Furry feline finds favor with its foePublished 8:54am Thursday, February 16, 2012
Column: Thanks for Listeningafford
First, I did not tell my friends. Then, of course, as it would be even harder, I did not tell my family. I was in denial. I needed a step program of some sort. My whole life I never thought I would ever go to the dark side.
Here I am.
I have to tell you it still aches just a bit typing these words, but I need to finally come clean.
I own a cat named Larry.
Whoa. I am a bit dizzy, but it is getting better. There it is, world. I have been living a lie. I own a cat named Larry. I typed it again because it helps. It just helps.
Now, to many of you, you may not see this as some revelation, like Susan Boyle’s voice coming out of, well, simply said, Susan Boyle or even Oprah Winfrey finally retiring after years of man bashing, but, to me, this was the hardest thing I have ever had to do.
Please let me explain. I grew up with dogs. I still own two beautiful dogs that I have written about before. We never had cats. As a matter of fact, I hated cats — for no reason. I just liked dogs so much that it was easy to be on the side of the pooches and hate their rivals, those dreaded cats.
I heard a joke a long time ago and thought it was pretty true to form from what I knew about cats and dogs.
What is the difference between cats and dogs?
The dog looks at you and thinks to himself,
“You feed me, you shelter me, you love me. YOU must be GOD!”
The cat looks at you and thinks to himself,
“You feed me, you shelter me, you love me. I must be GOD!”
So now I will type it again: I own a cat named Larry. How ever did I come to be a cat owner, you may ask?
Pure chicanery. It was shenanigans at its finest. My daughter, Tayler, did it, and I did not even see it coming. Oh, it was innocent enough, at first.
My wife, Bonnie, and Tayler brought home one of my co-workers’ newborn kitties and stated, “We are just going to babysit for the weekend.” We wanted to see how the kitty was around Scout and Molly (Scout and Molly are our two dogs, who unwittingly are also being dragged into this conspiracy).
The kitten, which I am pretty sure did not know of the scheme, was at this time nameless, gray, cute and soft. It was only a kitty, and I did not pay much attention to him other than when the dogs would sniff around him and cautiously stay back as to study this new creature in a way I never saw before. The pooches were very restrained as the kitty plunked around the house. The weekend went fine, and I even told my daughter once or twice that the kitty was cute.
It is too bad we have two dogs that need your attention, I said that Sunday night, hoping to appease my daughter, who had to bring the kitty home the next day. I am pretty sure my words did not pacify her because when I got home Monday night, the kitten was still in our home.
I asked, “Why is Kitty still here?”
This not only opened up the floodgates of tears but also ripped off the lid of the whole plot to have a cat as a permanent pet. How did I not see this coming, I ask myself to this very day? How did I not think that a kitty sleepover was anything but a — dang it — a kitty sleepover? I thought I was smart. I went to college. I had street smarts. How did a cute kitty and an even cuter daughter play me like that?
I tried to be the stern father and say no, but with the tears and the dogs looking at me sadly, it was tough. I knew there was one person who I could turn to help me out with this situation. I knew Bonnie, who was afraid of cats, would not let this kitten stay. Together, we could stand in unison the way parents do to fight off the tyranny of everything that children want over the years. This, as you might say, was in the bag.
As I turned to Bonnie for reinforcement, I heard her utter through my daughter’s tears the words I knew would help me out of this sad situation: “We are keeping the kitty.”
Wait! Those are not the words that I thought would be coming. Those are the exact opposite of the words I had assumed would be said. What the? My bride was in on it. (Insert the thought of me shaking my fist in the air as I drop to my knees in defeat because I just lost a battle of epic proportions.)
This Kitty Cat Conspiracy, as it is now known, has changed me in ways that I would never have imagined. I never thought about owning a kitten or even a cat in my whole life. I never thought this tiny little animal could fit into a family with two dogs. I never thought I would grow to say these loving words: I own a cat named Larry, and I like it.
Tribune Publisher Scott Schmeltzer’s column appears every Thursday.