I’ve always been a person who has pets in the house, and loves them fiercely. My childhood dog lived for 18 years and was basically the love of my life, up until I met my husband and had actual human babies. I’ll admit that I love my human children more than I loved my dog. A lot more, actually, even though I really, really loved my dog. (Those people who think pets and children are on an equal plane? NOPE. You can love your pets genuinely and wholeheartedly, and you should – but if your house is on fire, you BETTER be fucking RUNNING for your actual children before you help the dog. Right?)
But anyway, pets.
Our dogs have been gone for a few years, and our cat had to be put down when my youngest was a baby. We’ve had a house full of humans for the past few years, until we moved into a new home with in-law suite in the basement. And so followed cohabitating with my mother (easy) and her cat (not).
Don’t get my wrong; I love the cat. Mostly. Like, I care about his well-being and think he’s beautiful and as far as cats go, among the friendliest and most charming I’ve ever come across. My kids adore him, and I like him a lot – except for the fact that he destroys everything in the house and gets away with it, because he’s a goddamn cat.
What has he destroyed? Well, for a start…children’s toys. My running shoes. A vase. Paperwork. Miscellaneous textiles. Anything that involves string. Actual walls of the house. Plants. And most importantly, cut flowers.
A few days ago, it was Mother’s Day. One of my kids was vomiting uncontrollably, so I spent most of the day on the couch with him, holding his puke bowl and offering comfort while we watched 2700 episodes of Dino Dan: Trek’s Adventures. It was not exactly what I envisioned for Mother’s Day, but that’s life with kids. It happens.
A bright spot occurred when my husband popped out to grab some pho from a local Vietnamese restaurant, forcing a half-assed celebration of motherhood amid the horrific puke-fest. He returned with with a large bouquet of spring flowers in my favourite colours – pinks, purples, greens and yellows – a lovely surprise that I was grateful for.
Here’s where the cat comes in, and ruins my life. In short: he loves to eat flowers – particularly the leaves. He smells them from a mile away, locks eyes on them, climbs over hell or high water to reach them, and then gags them down like it’s a punishment. Like, he basically chokes on them, and keeps going until he throws up violently. LIKE AN IDIOT.
Mother’s Day was no different. It happened almost immediately, like it always does, and is the reason my husband rarely buys me flowers anymore. As I mopped warm cat puke off of my dining room table – THE PLACE WHERE WE EAT DINNER AS A FAMILY, GODDAMMIT – I swore I’d keep him away from my beautiful flowers if it killed me.
We started out by shutting the basement door, locking him downstairs with my mom for the rest of the day. It’s not cruel; it’s a 1000 square foot apartment and it’s supposed to be where he lives because HE IS NOT EVEN MY CAT. But anyway, he can’t be locked down there forever; he’s used to having his run of her place and ours. Cut to hours later, when I’m trying to work, flowers a few feet away on a table.
He looks at them, looks at me, and quickly makes his move. Within seconds, he’s choking down a chunk of decorative greenery as if his life depends on it. I chase him away, move the flowers to the end table beside the couch, and sit back down to work as he eyes me from the ottoman.
He pounces. I AM TWO FEET AWAY. He doesn’t care. More gagging, more of me chasing him away, more attempts on his part. What is it with this cat and flowers? It’s like it’s meth, and he’s an addict, and I’m some asshole narc who repeatedly gets in his way.
I finally win, sort of, when he gives up for a while. But I have to pee, and also, it’s getting late. I need to make my daughter’s lunch and go to bed before the sun comes up.
I chance it by going to the bathroom for 30 seconds. Bad call, obviously. When I return, he’s gagging and several of my flowers are in shreds next to the vase. DAMMIT.
It’s time to make school lunches, so naturally, I bring the flowers to the kitchen with me. This was my Mother’s Day gift, remember – I will save these flowers if it’s the last thing I do. Which it might be, because the stupid cat is now full-on chasing me as I dart away, cradling a vase of half-destroyed flowers in my arms like some sort of deranged bridesmaid. This is so stupid. I am running away from a cat in my own home. BUT I NEED TO WIN. If the cat wins, my husband will take his victory as a sign and never buy me flowers again. Ugh. We need a dog.
Now at my breaking point, I gently toss the cat back downstairs to my mom’s apartment, closing the door and placing the flowers at the centre of my kitchen table. They look magnificent, despite their slightly torn appearance, and I feel that I have protected through yet another day. Maybe I’ll get flowers for my birthday after all, if these survive.
Probably not. But a girl can dream.