On March 7th it will be exactly one year since my partner Matt and I became pet-owners. Here’s how it happened.
One warm Saturday night in February 2012, we were sitting down to watch Tinker, Tailor. Soldier, Spy (I don’t believe anyone who claims they understood that movie, by the way) when we heard a tiny thing meowing at the front door.
We ignored it for a few minutes but the persistent little kitten did not go away. We figured it might leave peacefully if we fed it. I now know how misguided this was. As we had eaten roast duck for dinner, that was what the kitten ate and not surprisingly the meowing continued.
After reading online that we could be fined a large amount of money for detaining someone else’s pet in our house, we borrowed a neighbour’s cat carrier and took the kitten to the local animal shelter. We took a reference number when dropping the kitten off, and started thinking about whether we should adopt the kitten ourselves, as we knew that if it wasn’t claimed or adopted it would be euthanised. The vet had told us the kitten was female, and it was around that time we began referring to our little orphan as Annie.
We went home and continued to watch the movie. In retrospect, my failure to follow the plot was probably due to daydreaming of my new life as a cat-owner whose baby had quite literally turned up on the doorstep.
Despite not being a cat-lover (yet), I couldn’t simply dismiss a little kitten (whose life was literally in our hands) just because its arrival wasn’t in my life plan. The fact that the cat somehow ‘chose us’ only added to the feeling that this new addition was meant to be.
The following weeks involved a call to our land-lady (who turned out to be feline-friendly) and many more to the shelter to check on Annie’s status.
In the end, due to a case of Cat Flu (which is, in fact, a strain of herpes!) the only alternative to us adopting her was to have her put to sleep. Luckily we were well and truly committed to pet ownership by that stage and Annie was ready to join her new adoptive parents.
Unlike most adoptions (I imagine) ours involved a last-minute gender-check and the revelation that Annie was in fact male. We renamed him Nobby that afternoon and I can safely say that he is the most delightful addition to our family.
My biggest reservation to getting a pet was the idea that they tie you down, and I still feel that even though pets don’t have to restrict your actions, if you are a responsible pet owner they probably will.
Cats live a long time. I wonder what will happen if I get another opportunity to live overseas. Would it be cruel to put Nobby in quarantine so we could be reunited in another country? Or heartless to give him away to another family?
Thankfully these aren’t decisions I have to make at the moment, however I’d love to hear about other people’s experiences.
So tell me, have you ever faced the dilemma of getting a pet?