One of the pieces of advice that I have received numerous times over the years is that a pet will help my mental health. This suggestion was usually met with “uhh I can’t successfully take care of myself so how is it fair to bring some poor innocent animal into this mess?”
I was firmly against the argument that “you’ll have a REASON to be responsible so you’ll step up” because frankly that is how I ended up living this dysfunctional life because apparently, I was supposed to have made my dad more responsible and well, that just never happened. Seeing as I was blessed with his defective genes I just didn’t have high hopes that I might be any different.
Recently, in a fit of loneliness, I decided that I wasn’t getting any younger and I should just give up on trying to be loved by another human being and I was going to look into getting a pet. That is how I found myself at PetSmart one weekend pricing out some very cute crazy cat lady starter kits.
There were lots of really friendly adorable cats, but I was drawn to the fearful recluse in the corner and after finding out she had been in the shelter for years without anyone wanting her I felt some sort of kinship with “the cat nobody wanted”. After daydreaming for a week about how like in some Hallmark special we could “teach each other to love and trust” I went back the next weekend and “rescued” the cat.
As you can imagine, in typical Elena fashion, this was TOTALLY not the case! Once I got the cat home it was so traumatized that it would not come out of a tiny box beside the toilet for two weeks, and if I even tried to get near her she would yowl and hiss at me then swat me. I was starting to think that this cat thing was a really really bad idea.
Over those weeks I spent most of my time crying about how no matter what I did I clearly wasn’t making the cat love me. On one especially traumatic night where I ended up having to get a friend over to help me wrangle the cat after which he declared “congratulations, you have acquired a cat that clearly has more mental issues than you do, and that’s saying something” I despairingly decided that I was so defective I’d never actually make it as a cat lady and for the health of the cat I should return it to the shelter immediately. After reminding me that 11pm on a Saturday night is a bad time to attempt to return your adopted furbaby my friend successfully convinced me to let it stay for a bit and give us both some time to calm down.
After a few days, I decided that I couldn’t return the cat just because she was mental seeing as that would just be a really bad metaphor for how everyone in my life ditches me. So, I sadly resigned myself to the fact that I was in for at least another ten years of unsuccessfully trying to convince someone to love me.
It seemed like no matter how hard I tried to make her trust me I kept doing things that made the cat think I was a threat. One day when she finally let me pet her I started to get excited then I happened to move my hand at the same time as she moved her head and proceeded to jam my finger firmly and directly into her ear, something which apparently cats do not appreciate. Who Knew?!
Another time, after she knocked over a broom and scared the crap out of herself, I went to pick up the broom and actually put it back in the closet so that it wouldn’t happen again but I didn’t realize she had stalked up behind me and as I turned around I came within millimetres of swatting her with it, which for some weird reason, she took as an attack.
Unfortunately, the cat didn’t seem to understand my explaining to her that I’m just very very clumsy and she was so stressed that she was developing bald spots and leaving weird mucous spots from her butt all over the carpet.
Once again, I found myself thinking that I was failing miserably at this cat lady thing and as a friend said “anything that leaves weird butt mucous on my carpet is getting returned immediately” but all of a sudden, she started pooping… and boy did she poop! I scooped poop out of her litter box every 20 minutes for 36 hours (she was at least decent enough to get it ALL in the box).
I couldn’t figure out how so much poop could have been inside such a small cat but it seemed like the more she pooped the friendlier she got. After thinking about it a bit I realized that I had that much poop in me compared to my body weight I’d have been pretty cranky too so I decided to forgive her previous bitchiness.
Things have been slowly getting better since then, but then randomly about a week ago, what seems like all of a sudden and overnight, 7 weeks after I took her home she decided that she was going to turn into the most cuddly needy couch companion I’ve ever met. While she is still afraid of sticks, regularly jumps up and bolts out of the room and won’t let me pick her up or anything, she does gallop into the living room and hop up on the couch beside me as soon as I sit down and demand for me to rub her belly.
I’d like to think it is because she finally decided that I’m not trying to kill her but the more reasonable explanation for the sudden transformation is that she has finally developed a severe case of Stockholm Syndrome. I guess I’ll never know but I have to say I’m enjoying the company and attention so either way… I’ll take it!
~ Elena <3