Today's post isn't about weight loss. It's about me and my husband learning to adjust to living with cats. First, you have to understand that neither he nor I are cat people. Please, let me explain. In 1997. after graduating from college, I got a dog. Bear (I didn't name him), was black lab, boarder collie mix. He was full of life and the most loving animal I have ever known. I found Bear in a local paper and when I left to go look at him, my mother's last words to me were, "DO NOT bring him home if he's nothing but a ball of energy!". So, I set off to take a look at this dog that I more than likely wouldn't bring home. All I knew was he was between three and four years old and he was a black lab mix.
Once I got to the home, this big bouncing ball of fur pounced out the door and on to me. All he wanted was to to be played with and loved on. There was something about him that told me I couldn't leave him there. So, after assuring the owner he was in good hands and giving my vet. references, I said the magic words, " Wanna go bye-bye?" That was it. He took off towards my car in a full stride. By the time I caught I up to him, I could see him sitting by the car door, tail wagging, and what to me looked like a smile on his face. To be honest, I felt really bad for the owner, who was in tears. I could tell she loved this dog. The only other thing I knew was that she was going through a tough divorce and that she could not have Bear in her new place. So, with another jump, he was in my back seat and we were off to my house.
Once home, many things became obvious. The first was that he had not come from a loving and caring home. I believe the woman did love and try to care for him, but he was scared to death of men. My father would try to play with him and he would whimper and hide. The same thing would happen if my father or anyone would try to throw food to him. Other than these signs, he was a loving, caring, empathetic creature who seemed to be very happy to be in his new home.
Over the years, Bear and I moved on. He watched me go on many dates and never seemed to give any of the men the time of day. If I would have a date over, Bear would stay near me, but he would never engage anyone. That is until my husband. On our first date, we ended back at my place to play Trivia Pursuit. I later found this was a test of my intelligence....thank goodness I passed. It was when Scott sat down that the strangest thing happened. Bear, jumped up on the couch and placed his head in Scott's lap. It was as thought Bear was trying to tell me to give this one a chance. To be honest, I am not sure if it wasn't for Bear if I would have even thought about going out with him again. I guess there are just somethings dogs know that we don't.
That brings me to 10 years later. Scott and I are living together and I am an hour away visiting my parents when I receive a text message. It's a photo of Scott holding this tiny orange kitten. Now, i wasn't too shocked as even though we are no cat people, we are humane. This kitten had been outside in the cold for awhile. We had been feeding it and even gave it a safe, warm place to sleep. Apparently, that wasn't good enough. While my husband was getting firewood, this kitten decided to walk right inside, past the dog, and jump up on the couch and take a nap. Despite my attempts to find a home for him, he seemed to nudge his way in our lives and hearts. It took a little longer for Bear to be as open with him but once they learned to live together, things were fine.
Then, a year later, my husband and I are watching T.V. when we hear what sounds like a baby screaming. Because at the time, we lived in a not so nice place, we allowed the sound to go on for a few minutes. When we knew it wasn't going to stop, it dawned on us that it wasn't a child but a kitten making this heart wrenching noise. Sure enough, when we opened out front door, we found a kitten, around four to five weeks old. It had been thrown down the steps to our door. In the process, it had broken it's leg, busted three teeth, and peed itself. Needless to say, we couldn't allow it to suffer. So, as i went to get food for the little thing, my husband (a trained EMT), reset the kitten's leg and wrapped it. Bear became very protective of Bandit (the new cat) from the moment she came in our house. I think he knew she was abused and he remembered what that was like. Bear refused to leave her side and though he was too old to jump up on the bed to lay next to her, he did stand guard next to the bed. Every time she would jump down to use the bathroom or explore, Bear was right there to watch out for her.
Then a year later, when Bear was 19 1/2, yes you read that right, he passed away from a brain tumor. When we brought home his ashes, Bandit curled up next to him and refused to leave his side. She became his protector and it was obvious she missed him. This was the most heart wrenching and loving thing I have ever seen.
Now, all that was to tell you this. Though my husband and I are not cat people, these two cats really did help us through the loss of our dear friend, Bear. However, it is times like this morning where I wonder if maybe we should have tried a little harder to find another home for them. Let me explain.
It's 3am. My husband and I are all cozy asleep in bed when Hunter (the orange cat) decided he wants to walk on us and kneed us. In my half awake state, I move him down towards my feet and begin to fall back asleep. I can feel him walking on the bed again, but since I'm almost back in REM state, I don't really care. Then I hear it. The blood curdling screams from the man I love. Apparently, Hunter, decided to use my husband's chest as a scratching post. Trust me, it's bad enough to be scratched by a cat but it's even worse when you're dead asleep and get woken up by razor sharp nails digging into your chest and face. The words I hear coming from the half asleep man next me are too risque to type here, but I am sure you can all get an idea of what he said. So, as my husband gets out of bed to care for the gashes in his chest and face, I have to smile. Not becasue my husband was hurt, but becasue I know that with out these two animals in our lives, I am not sure how we could have ever handled Bear passing away as well as we did. It's funny, we thought we were saving them, but in reality, they saved us......now if I could just get them to behave more like dogs we'd all be happier and my husband would be less scared.