Quite a “Good Morning!”

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The last thing I want to do when I wake up — or get home from work, or do housework, or come in from outside — is find a tiny present from my cat on the floor/bed/kitchen chair. Realizing the hazards that go along with pet ownership, those ugly little gifts never cease to surprise me. Especially when I have yet to put in my contact lenses and don’t think before I reach down to pick them up off the carpet. Those slimy hairballs still shock me.

My cats are getting old, and I regularly take them to the vet. They’re generally in good health. Some feline ailments are common with age, though, just like with people. So I’m conscious of their behavior, eating habits, and fluid intake and output. I am aware of changes in their litter box, as gross as that may seem to non-cat-owners and haters.

They’re my responsibility, after all. I took on their care when “rescuing” them and accepted the inevitability of hairy furniture and clothing. With time, I even got used to waking up with whiskers brushing my face and beady eyes staring into my soul as a hungry alarm clock. Their purr’s cadence on my chest became a comfort, and they give me so much more than I give them.

I have to remember how much I love them when it’s time to “shave the couch” if I’m hosting book club. When I find the potato chip bag ripped open on the kitchen floor, I tell myself to just clean it up. The same goes for coming home to the trash knocked over and coffee grounds spread across the linoleum. My little girl cat must think she still lives on the streets and must scrounge for her supper.

They didn’t ask to come live with me. I brought outside cats inside my home. So when the boy cat bumps his head against my arm, cries for more to eat, and then yawns his bad breath on me, I remind myself I asked for it. I’ve been an animal lover all my life.

My parents were animal people. Mom let us have cats in the house and taught us to care for them. My dad raised dogs, cats, horses, chickens, goats, and pigs on the farm. My parents brought us up to love animals, and I hope I’m doing the same for my son.

He adores our cats, although he’s still a bit intimated by the dog. As his responsibility for their care increases, so does his general compassion. I hope that capacity extends to people, which our world so desperately needs from children.

Maybe he’ll even help clean up the hairballs one day.

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6 Comments

Filed under life, writing

6 responses to “Quite a “Good Morning!”

  1. I have a cat who routinely sharts on the wall or the bath mat or my laundry. Yet I can’t imagine not having pets in my life, even when I’m cursing them under my breath and they are taking swipes at my ankles. Even when my little alarm clock wakes me up in the morning by attacking my feet.

  2. Ah, the things we do for love. I like how you grudgingly admit that you brought this upon yourself, but there is such a tenderness in your words and the minor sacrifices (hairball patrol and shaving the couch) you make for these animals, and for your son to have the same sort of experience as you did as a kid, well, I think it’s great.

    • You brought back a pleasant thought of an old 10cc song from the ’70s (before your time, I’m sure), so thanks for that. And for your kind words. I really am lucky to have such affectionate pets.

  3. I had animals when I was a kid, but my children are allergic, and I miss having a pet. I would like to get a dog once the kids move out. I liked how you said that you get more from them than you give 🙂

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