Monday, May 13, 2013

Future pets

Well, I just looked at my watch... Bonnie's been gone for about half an hour over a week now. There's an entire week now between my life with her, and since. The forever since.

I forgot to mention my discussions with Michelle on the weekend as to future pets for me. I've gotten used to a three-cat home. Right now it's a blessing because if I'd lost Bonnie and was just down to Ally, that would be hard. And if it were just Max and Bonnie, I'd have very been facing a Bonnie with cancer within two months of losing Max. It's selfish but I need more of an emotional safety net than that and with Ally and Seth, at least there's some of that. When Jenny died, I spent a couple of months with just Bonnie, and that was a little lonely, and must have been a bit hollow for her, too, when I was out of the apartment. Max rescued us both from that, for years and years.

Ever since adopting Bonnie, all the cats I've had have been rescued cats... cats who had a home and lost it. Bonnie, Max, Twinkle, Ally, Seth... they were all someone else's cat first, and came to me as adults. I'm still dedicated to that idea but... it's been so long since I've seen a cat grow up. The one and only time was Jenny, who was about four months old when I got her. I've never in my life gotten to name a cat or a dog... at least not and have it stick. I won't rename a pet who's already got a name he or she is used to (nickname, sure; that's different... Refinnej, Bon-Bon/Pumpkin Girl, Weasel/Squeezicus, Alberatsaurus, Sethticus Giganticus, etc, .etc.). What I'm saying here is, I think in a couple of months, sometime well into the summer, I'd like to stock back up the three cats, and for once, probably for last time in my life, I'd like that new cat to be a kitten. If I live long enough, I'll see Ally and Seth pass away, and I pledge to make room in my home for other cats who've had and lost a home. But one more time... I want to watch a kitten grow up.

Nearly ten years ago now, I lost a friend—a human friend—to cancer. He was a very dear friend I knew only from the internet, but we were a daily part of one another's lives for ten years and the distance mattered not a bit. At the end of his life and for a couple of years after, I became close to his father in his own right, and probably spoke with him more in those few years than with my own dad in the past 20. He was another friend I lost to cancer, two years after his son.

The son's name was Jody (the father's, Jim), and he loved cats more than almost anything else in the world. They fascinated him and there were lots of times he said flat out he wished he were one. Though exceedingly intelligent and a talented code writer, he was a very shy young man who died a virgin in his mid-20s. The simplicity of a cat's life deeply appealed to him, but he was born into a species with a more complicated society than he was really suited to. Obviously he never got his wish to be a cat. But it struck me when I was talking this over with Michelle... this kitten... boy or girl, the name "Jody" is appropriate. And it would have delighted Jody to have a cat named after him. So that's what I hope to do in a few months, when the soreness of the hole Bonnie's passing has left heals some and isn't tender, and bringing a new cat home doesn't feel like a slap in the face to her memory. But two or three months isn't all that long. You usually can't adopt a cat until he or she is 6-8 weeks old. So "Jody", this kitten, might already exist somewhere... either in the womb, or already as a newborn. It's a ponderous idea, realizing sitting here right now, that "Jody" could already be sharing the world with me, but not my life yet.

Another reason I'm thinking of moving, and finally getting out of apartment living, is the nagging, on-again-off-again urge over the years to get a dog. I grew up with a couple of dogs. From the time I was seven, until long after I was out on my own, my parents' home had dogs; much earlier than we had a cat (Jenny). Two spaniels, actually, separated by about a year. Astonishingly different in temperament to one another. But it seems natural to have a dog around, and I think if it hadn't been for the rather attentive, direct, vaguely canine natures Bonnie and Max had, I would have felt that more keenly. Where I used to live, what mainly stopped me was that I lived on the 5th floor, and hauling a dog in and out just seemed like too much of a pain in the ass. Besides, I lived alone and was out of the house between 8 and 9 hours a day. Now, the building I bought into doesn't even allow dogs... which frankly I think is a violation of a fundamental human right older than civilization itself and shouldn't even be constitutional. But if I get a place where I'm on the ground floor, and it's got something like a backyard, and it's not such an issue to get out the door and walk for a bit in the good weather, and I'm working from home so I can look after a dog, why in the world shouldn't I do it? I love the idea of being able to go out on weekends and do a little hiking with a dog, or see her sitting in the car seat excited by a trip, hanging around at my feet at home and chasing around with the cats. I really want that. Bringing the dog around to visit my folks, especially my dad who really misses having a dog. Soon it could be possible.

Yeah, I know. Three cats and a dog. But I'm not married. Don't have kids. I have a powerful urge to nurture and support and give and get affection without too too much complication. And it's one more of those things that seems to have opened up in the past week or so. Maybe it's just spiritual junk food I'm feeding myself for a moment to assuage the craving Bonnie's left behind in me. But it's still better than starving.

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