I never intended to have three cats. Really, I was fine with my aging one, Lola. She had never really forgiven me for giving birth to Jack but had finally warmed up to me many years later.
Then a year and a half ago, Jack made the pitch for a new pet.
Me: We have a pet.
Jack: But she isn’t really mine since you had her before you had me.
I saw the logic in his argument but wasn’t ready to give in yet. I explained that owning a pet is a huge responsibility and that he needed to prove he was up for the challenge. I told him that if he cleaned out Lola’s litter box everyday for a month, I would take it as proof that he was ready for his own pet.
Of course, it didn’t happen. For six months, that is. Then one day last May, he did the job. And he did it again the next day. And the day after that. Everyday for one month.
Jack: Mom, I did it! Can we get a turtle?
A turtle seemed harmless. A turtle seemed cool. I’d long ago put the kibosh on lizards and snakes, but a turtle, specifically, the Red-Eared Slider (the most common pet turtle) seemed reasonable.
Until I polled my parenting listserve.
Parent One: Absolutely do not get a turtle.
Parent Two: We’re in the process of transferring our two turtles out of their 90 gallon tank they’ve outgrown. They require UVA light and UVB light and are very expensive.
Parent Three: Did your son tell you they can live to be 40 years old?
That did it. If our turtle lived to be 40 (and I’m sure it would) I’d be in my 80s and still be a turtle mommy.
I broke the news to the boys. No turtle.
Jack: But Mommy, Colin and I would take Sirius Black (the name they’d already decided on) to college with us.
That’s when I suggested kittens. Two kittens seemed like a good compensation for losing one turtle. I was told that two would be less stressful to Lola, as the little ones would play with each other and not pester her. Plus, one could sleep on Jack’s bed and one could sleep on Colin’s.
We got two kittens. We named them Fang and Fluffy, after Hagrid’s two dogs in Harry Potter. And much like Hagrid’s dogs are facetiously named, Fang is the fluffy and prissy one and Fluffy is the short-haired alpha kitty.
But do these (now full grown) cats “belong” to Jack and Colin. No way. I’m their mommy. They sleep on my bed. They follow me around the house. They don’t consider themselves fed unless I put the food in their bowls. And, you guessed it, Jack no longer helps with the litter box.
I never thought I was a crazy cat lady though until the other day when I tweeted about Fang wanting to play fetch.
No wonder I haven’t been on a date in awhile.