Thursday, November 06, 2008

My thoughts on: Pets

Lindsey wanted to know my opinion on pets. (She is Sean's sister, fyi.)

I love animals. I had pets growing up. My family was a pet family. (that sounds weird, like we were the pet of a giant. [for instance]) Here's a list of pets we had when I was small, at one time or another:

2 dogs
1 bird
several fish
many many cats
maybe a hamster at one point
probably others

I was a cat-lover. I always loved them and had many as pets. Most of them were my particular pets. I had several: My first was Whiskers, a toy cat that was a gray puppet that squeaked when you punched him in the face (seriously). Then I had real cats: When I was about 11, 12'ish or so, I got Trixie, the trans-gender cat who turned out not to be female after all (my mom wanted to rename him "Tricker." Clever, Mom.) Then came Kitty, (was not feeling creative) then Punk, then Fubbie. Two were female and each bore several batches of babies and kittens are quite possibly the cutest things on the planet. Most of the time the kittens were given away. We kept a couple. I loved the cats. I would play with them and carry them around and take naps with them. Punk would hide in the corner and totally pounce on the unsuspecting you as you passed giving you a small heart attack. She was totally fun, and also a punk. I love cats' friskiness. They just need to pounce and bite sometimes. I can understand that. (<-- that sounds weird.)

Kitty and Punk both had a couple batches of kittens. Kitty died when she was nursing her new babies so we had to buy cat formula and feed and raise them. They all grew up kind of weird. One of them always got into fights and the other one never had a voice. Ha ha. Poor weird cats. Fubbie was the last cat we owned. I picked him up from a smelly household who was giving her away, when i was 22 and living at home. He was tiny. It took a while to get him to eat. I worked all day. Finally I dripped milk into his mouth from my fingertips and he drank, and I knew we were going to be aaalright. I'm pretty sure I imprinted on him (or is it the other way around?) because Fubbie loved to be with me at all times. Followed me around everywhere. When i sat out in the sun, he'd lay on my belly. It was hot, and I'm pretty sure we were both uncomfortable, but it was also love. How can i say no? And he liked to be held like a baby, up on my chest with his nose nuzzled into my neck. You know how babies like to nuzzle their wet noses. All of these cats eventually died, either by other animals' doing or the neighbors' cars. I cried when Fubbie died. Or when I found out he died, the information of which was kept from me for a couple of weeks because I was getting married and they didn't want to upset me, i guess, but someone let it slip.

I'm also a dog-lover. Dogs are great friends. For the majority of my up-until-now life, my family had a dog, the sweetest golden retriever named Zack. He was a jewel in our family. I dreamt about him last night actually. He died, an old dog, just a couple of years ago. But he was the best. So rambunctious and super playful, with the cutest puppy dog face. my brothers used to hang me upside down and Zack would come bite my long hair. I didn't blame him. But I do blame my brothers. Zack would never intentionally hurt a fly and even let the grandkids ride him. I once went out on the patio and he was napping with the cats cozying up to him. Precious. He understood me sometimes. I would talk to him and he would respond as if he knew just what I said. I used to have him do tricks and reward him with treats. When he got old and tired, sometimes I would go out and lay on the grass next to him and pet him and feed him lunch meat. He never really learned how to retrieve. He would go fetch it and then return, hours later, with some other object in his mouth--the neighbors' toys, shoes, and yard things, and bring them to our patio. Uh oh, Zack.

While I love pets and am fully in support of them, I don't much love indoor pets except for birds or fish, etc. It would be a lot of work and I don't think I could ever have a dog inside. Maybe a cat. But dogs need to run around. But this is me. We kids had to feed the animals and brush them from time to time. It's a great responsibility for kids and I think it taught me how to love, at a very early age. Yes. I definitely have a tender spot for pets. Plus, kittens are freaking ADORABLE. You cannot deny it. Sean did not grow up with pets but i think even he would be ok with a cat around.

Also, though I love them, I am not a crazy pet person by any means. I see many crazy city pet owners and they perplex and amuse me. I think it's kind of ridiculous to have a giant dog penned up in your tiny city apartment. I also smirk at all forms of dressing up your dogs and taking them to boutiques and spending ridiculous amounts of money on them. I do not believe pets are people. I once saw a lady pushing a little dog around in a baby stroller. Mystifying. I also don't support allowing dogs to slobber all over my face or eating off my dinner fork, like a friend of mine did (on her). I was appalled and expressed my appallation. Appallment? 100% not ok. This is my opinion.

As a teenager, I had a fish tank with several fish. It was an electronic tank with bubbles and a light and it was a PYRAMID. Hello. I loved it. I'd turn it on at night and watch the fish shadows swim on my walls. Magical. I talked to them & named them but somehow they weren't quite the same as the other pets. So many fish died though. (Bob, you were a fighter. [He outlived his brothers by months, maybe even a year.]) After a while I was tired of flushing them down the toilet without any kind of ceremony so I wrote a poem for them, and I recited it at each flushing/funeral:

Ode to My Dead Fish

As I lay you down to sleep
Although I'm sad, I cannot weep
Because, you see, you are just a fish
And now I'll flush you down this porcelain dish.
Goodbye. Rest in peace.
*flush*

8 comments:

Ashley said...

So many fond memories! I had TOTALLY forgotten about whiskers, the toy cat. And Punk...and Zack! I miss him.

So are you saying that at this point in your life, you'd maybe get a cat — but that's about it? Just curious.

Jen said...

Yes i would say that. I'd love to have a cat but it would be hard with all the maintenance (vet, shots 'n stuff) and also finding people to catsit while we're away.. so probably not going to happen.

This post is pretty lengthy. My apologies.

Lindsey said...

I didn't know you were a pet lover! Thanks for the entry. So cute. It kinda softened my heart... a bit.

Britta said...

Your going on about cats reminded me of a dream I had last night! First you need to know that I live in an OLD TINY house with lots of cracks for bugs to get in, and there are a lot of stray cats around our neighborhood. Well, in my dream, I discovered six cats that had snuck into my house (through the cracks, like bugs) and had been living under a curtain in my house. I was like whoa! How could I not notice this! Three of them were kittens and they were very cute, but I put them all outside anyway, except the one who clamped his claws into my arm. He just lived on me like another appendage for the rest of the dream. The end.

Jen said...

hahahaaa!

Brooke said...

Jen, I'm glad you understand that cats just need to pounce and bite. They probably can sense your understanding, which is why Punk felt okay attacking randomly.

Also, I love the video of the stalking cat you posted. Heart attack!

Ashley said...

Total heart attack.

Except that I had Anna watch it once and she loves it. She's always asking for the cat on the computer. I guess it's not scary to a 2-year-old who hates cats...?

Jen said...

Haha! I love her explosive disdain for cats. That is funny stuff.

The interesting thing I just noticed about this post (isn't it cool to critique one's own post? i bet it's not annoying at all) is that i use brackets within parentheses TWICE. Now what's up with that? Some days it is my dream to use those weird bumpy brackets within brackets within parentheses. But i can't force it. It'll happen when it happens.