Suckers gotta suck….

There’s one born every minute they say, and if you believe it was P.T. Barnum who said it, then you’re one, too.

I bring this up because sometimes the gods use that instinct of ours, the gut feeling to sypathise or empathise with other people, animals, plats, to make us do things that, if we really sat and thought about it, weighed pros and cons like responsible adults and all, we’d probably decide against doing because when you put it on paper, it seems like a bad idea to go forward.

Nobody ever did anything worth doing because they second-guessed themselves and decided against doing the thing. Many of us just exist because we do that until we’ve managed to talk ourselves into a merely adequate life. Adequacy works for a lot of people, a lot of people are perfectly happy with that kind of life, so the reasoning that keeps them from doing more is actually good for them, because deep down, they don’t really want more, and that’s OK. But what of those who have simply trained themselves to accept adequacy, really aren’t happy with it, but have been beaten down by so much for just long enough to convince themselves that adequacy is “what is best for them” simply because they fear the prospect of failure? It’s really kind of jarring to think about, but it’s not necessarily why I bring this up, though who knows what these events are laying the stones in a path toward?

On 28 February 2015, I decided to be a responsible adult. I loaded up my shopping cart with the recycling, wheeled it down to the drop-off station less than half a mile from the building, and I figured “hey, it’s not even 3 o’clock, yet, the bus is going until 6:30-ish, I’ll go and get some cat litter, I don’t think I have since late December or very early in January. I’m up and about absurdly early for me, might as well be a responsible adult.”

I had no idea what I was in for.

I did this expecting to do nothing more than buy cat litter, so I wheeled my shopping cart over to the bus stop, and got off at the Arborland plaza to get my Blue Buffalo cat litter from PetCo (it really is my most economically sound option, by volume, and it’s so much lighter than clay!). Sixty feet, or somewhere in the vicinity of that from the PetCo doors, I saw the sandwich sign; I couldn’t read it yet, but I’ve seen that ding-danged sign and others like it before, I knew what it meant: There was an adoption event. I was going to walk right in the door and see a gaggle of poor babies, cats who’re currently being fostered, some with just terribly heartbreaking stories.

Fuck.

I really didn’t think I needed that. Plus, since tradition is to pull this shit on a Sunday, I had every reason to assume that i was safe from the poor homeless kitties.

Being a sucker, I told myself I was just going to take a look, maybe pet someone or two, and then get my cat litter and get out of there.

Ha!

Her name was Phoebe. She was huddled up in the tiny litter pan that they put in the crate, and so stressed that she was projectile shedding into the next three crates over, but I read her little story on the sheet clipped to her crate. She was likely abandoned (like my Nigel), and she found a nice person (read: she found a sucker, just like my Nigel) when she was very pregnant (like my dearly departed Vermin, who died January 2013 of cancer in her jaw, before she ended up with the rescue group), but the kittens were stillborn due to her being only about 7months old and malnourishment from either extreme neglect or prolonged time on the streets. I started talking to her and she looked up at me and got that squinty, slow-blinky face when a cat is content and trusting.

Her foster lady was there. Phoebe had been in foster for about two years because she just stresses out so much at the adoption events. I was literally the only person who’d showed serious interest in her this whole two years.

Now, I’d been kind of toying with the idea of a second cat since about December, when one of the roommates decided to do the exact opposite of addressing her cat’s emotional needs and shut that poor creature in her room 24-7. The reason being that her cat is so neuroticly fearful of other cats that Nigel literally can’t come within eight feet without that poor cat going ballistic — this is not an unworkable problem, but locking up a cat in a bedroom 24-7 is kind of the exact opposite of addressing the problem; but if you ask Lois, the “reason” is “Nigel attacks Cleo”, which she can’t even say, cos just being in the same room as these situations doesn’t mean that she really ever watched what happened, like i did (and trust me, I once sat in the upstairs bathroom for two hours to watch what happens with Nigel and Cleo — Nigel has never “attacked” another cat without provocation in his life, Nigel was hunted by my friend Scott’s cat, Chunk, who is barely 2/3 his size by weight and literally driven under a chair by her for three days, he also was the only cat at the Ingham County Humane Society’s low-cost neuter day who wasn’t screaming bloody murder in the waiting room, AND he also loves playing with kittens at the Ann Arbor Cat Clinic while we’re hanging out an extra 10min before the bus comes back; I know everyone thinks their cat is perfect, but I think in Nigel’s case, he’s pretty damned close). So later in December, Nigel had no other cats to see, not even highly neurotic ones who pee all over their person’s bedroom making the whole upstairs reek, and he started getting *annoying*, to the point where I could barely work, even on the days the seasonal depression wasn’t so bad, cos I was the only social outlet for this poor beasty, and I was just barely mentally able and hunched over in pain cos below-freezing weather always seems to make my back worse. He was so happy when we lived in Lansing and he had his little friend on the porch who’d come in for about 5min a day to play with him. But I had to think about actually getting a new cat.

I went home and did the maths, and Nigel, on an average month, costs me only about $30-$35, and I figured a second cat would bump that up to about $50 per month, which is totally workable for me (especially cos I’m kind of ridiculous in that I’ll willingly do without so that my cats won’t have to). Then I just needed the adoption fee.

That was when a friend involved in New Orleans voodoo told me that they got a sweet payout on stuff and felt compelled to help an animal and offered to PayPal me most of the money I needed to adopt Phoebe.

So the gods, the universe, and everything pretty much threw a second cat at me. At that point, I couldn’t say no, could I?

Phoebe and Nigel have been playing together since Thursday afternoon. It’s kind of awesome. They haven’t made a kitty pile, yet, but I’m really glad that my little boy has a new kitty friend.


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About Ruadhán McElroy

Ruadhán has been a traditional Hellenic polytheist for about a decade, and has also maintained devotions to Eros and Apollon most of that time; his status as a devotee of Nyx is more recent. He also paints, makes music, makes jewellery, and writes novels set in the Mod Revival (UK) and Swampie (Oz) subcultures of the 1980s. He also gets a lot of odd little experiences that he jokes will forever render him an insufferable Goth.

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