I hope to get back to sharing some link love with you all next week, but today I’m going to tell a personal story about something that happened to us this weekend. We had a bit of a misadventure yesterday. We lost our kitty cat Diva to cancer last July. She was 19. I’d had her for 16 years, and my husband was around for 12 of those. She was a talker, a lap cat who could not get enough petting. I don’t think either one of us have gotten used to not having her in our laps during the day (we both work from home) or hearing her little commentary about how she wasn’t getting enough attention EVER. The holidays were especially tough this year, but we were definitely starting to realize that while we knew we couldn’t replace Diva, we wanted to give a good home to a new kitty cat.
On Friday we (I) started the search. We (I) wanted a Snowshoe, which is a breed that mixes Siamese and American Tabby, and which is the breed Diva was. We (I) also wanted a girl. I was poking around on the Internet and looking at pet rescues when I found THE ONE. She was a seven-month-old Snowshoe who had been abandoned in a dumpster. I showed her picture to Bob, and we both agreed she was too cute to pass up, so I made the call. It was too late in the afternoon for us to go and see her Friday, so we made plans to meet her and pick her up on Saturday. I won’t kid you–I let my imagination run wild. I thought about where to put her dishes, where she would sleep, what it would be like to have her in our laps, all those things. On Saturday morning Bob woke up with a terrible cold, but he pushed through it and we rushed around the house taking down Christmas decorations and getting things ready. I spoke with the adoption counselor and told her our plans–we would go buy supplies (carrier, litter box, litter, toys) and come to the adoption center early in the afternoon.
I won’t keep you in suspense. When we got to the adoption center, we learned immediately that the kitty cat we’d come to claim had been adopted an hour earlier. We weren’t sure what to do. We had our hearts set on her, had already planned everything, had already let our hearts fill up at the thought of her, and then BOOM. No cat. The adoption counselor urged us to look at some of the other kitties for adoption. I halfheartedly petted a few of them and we left, our shiny new cat carrier empty in the backseat of the car.
When we pulled into our garage, my tears started. Any semblance of holiday festivity inside the house was gone, and we were walking in empty-handed. I cried because I miss Diva, I cried because we missed out on the kitty who seemed so perfect (and who no doubt was adopted by a bunch of monsters who could never be as good as us! Never!), I cried because we’d be spending one more night in front of the TV with no kitty curled up in our laps.
I know. Boo hoo. First-world problems. Not the end of the world. I could hear every nasty voice in my head, including the snotty co-worker and several “friends” who think it’s funny (and pathetic) that we had a cat and no children. But we very consciously chose not to have kids, and our pet was not a substitute. After my tears had dried, I realized that it didn’t matter. The kitty we wanted got a home (probably even a good one), and there are still a lot of other kitties back at the center, one who might be ours, who need someone to love them. Diva cannot be replaced, and even though I told myself that wasn’t what I was trying to do, it absolutely was. I wanted something close that might bring her back, but nothing will.
Last night I lay awake for a long time thinking about those kitties we left behind. “I’d have taken any of them,” Bob had told me. “I don’t know how you can pick one.” In response to that, I’d said something about personality, about bonding, but as I heard myself talking I realized, I honestly have no idea. We just pick one. Our kitty doesn’t have to be a Snowshoe. Our kitty doesn’t have to be a girl. But it will be ours.