I am on vacation. This post originally appeared on Los Angeles Moms Blog.
"That's nice. But what about the cats?"
I wasn't always a cat person. That's something that developed over time, when I was a single gal living in an apartment complex that didn't allow dogs - but tolerated pets of the feline persuasion. I adopted my first kitten by accident, when a co-worker tired of the pet he acquired just a few weeks earlier -- and told me he was going to take her to the animal shelter.
I was so clueless, I didn't even know I needed some kind of carrier to take the kitten home. She pooped in my car.
I began to think that taking her on was a big mistake.
We were wary of each other at first, and it took me some time to get used to her ways... like her penchant for perching atop my tallest bookcase, only to pounce on my head when I passed by. Closed doors made her crazy; if I shut her out of the bedroom, she would claw at the door and the carpet until I let her in. She wasn't anything like a dog. She didn't come when called, and tended to ignore me... until I spread out the Sunday paper, which was her cue to sit right on top of whatever I was reading.
But when I came home late after a long day at work, she greeted me with a big meow and a head bump. I'd been living alone for a while by then, and it was nice to have someone who was happy to see me (even if only because she wanted to be fed).
And eventually, I got used to having her around. More than that: I loved her.
By the time I met the man who would become my husband, my household included a second cat. We married, moved into another apartment (no dogs allowed), had a child, bought a house... and brought the cats with us. He would have preferred to own a dog, but we weren't ready to add one to our little family. Besides, we traveled a lot and the cats were fairly low-maintenance. Better to wait until the baby got older.
She's 13 now and while she adores the pets we have, she wants more. Specifically, one she can put on a leash and walk. A dog; maybe a poodle or a corgi.
For nearly a year, she's been surfing pet adoption sites; printing out the profiles of likely suspects. Her dad has been cheering her on.
Me? I've been occupied with a home renovation that has disrupted the lives of every member of our family - including the aforementioned cats, who have largely been relegated to being locked up in a bedroom while an army of contractors paraded through the house. We all agreed that this was not a good time to bring another pet into the house.
The renovation began as emergency repairs, so it was not something we planned to do. It was stressful, and as it dragged on, I found it depressing.
I window-shopped to combat the stress, and found myself spending lots of times at the mall pet store. I have heard all the arguments against buying puppies at the mall...but the little guys in the store were so cute they made me forget that my home was a torn up mess.
There were a couple of times when I thought I'd just forget about being responsible and surprise my husband and daughter with a dog. But those moments were fleeting, and for a while, I kept my puppy obsession a secret.
I realized then that we were ready. We would soon get a dog.
The first phase of the renovation was completed just before Christmas. The holidays have come and gone and my daughter is browsing the pet adoption sites again.I've told her to go ahead and call the rescue organizations holding the ones she thinks she'd like.
I watch our two cats, sleeping peacefully on my bed. The poor little guys don't know what's about to hit them. They may be in for a rough couple of weeks, but they will adjust.
And so will I.