My childhood was relatively pet-free. We had goldfish (do they count?) and later Tigger, a hamster whose early demise it was insinuated I contributed to as a result of sporadic cage cleaning (I have yet to research if a hamster can in fact die from lack of fresh cedar chips). Neither of my parents grew up in the States, and the idea of having a pet dog or cat was not in the vernacular. On top of it they were both very conveniently violently allergic to pet hair.
My aunt, the only self-proclaimed animal lover of my parent’s generation, had a yellow tabby. His name not surprisingly was “Morris”, or “Mo-lee” as we affectionately called him. Morris slept on the sofa in the formal living room flat on his back with all four paws straight in the air like an up-side-down table. It was quite a sight really.
Ironically it was my Mother who spotted him when we were visiting during Christmas break one year. Feeling sorry for the skin-and-bones that professed to be a cat, she placed a bowl of milk in the snow with the “heel” of the bread loaf. Later when my aunt’s cat-posse grew and my parents complained of cat hair, she reminded them how it all began. Mom professing innocence saying she had merely done the humane thing (it was only the heel after-all) but it wasn’t an excuse to bring the cat inside.
I Almost Had Dog (s)
According to family lore, there was a moment in my nascent life I was faced with what I can only imagine was the quandary of a lifetime for a four year old.
My very own Sophie’s Choice.
After 4 years of my parents’ undivided attention I decided a playmate was in order. A vigorous campaign was mounted. I ambushed them, alternating between I want a sister!” and “I want a dog!” No doubt believing that having at least one was a god-given right as an American citizen.
According to my Mom, about 7 months into her pregnancy I did come to her and announce that a dog was preferable. But apparently the “order” had already been placed. I did inquire about the return policy, but there wasn’t one it seemed.
If you know me, you know I have a younger sister Mar. Don’t think I didn’t lord that one over her (“If it wasn’t for me…”).
The Man With Cat(s).
I led most of my adult life sans-pets. Then I met the man who would bring cat (s) into my life.