Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I Believe It Is Called a Menagerie

I have always been a lover of animals. My mom told me once before I moved out of her house that she had had a nightmare that she came to visit adult me and had to literally step over animals no matter where she went. I promised her at that time that it would never be that bad. While I was growing up my family always had just one dog. This is all well and good because, looking back, that one dog didn’t get nearly the attention and love he deserved. I was always pestering my parents for more animals, and they thought for some reason that giving me fish would do the trick. Not so much.

When I graduated from college and moved out on my own I adopted a cat from my now husband’s mother, who couldn’t afford to keep all three of hers. My cat, Tigger, has been my steadfast pal through four moves in as many years, and I think quite content to be the only creature in the house. When hubby and I moved into our own home this January we started to contemplate adding to our little family, but not in the same way most newlyweds do. We wanted a dog. So at the end of March we adopted Cleo in to our life. Cleo is a great dog, very low key, and we joke that she is more cat-like than dog-like, and on top of that could care less about Tigger. As a result of Cleo’s addition to the family, Tigger hid out in the one room Cleo wasn’t able to go in to only making brief ventures out to go to the litter box and after a month or so to come back to sleeping with me. It took at least four full months before Tigger would venture out regularly to make her patented comments on things or occasionally to curl up on my lap while I’m watching TV. I honestly felt bad for her, and there were times when I would seek her out in her hiding spot to pet her that it looked as if she truly missed the attention.

Hubby decided for an anniversary gift he would take me to a shelter and get me a kitten. For the week prior to our journey to visit with kittys needing a good, loving home, I struggled. On the one hand Tigger had taken this long to adjust to having Cleo in the house, how long would it take for her to adjust to a third animal? On the other hand was the kitten who I knew would likely adjust immediately to the living situation and because it was the same species likely make it easier for Tigger to adjust because she’d lived with other cats before. On yet another hand (three hands, creepy), Tigger might like having a kitten to boss around. I came to terms with the whole situation by the time we hopped in the car to go to the shelter. Really I felt like I was getting a friend for her as much as anything else.

Enter Elwood. Elwood is a wiry five month old tuxedo kitten that had called to me from the pages of for weeks. The shelter suggested we get a young kitten and a boy to make it easier on Tigger. I can tell from their interaction now that Elwood has been with us for over a week that Tigger still doesn’t like it – but accepts it more readily than she did the dog. She knows she can, and will, put Elwood in his place when necessary. Like last night. Tigger was happily laying with me in bed and in blast Elwood and as he flies on to the bed (because we all know kittens don’t actually walk) he discovered that Tigger was where he wanted to be. But Tigger, quickly discerning the situation and not having had a good snuggle in a while put her ears back and gave a low growl. Elwood hopped back a bit and went to lay down next to my husband. Content, Tigger went back to purring. I think Tigger is okay with the situation.

So our house is up to three animals, and I don’t think we will be adding any more any time soon. That will probably make my mom very happy.

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