My dad is a cat person to the core. I, on the other hand, am not. Nevertheless, when I moved in with my dad after graduating college, I regularly brought up the subject of him getting a cat. He had been wanting a cat for as long as I could remember but had been putting it off until his home and lifestyle became more cat-friendly. While I was away at college his circumstances changed in such a way he was out of excuses not to get one.
My dad and grandma had a great cat named Patsy whom I remember playing with on my grandma’s ranch as a youngster. My dad loved Patsy and with her in mind gave me five criteria for getting a new cat. The cat had to be: 1) an American short-hair or Tabby, 2) female, 3) not a kitten but also no older than three years old, 4) a ‘lap cat’ that would curl up in his lap while he watched t.v. or read the paper and 5) last but not least the cat must be, as my dad puts it, a ‘fur-person.’ In other words, it must have a distinct personality.
Over a year after I had moved in with my dad I was working a morning shift at Starbucks when my co-worker Tyler mentioned his former roommate was looking for homes for her two cats whom she could not take with her to the apartment where she had recently moved. She had been looking for homes for her cats for several weeks and was on the verge of taking them to the animal shelter. Tyler invited my co-worker Keenan and me to come over later that evening to meet the cats since his ex-roommate planned to take them to the shelter within the next week.
From what Tyler had told me I knew one of the cats did not fit the bill but the second one was a possibility. I arrived with Keenan and we hung out for a bit while the cats warmed up to us. Zoie was rather shy and skittish compared to the other cat but from all I saw and heard it appeared I had found a match.
I knew if I asked dad to come meet Zoie, he would not have gone. It had been decades since he had his own
cat and though he wanted one I think it was easier to keep putting off getting one because he was so used to not having the extra responsibility, the cat hair all over the house or the additional costs to factor into his monthly budget. (Don’t we all do this from time to time when faced with something we want but comes at a price? It seems we too easily forget how responsibilities may require sacrifice and work but they are also very rewarding and fun!)
My dad was at concert with his cousin that night and while they were out, Tyler and I loaded up Zoie, her toys, crate, bowls, scratch post and extra food and took her to my dad’s. When dad returned and I told him we had a cat, I knew the instant I heard his reaction I had made the right decision in bringing her home. Rather then being upset or asking where I got her, the first words to fly out of his mouth and spoken with excited anticipation were: “Where is it?!!”
Day 1 and 2 were a bit rough, mostly on Zoie who refused to come out from behind the entertainment center. Today however she and my dad are pretty inseparable. Were you to meet her now, it would never cross your mind she was once timid and uneasy in my dad’s home. She strolls around like she owns the place and is infamously known for swatting anyone who pets her one too many times or tries to remove her from their lap before she’s ready to vacate, even if she has been camped there for hours! There is no denying she is all the things my dad asked for! My advice to him (and to you!) is to consider being even more specific next time. In his case, he should add to the list: a cat who never hisses at the dog, bites, scratches, swats or wakes him up in the middle of the night!!
Despite the flaws (or is it the claws?) in her disposition, she really is a gift. She has been a great source of entertainment, an energy-efficient lap warmer and has even been a help waking me from naps I over slept! My dad and I could not have found her on our own and it was a cherry on top of this furry banana split she was free!