When my wife and I moved in together, one of the first things we did was get a cat. (The next 500 things we did were have arguments about what we would name the cat.)
The cat and I were best buds. The cat and my wife were frenemies. The cat and the world-at-large were chilly acquaintances. The cat and my son? Unfortunately, they never had a chance to get to know each other.
Now that he’s getting a little older, that’s something I want to correct.
I grew up in a house with cats and dogs (though be the time I was a teen, only the cats remained) and I love animals. I don’t label myself a “cat person” at the expense of dogs, nor do I boast that I only like dogs. Because I realize it’s possible to enjoy both animals, unlike those closed-minded idiots who are determined to choose one at the expense of the other.
Mom and Buried and I have always lived in the city and, as such, we’ve always lived in apartments. That environment doesn’t make dog ownership very practical, so when we wanted to prove to the world that our relationship was totally for real and not just some flash-in-the-pan – HATERS! – we got a cat.
Unfortunately, by the time our son arrived five years later, our cat’s personality had gotten a bit touchy (understatement!), and the weekend we brought the baby home the cat went haywire.
So we had little choice but to find her a new home.
Giving up my cat wasn’t a lot of fun, but when Detective Munch was born my priorities shifted. I could live with the sacrifice because I always knew that later, when our kid was a little older, we’d find a new cat, and maybe even a dog too; pets he could grow up with.
(I harbor a dream that one day I’ll get a puppy and a kitten and raise them together, as best friends, just like a Disney movie – minus the parental death.)
And then my wife pulled some shit and suddenly decided she didn’t want any pets.
There was nothing in our wedding vows about this!
Full disclosure: Mom and Buried is allergic to cats. Every time we stay with someone who has cats, she gets congested, her eyes puff up, etc. She is generally miserable and the meds don’t do much. Add to this the fact that my son also tested positive for cat allergies and she has grown pretty firm in her anti-cat stance.
Obviously, allergies shouldn’t be taken lightly. But my wife’s aren’t so severe that they can’t be mitigated and made manageable, one way or another. Unfortunately when it comes to Mom and Buried, it goes beyond simple allergies.
This is a woman who recently told me, and I quote: “I’m not a softie for animals.” That is a true thing she said!
It’s like announcing to the world that you’re a serial killer, or saying you don’t like chocolate, which, coincidentally, is something else she’s actually said. I would rather be married to a serial killer. I’M NOT KIDDING.
All joking aside, I really would rather be married to a serial killer. But I’m less concerned that my wife has revealed herself to be a heartless sociopath than I am about how her proposed no-pet policy could affect my son.
It’s important to me that he grow up with a pet – and not some bush-league hamster or goldfish either (no offense to all the losers out there with hamsters and goldfish). I know there’s some info about the positive effects of exposure to animals, from learning responsibility to …other important stuff, but I don’t much care about that.
Like with the stufties, I mostly just want an excuse to have a pet around.
I LOVED having cats and dogs around when I was a kid and I know my son will too, and not just because every time we go to Grandma’s he spends hours chasing the “meow meow” around like he’s an animal-loving Simon Wiesenthal.
But he should really be chasing my wife instead: she’s the (pet) Nazi.