Sun Ra - Column for 10/4

Felis Novis

Well, we adopted a cat.

Last Wednesday night, to be precise. We'd visited our local Petsmart store on Saturday, to look at dogs, as a matter of fact. A rescue agency was showing some of their dogs who need homes, so we trundled up there to have a gander at them. And, after seeing the dogs, we went over to have a look at the cats that some other rescue agency had left stacked in crates by the front wall.

Just to make things clear, we still want a dog - we've wanted both a cat and a dog for a while - but the dog people are wildly slow about getting back to us. I sent them a completed application form last Monday, and on Friday I recieved a reply to "Mr. Kilawski" (for the strangers among you, a strange conflation of my first and last names) telling me that someone would be in touch about having Boris (the dog we liked) over for a visit. No one has been in touch - I suppose somewhere a Mr. Kilawski is being surprised by the appearance of a woman with a sweet doberman/hound mix on his doorstep.

So the dog thing is ongoing. As I say, we went to look at the dogs, but since we were there we had a look at the cats and took one ostensibly two-year-old cat into a back room for a test drive. Most of the cats there were kittens; not surprising, given that most cat buyers want kittens. But we wanted an adult, since we didn't have the time or the inclination to raise a kitten. We wanted a fully functioning cat with a solidified personality that we could observe ahead of time.

We liked Cat #8163 - he was very mellow, meaning I could toss him around and scoop him up and manhandle him and he just put up with it, no complaints or holding onto things with his claws or anything. And he was interested in people, so if you showed him some attention he'd come over to be petted. Both traits that are not very common to cats and highly desirable (in our eyes).

However, we didn't get the cat on Saturday. I must confess, I played a very passive-aggressive game as regards getting the cat. I want a dog, but am happy to have a cat; my wife wanted a cat, but will be happy with a dog. So I forced her to make the decision on the cat. My final answer was always "He seems to be a very sweet cat; I'd be happy to have him." But I was absolutely not going to be the final decision maker as regards the cat. I'll make the final decision on the dog. The cat had to be my wife's call.

Decision making is one of the little tension spots in the fabric of our relationship. My wife refuses to make final decisions, and I become grumpy when I am forced to make decisions that I don't feel are mine to make. Also when I feel as though I always am the one making the decisions. It's a sort of pre-emptive fight over who will be blamed if things go wrong. (I'm sure this sort of thing is not news to the married among you.) So although we liked little 8163, we didn't take him home with us. Not then.

But then on Wednesday night my wife had a Girl Moment and decided that she needed more loving - partially, I suspect, as I was playing on the computer at the time - so we decided do drive up to the pet store and see if the cat we had played with on Saturday was still there. He was, so we posted his bail and took him home.

He's turned out to be a very good cat. The personality we had test driven seems to be very much the case - extremely mellow, affectionate, not jumpy. He's also a look-before-you-leap sort of cat, which is excellent as we are keeping him in the house for a few weeks so that he will come to think of it as home. I had visions of opening the front door with my arms full of groceries and having him dart out between my legs, but no such problem. He just sits there, looking out with interest, but makes no attempt to bolt.

He's also a fine lap cat - you pick him up, put him in your lap, push him down to indicate that you want him to lie down, and he snuggles in for some petting. My wife has taken him to the vet twice now, and neither time was he any real trouble. He puts up with a lot, he does.

We've named him Balthazar. Actually, I named him Balthazar, and my wife sort of accepted it. For some time she thought that I was naming him after a movie villain, despite my protestations that Balthazar was one of the three wise men. Fortunately, the Internet backed me up when she went to look it up. (Although I am informed latterly that Balthazar is the name of the bad guy on the television show Charmed, and also was a villain in Battlestar Galactica. Ah, well.)

So there you have it. The family is growing, albeit not, apparently, as rapidly as Pakeha's.

- Sun Ra

Columns by Sun Ra