Cats and other minor catastrophies

I've been robbed.

It's hard to believe. I haven't been personally robbed since college, when someone took my book bag from the unguarded pile they made us leave our stuff in, relieving me tactfully of a gift I didn't like. I was robbed twice more before that: once, someone took my 'Bananas' magazine, featuring Mork and Mindy, out of my locker in grade school...and someone swiped the really cool geode I actually found myself. Of course, by this time the magazine would have been one more mouldering piece of paper I was reluctant to part with, and the geode has probably grown more sparkly in memory.

But this time, something practical was stolen. Are you ready for this?

They stole my recycling bin!!! =8oO

It was a leaky plastic trash barrel, and won't even stand up on its own because of the lost wheels that were once on one side. Really, couldn't they have found their own receptacle? Or used a cardboard box? I might not have even realized--recycling day was just yesterday--but today I got some junk mail, and went to slam-dunk it...and the barrel was gone.

Fortunately they didn't also take the much-more-expensive heavy-duty aluminum scoop shovel I use to clear snow. I suppose I'd better bring that inside from now on, though, and be grateful that my thief stole something I wouldn't have expected to get more than a dollar for at a rummage sale.

While I am still debating the wisdom of getting a cat, I have ordered a litter box, dishes and other cat supplies, which probably indicates that my sensible, cautious brain cells are once again in the minority. I also spent two hours organizing the storage room (for the first time since I moved in almost two years ago.) I figure this will be the best place to set up for any prospective cat to get away from my dog (who, by the way, is currently constipated. I can't find the box of dental floss I recently bought, and hope she didn't eat it.)

Best case scenario: The cat will be friendly, adjust easily to life here, and my dog will quickly become accustomed to it. It will be friendly and affectionate, but content to spend plenty of time sitting on the windowsill watching squirrels on the neighboring roof. Will purr loudly when getting its head scratched.

Alternative possibillities:
It will be one of those cats that just don't purr. Or never wants to be held. Or wants attention constantly.
It will shed as much as my dog does and I'll live out my days in ankle-deep pet hair.
It will never fit in and spend its days in hiding, only coming out at night so that my pooch wakes me constantly barking at it.
It will adjust too well and torture my dog.
It will simply vanish, and I will have to spend the rest of my life wondering whether the dog ate it, whether it died in some hidey hole, or whether it found an unknown escape passage to outdoors or Cat Space.
The dog will never get tired of barking herself silly at the cat.

I have never owned a cat myself, but enjoy other peoples' cats. We had some household cats as I was growing up, but they all suffered the same fate: when my mother got paranoid about the smell of the house, the cats either became outdoor pets (to vanish sooner or later) or were given away.

I have always had a soft spot for grey tabbies, especially. We had two of those...the first was a huge one named Doobie, half of a pair of someone else's cast-off cats my mom took in. I have a really vague memory of Doobie having a single fluffy grey kitten while she was with us. The other tabby came as part of another pair when I was in my teens, the last cats in our family before we all went our separate ways.

My sister brought home a pair of barn cats one of her boyfriends let her have. One was a big, white tomcat she named Arthur, and the other was a timid tabby named Guinevere. (roll eyes at my teen sister's cat naming fancies.) Well, not really warming to Arthur (who stalked around in a friendly but smug way and clearly expected admiration from all) I cornered the terror-stricken, bullied tabby cat and fussed over her at every opportunity. She was clearly not used to attention, but after a little while, she absolutely fell in love with me. When I'd come home, she'd run to me, meowing. She'd jump up on every chair I passed in hope of a pat, and I couldn't sit down without her plunking in my lap to rub up against me. It was touching, but annoying. Still, she wasn't officially my cat, nor did I pay the food bills...and when my mother decided it was time for them to go to someone else's barn, I didn't have any say in the matter. Still, I feel bad about it even now, and wonder how Guinevere adapted to going back to the barn-cat life, and if she missed me desperately. Poor, lonely little cat. If I could go back in time, I'd be a more rebellious kid, and that would have been one thing I'd have rebelled about.

Other family cats...Boots was a Siamese we owned when I was pretty young. I only really remember that he pooped behind a horrible avocado-colored chair we had once, as a protest when we had guests over, and that he disappeared for three weeks once and came back. And along with Doobie the Tabby came a nameless Himalayan cat who was so terrified that we hardly ever saw her come out of hiding, and when she did she slunk along as if she was being tracked by vampires, and knew it. At one point, too, my brother and sister each got a kitten. (I had had a parakeet, and the former family dog had been sort of mine--that's another story--so it was their turn for pets.) My brother had an orange barn cat with seven toes on each foot, named Heathcliff after the cartoon cat. My sister got a lanky half-Siamese from a boyfriend and named it Caspian (after Prince C of Narnia.) They were both house cats at the start, and Caspian used to leave mouse parts on my sister's pillow. (Oops, forgot to mention that possibility in the list above...though I don't think I have mice here. Just monster house centipedes...) Eventually, of course, they became outdoor cats (my dad opened the garage door one night to find six skunks happily eating out of the cat dish) which was the beginning of the end for them. Heathcliff was hit by a car. Caspian...well, he sat in some spilled antifreeze, and his butt, tail and hind legs went bald...and not long after that he vanished, never to reappear.

Anyway, I'm happy to say that my brother and sister have both grown up to flout the family tradition by permanently keeping house cats indoors, as I have done with my dog. (Dogs in our family have had an even worse deal than the cats.)

I haven't entirely decided where to get my cat or kitten from. A friend was looking for someone to take in her cat some time ago, so I might check if she still has him and is looking for a home. The local shelter's adoption fees and demands are a little beyond my current means. $60 to adopt, plus you must either be immediately transported to the vet for cat neutering purposes, or, if the cat's too young, put a $100 neutering depost down at the shelter, refundable one month after you've provided proof of neutering. Meaning, basically, that you need almost $300 in readily disposible cash to adopt a stray kitten. And adopting a grown cat means that, in addition to having to adjust to a new home, it will be recovering from surgery at the same time.

It's simpler to just keep an eye on the paper for cats or kittens in need of a home. In the end, I'll probably just ask around my farmer friends to see which of them has extraneous kittens in their barn. They all do sooner or later.