As much as I love animals and support rescues with all of my heart, I understand people’s confusion when they find out I don’t have a pet of my own right now. After all, I have the resources to take care of a pet, the experience and a whole house to myself. So what’s the deal?
There’s no simple answer, but when asked I tell people it’s because I don’t want hair all over my house, accidents on my new carpet or to have to pay for everything that comes along with their care.
All of those things are entirely true.
My OCD flips out when anyone comes to my house, much less a creature roaming around shedding and hacking things up. But the main reason—the one I don’t tell people—is that a) I don’t want to get too attached and b) I don’t want anyone (pet or person) to expect anything from me.
The truth is that I’ve been in “that place” more than I haven’t been lately. By all outward appearances I’m fully functional and fine, but internally I’m anything but.
Don’t worry. I won’t write about it again, as I’ve probably talked about it too much as it is. But as much as I want to pretend things are fine, it’s kind of hard to ignore when all you want to do is absolutely nothing, and anyone—even your own mom—entering your house makes your skin crawl as you fight the urge to clean.
Plus, a majority of the time I feel incapable of taking care of myself and the prospect of having something else to tend to shoots my anxiety up. It’s easier to keep my world very narrow, very controlled and to not get attached to too much.
But easier doesn’t mean better.
And the past couple of weeks I’ve spent entirely too much time looking at cats on the Humane Society website, and then in person, letting myself get a little excited about bringing an animal in. I knew I would want an older cat, one that just needed to live out their days completely spoiled and loved, but I still had a lot of reservations (see above, times 1,263.)
Then I found her.
She’s 10 years old and was brought in only because the previous owners had a baby. That’s the only reason. So after weighing the pros and cons entirely too much, I decided to shut off my brain and bring her home.
I’m still freaking out in a neurotic way, but hoping that along with companionship, this will help me get out of my head, maybe injecting some literal and metaphorical hair and hacking in the places I’ve so carefully controlled to this point.
She’s a short hair, but she’s hairy. She’s calm and clean, but there will be messes. She’s older, but she’ll be loved. Not just because she deserves it, but because I want to let myself love her.
I realize this is a very dramatic interpretation for the simple act of getting a cat, but for me, this will be a huge step.
Because while technically I “saved” her, I’m kind of hoping that she can save me.
(We’ll keep you updated.)
Buy the book. Save a kitten.