. I remember a lot of moments where the two of them would have secret pet sessions when he didn’t think I was watching.  Taffy was my pride and joy, even at that young age she was all mine and for that I was so proud.  When we moved and I started having a hard time adjusting to the kids in my new school, I turned to taffy to be my companion and entertainment.  She was my whole world and to a 10 year old that’s a big thing.  When Taffy died I still remember the exact place I was when my mom told me.  I remember breaking into tears and feeling so awful and like life would be over. She was only like two years old, if even that old, and I remember hearing that the vet had offered to do an autopsy and learned that she had a lot of issues with her body. She had a low white blood cell count, something wrong with her kidneys, and maybe even a small heart. She was so mellow because her body was so messed up that all she could do was lie around and be lazy. 

We buried Taffy in the front yard, under this huge rock, and planted some daffodils over her. Every year those flowers came up and I would think about her. I got another cat  a year or two later and he ended up living until the old age of 19, helping to make up for the sudden death of her processor.  It’s weird that even today I think about Taffy frequently. I never really understood why I wanted a cat when I was young.  But now that I have my three cat children, and even though they sometimes drive me nuts sometimes, I am so thankful they are around. They have Taffy to thank for that I think.

No comments:

Post a Comment