If you read “Good Mousekeeping” or scan the mewspaper, then you’ve probably heard that the cat I gave away six years ago has been returned to me. The cat – indeed – came back.
You don’t consider this when you give away a pet. It’s not a thought in your head that the animal, that everyone is bawling their eyes out over, as you’re handing over its favorite catnip toy, is just going for a long visit. And will one day be returned to you.
I know I wasn’t thinking I’d see this cat again, and I was distraught over it. I don’t know how my parents did it. I remember my beagle, Barney, being sent to a farm, coincidentally after he found a pick in the kitchen wallpaper and managed to pull off three walls with his teeth. As a child, I didn’t question it. It seemed logical he was sent to a farm. Farms don’t have wallpaper.
And neither did we. But what we did have were allergies. And when it was determined that my son and I were allergic to cat dander, we were forced to find Nikki a new home.
Nikki’s a korat – a natural breed, originating in Thailand. Known as the “good luck cat,” korats are given in pairs, for instance to newlyweds, as gifts for good luck.
And isn’t she the gift that keeps on giving? She was given to a pound, then given to me, then given to a nice man, but because of his own health issues, was given back to me. This cat has been re-gifted more times than my own newlywed gift, which was a fondue set – arguably, much more of a fuss than even a cat.
Now she’s back, and that is good luck. Only way I could have been any luckier was if I still had her bowl, litter box, brush, food, monogrammed Christmas stocking and her crinkle ball. A 20-pound bag of Purina. And a lifetime supply of Zyrtec.
And while I’m so happy she’s home, I just can’t have her in my room. I try to explain the allergy thing to her, but she just hisses and beats her tail on the ground. And at night she hurls herself at my bedroom door and meows something to the effect of, “Six years and I can’t even get a cat nap?”
So guilt and shame have gotten the better of me. And now I sleep in a hazmat suit and breathe through a tube, while she sleeps at the foot of the bed. We use rubber gloves to pet her and quickly roll each other with a lint brush. We stockpile filters, Visine and Kleenex. We wear face masks and we ration Benadryl. It’s the catpocalypse.
I don’t know – fondue just might be easier.