I’m gazing down at a fly screen, and thinking that I seem to be a bit cursed with animals at the moment.
After my post about the pound, I made all the arrangements for our new little dog. I bought an overpriced shiny collar and leash, dog bowls, and the food that costs more per square ounce than solid gold. I got a variety of comfy beds and scattered them strategically over the house. And then I bounced up to the animal shelter all bright and eager and ready to bring home the newest member of the family.
Only to find they’d made an ‘admin error’ and sold the dog to someone else.
The woman at reception had the good grace to look embarrassed.
“These things happen,” she said, with one of those expressive, full body shrugs. Even her toes seemed to be saying “Whatcha gonna do?”
She leaned across the counter comfortingly. “At least you know he went to a good home.”
Yeah. Tell that to my children, lady. It’ll totally wipe out the devastation.
I did some deep breathing and tried to work out how to salvage the situation. Maybe a dog was a mistake anyway. They’re pretty needy, with the walking and the company and the running around with little plastic bags cleaning up. Maybe… a cat! There are many, many homeless cats, I see the pleading ads on Facebook all the time.
I went and poked around the cattery until a smiling member of staff waylaid me. I pointed out a selection of doe-eyed, beautiful kittens that I was interested in. The smile faded.
“Oh, I’m sorry. Those kittens are spoken for.” She led the way to a different cage and gestured to a collection of battle scarred moggies. “All of these cats are looking for homes.”
She opened the door and the motley assortment oozed out and started circling my legs. I will not be shallow and looks focused, I told myself. Having a full set of ears is unimportant. One is plenty.
I picked up a very plain tabby who rubbed herself against me in a paroxysm of delight at the attention. “Oh, you’re friendly,” I cooed. “Want to come home with me?”
I looked up to find the staff member gazing at the cat in dawning horror. “That one appears to have ringworm,” she said, snatching it back. “Maybe wash your hands. A couple of times. And throw out those clothes.”
As I drove away from the pound, psychosomatically itching, I swore I was done with the place. Admin screw ups and plague animals, enough already. I answered a private advert on gumtree and within three days was the proud owner of a perfectly normal, healthy, ginger cat, which had been dumped by its owners and taken in by some good Samaritans. The children were staying with their father so the plan was to let it settle in for a few days before introducing them to their new pet. In the spirit of motherly wisdom, I didn’t actually mention it to them on the phone.
Maybe I’m a little bit psychic. Because this sounds like a happy ending, huh? Until I get to the fly screen at the beginning of the post.
The cat and I had a perfect first evening together. We sat on the sofa and I brushed him, and he purred, and it was the start of a beautiful friendship.
Sometime during the night, no doubt meowing the theme tune to the Great Escape, the damn cat busted out the laundry and fled into the night. Search parties have been issued. Vets have been called. The Council has been notified. Anna is a guilty wreck.
I’m calling this. I’m done on the pet front. Kids, you’re getting a robot dog. Mummy’s nerves can’t stand the strain.