I have officially been a cat owner for close to two months now, and at the risk of pulling a Bethany Consentino, I’m going to gush about my fluffy ball of love. Now that I think about it, though, Irv and Snacks would totally have fun hanging out and chilling over some catnip.
I’ve always lived in a household that had at least one feline member. You see, my parents have a mixed marriage. Mom’s a dog person, and Dad’s very much a cat person. I must say, their preferences certainly fit their personalities too, but that’s another story. I, on the other hand, reflect the combined nature of my parents’ union. I go either way. I can fully appreciate the warm reassurance and absolute adoration imbued in the eyes of a canine as it rests its head in my lap. I can also admire the independent dependence of the feline and its meticulous grace and poise. So, yes, I swing both ways in that respect.
I decided about a year ago that, if possible, I wanted to take a pet with me to grad school to beat the loneliness that can come with a busy school schedule. I thought a dog would be nice, but as I would be living in an apartment size limits would be an issue, and I am more of a large breed type of girl. The practical solution thus was to get a cat. I am a great proponent of adoption, so when I found out I would be living in a complex that allowed pets I started perusing Petfinder. It proved to be a comforting and relaxing activity especially when end-of-year business really started to get hairy. A few weeks before I was slated to go home I came across him. A big, fluffy grey and white fellow with a sweet face residing at the time at the Union County Humane Society (fabulous facility that takes extremely exceptional care of their animals, by the way) in Maynardville, Tennessee. I knew I had to adopt him, and I very quickly made the necessary arrangements to do so on my way home after graduation. Now, I’ve gotten some crazy looks for choosing to adopt a cat so far from where I live. Maynardville is in the eastern part of the state. My parents’ house is just west of Nashville in the midsection of the state, about a four hour’s drive. I knew what I was looking for, he fit the bill, and it turns out a better match could not have been made. He quite literally is the perfect cat for me, and I’m so happy I’ve added him to my family.
Irving is not like any cat I have ever come in contact with. The cats we’ve owned or those of friends have always fit the typical cat mold, independent, aloof, etc. Irving can more accurately be described as a dog. He lives for attention, enjoys licking humans, comes when he is called, is hopelessly clumsy, and plays fetch. I mean, he’s really and truly just a smaller, fuzzier version of our golden retrievers. He’s really kind of spoiled me. I was expecting him to be very shy of us and hide for a few days when we first brought him home, but not ten minutes down the road from the humane shelter he was already nuzzling and talking to me in his adorable tiny chirpy way. When he came home he settled in immediately almost as if he had been born and raised there. The only things he has had trouble adjusting to are the dogs. I don’t think he had ever been around them before, and he decided quickly that he wanted none of them. The poor pups have not been able to come upstairs to my level this summer without being attacked by a projectile feline, who, despite an absence of front claws (he came that way, I don’t agree with the procedure) can hold his own surprisingly well. He’s quite fast for his size too but does have a little difficulty stopping himself on the wood floor. He does, however get on quite well with my dad’s eighteen year old cat Fin. I think Irving, who is approximately four and in many ways very much still a juvenile, wishes Fin didn’t spend all of his time sleeping or laying about and was up for a little play now and then, though.
Irving is the first pet for which I’ve ever been truly and solely responsible. It’s an awesome and intimidating feeling, to be quite honest, and I think I very much have fallen victim to new parent syndrome. I went a little crazy after we first brought him home and bought a ton of toys and cat accoutrements, half of which he does not even touch. Ironically enough, his two favorite toys are a scrap strip of canvas and wads of paper.
As for the paper wads, well, that’s where the fetch playing comes in. A couple of weeks ago, I noticed him playing with an elastic hair tie. He batted it over close to me and I picked it up and tossed it for him. To my great surprise he went for it, picked it up in his little mouth, brought it back to me, set it down, and then sat and stared at me. I threw it again, and he brought it back to me. When the hair tie was lost under some piece of furniture, I replaced it with a wadded up piece of scrap paper. He played fetch with it just as he had with the hair tie, and thus Irving’s hidden talent was revealed. When one of us is not around to play with him he plays fetch with himself either batting the ball or tossing it with his mouth. When that gets old, he then will knock it through the railing on our loft and wait patiently with his head between the rails for someone to throw it back up. He finds that beyond amusing. It’s the most uncanny thing.
So there you have it, this is what my life has been filled with for the past two months. I really don’t know how I lived my life before Irving was there to wake me up in the morning by laying on my chest and licking my face. He’s like having a fluffier, cuter, more entertaining child with an inability to digest catnip properly and a plastic chewing fetish around, and it’s fantastic. I think he’s really going to help me get through the next two and a half years of grad school.
Well, I think I am going to put myself and my incredibly ridiculous feline, who is currently laying in a cardboard box having discovered the apparent wonders associated with such an activity over the past few days, to bed. I will however leave you with a video of Irving playing a good game of fetch until I stupidly threw the ball under the chest of drawers. Enjoy.
Good night and sweet fuzzy, pink-nosed, purr-worthy dreams to you all.