Sunday, November 30, 2008

Gidget needs a buddy.

Life with Gidget was going deceivingly easy. Other than routine vet visits such as shots, spaying, and yearly checkups she very little trouble. She had one UTI, which after a minor freakout, I realized was minor and easily treated with some antibiotics. Around 3 years after i brought Gidget home, I was driving aimlessly around San Diego one day, just killing some time before heading home to get ready for work. One left turn led to another and I found myself in front of the San Diego Animal Shelter. I figured that I could just go in and look around. No harm in that right?

Well, the helpful staff told that if I saw an animal I wanted to meet to let them know. I hadn't even walked 15 feet into the cat ward when I saw him: 18 lbs of sleek black fur with the brightest Amber yellow eyes staring right at me. Even though I swore I was "just looking" I wrote down this guys cell number and went to find the staff member who had steered me over to the cats. She brought me inside the little enclosure, removed the mini jaguar from his cage and handed him over to me. Immediately he grabbed on to both of my shoulders and began to purr and headbutt me with his black velvet face. There was no "sleep on it" or time to decide. This little lovebug was coming home with me. After all, Gidget certainly need a buddy to play with when we were gone, right? The shelter worked explained that he was around 1-2 years old and had been turned in by his previous family for playing too much with the kids. Wow, what an awesome excuse to dump your pet at the pound... I had to wait a few days to bring him home since he needed to be neutered, but the paperwork was all signed. I decided to name him "Webber" after Chris Webber who was one of my favorite basketball players at the time (Go Kings!). I waited 3 loooong days than I rushed back to the shelter to being my new buddy home.

Gidget was not impressed. The queen bee seemed to look at us with seething hatred for bringing this rough housing rapscallion into her domain. It was the first time I heard her now all too familiar "Gidget growl." It's reminiscent of a grumpy old man who grumbles about the neighbor's kids blasting their music too loud. Bless his heart, Webber loved to hide and pounce on Gidget when she was walking across the living room. At 18lbs, he outweighed the Gidge by a cool 10-11lbs. He never hurt her, but he certainly got on her nerves. We dubbed the attacks "Webber death roles" as it reminded us of the term used to describe how a crocodile wrestles down its prey. Webber would jump on her back and then role 2 or 3 times with Gidget wrapped underneath him. I began to question whether or not Gidget truly "needed" a playmate. Like me, she may have been just peachy being an only child.

Despite the "death roles" and "Gidget growls" Webber and the Gidge got along rather well after 6 months or so. They would leave the house together and come back later in the evening usually within a few minutes of each other. Gidget would then retire to my room for the night, and Webber would typically stay out with me and the roommates entertaining us with his antics. His favorite thing to do was to pull out stacks of DVD's on our TV stand, lay down in the vacant spot for no longer than 45 seconds, and then go about his merry way. If we dared to re-stack the movies, they were promptly removed for another 45 second hiding spot. His other trick was "climb the tree." For this, we would stick out our sweatshirt clad arm at a 45 degree angle from our body and say "Webber kitty, climb the tree!" and he would twitch his tail, jump up and wrap his entire body around the arm. It was certainly our house's fun little parlor trick to show guests when they came over. And of course, anyone who knew me back then knew that the cats would follow us to our favorite watering hole, The Catalina lounge. I lost count of how many times I would have to snatch up both cats, hike back up the hill carrying two furry bodies with flailing legs. After awhile, the novelty of it wore off and it just got annoying. We would think they were nowhere to be seen, and then right as we are at the base of the hill we hear two jingling bells and see two pairs of eyes making their way down the hill to join us. One evening I thought, "oh what the hell, I wonder if the bartender will notice if they are here." She did, and she didn't even bat an eye. Turns out, she lives on our street and my whorish cats would spend some days hanging out with her on her patio while she watered her plants. She was tickled to have them in the bar on the slow nights. Man I miss that bar.

How it all began

I always had pets growing up so I guess you could say it was my dad's fault that I ended up as the "animal person" amongst my friends. It was only a matter of time once I was out on my own that I would bring home something that sheds and requires constant attention. I was 20 when temptation finally got the best of me.

My roommate and I had plans to go out to the bars in Pacific Beach, and decided that nothing we had in our closets was wearable. No doubt about it, we needed to go out to Grossmont Center to find the perfect "boob shirts" to go bar hop in. After snatching up our must-have shirts, we happened to pass by the mall pet store. This was naturally LONG before I knew of puppy mills, and all the other unsavory practices supported by pet stores. Back then, it was just a store that happened to carry animals. And damn, were they ever cute. It was impossible for me to pass by and not oo and aw over the little fluffballs. But today, my window shopping was about to end up with an impulse buy that is currently curled up on the bed almost 8 years later.

Ok, so all kittens are cute. But Gidget was the cutest kitten I have ever seen. In the cage were about 5-6 kittens, all black and white mewing sweetly at onlookers. As my roommate and I cooed at the little buggers, my gaze found the queen b, sprawled on her back at the bottom of the cage with one arm dramatically draped over her face as if to say " these accommodations are far too meager for someone so beautiful." I knew right then that this drama queen was coming home with me, no matter what the cost, which was $129.99 for the kitten and another $100 or so on the litter box ,kitty litter and other accessories. She weighed a whopping 1.7lbs. As we walked out the car with our new buddy, reality set in. Our other roommate was very clear on something which we chose to ignore 15 minutes earlier: she HATES cats. As we drove home, we started brainstorming ideas as to how to get away with this without our roommate murdering us in our sleep. The solution? Hide the cat until she left to go out of town for the weekend. It wasn't hard to convince our neighbors to be accomplices in our plan to sneak Gidget into their house and let her hide out there while our roommate packed up and left. We had the whole weekend to come up with a good excuse for this grey purrball's presence in our house, but came up empty. We had to just decided to hope against all odds that her overwhelming cuteness would win our roommate over and her lifelong hatred of cats would be erased in one fell swoop of those velvety paws.

The fateful night came fast. We had anticipated her coming home a day or two later, but we were wrong. Instead, we were out on the town and our roommate came home to a dark house and something furry rubbing against her legs. It wasn't how we planned on their first meeting. As I braced for her telling us that either we got rid of the cat or moved out, she surprised us both. She told us that while she was definitely pissed off that we went behind her back knowing that she hated cats, she also couldn't deny that Gidget was entirely too cute for words, and that as long as we kept the litter box clean, and picked up the slack and vacuumed more often, we could keep the little gray diva. Within weeks, Gidget and the cat hater, were best buddies and I was beginning to learn all about the responsibilities of pet ownership.


Ok, so really, this is my second attempt at blogging and hopefully this time I can stick with it, and produce something actually worth reading. So in thinking about what subject I could write about frequently, my gaze found the yellow shedding machine sleeping peacefully on the other side of the couch. I figured that since he, and his small fluffy feline minions provide me with endless stories, I could certainly get the ball rolling with a few of those and see where this takes me. If anything, some bad dog/bad cat stories are easy for some of you to identify with.