I don’t own a pet. Our family had a dog, Buster, for 16 years. He filled a deep void and brought a lot of joy to our family but when he passed, we decided to remain petless. Well, I decided we would remain petless. An empty nest meant I would have to do all of the feeding, walking, and letting the new pet in and out to do their business and I don’t like to get up from my recliner that often any more. Yes, I know- millions of pet rescuers out there are passing judgement, but that’s okay. I judge them too.
We never owned a cat, but we have one. Her name is Kitty. That’s what we call her, but I believe her owners who live up the street call her something else. Whatever they call her must sound similar to Kitty because she responds well to her new name. Kitty spends more time peering into our front door and sleeping on our couch than she does at her real home. It’s fun to have a cat-but not really have a cat. When I’m too busy to deal with her, I send her to her real home. It’s like being a grandparent-spoil the grandchildren, then send them home.
I don’t know a lot about taking care of cats, but I do know some classic cat things and I do them with Kitty. I lay wads of yarn out so she attacks them like a mouse, I bounce a little ball for her to bat down, and I feed her treats from the dollar store along with a little milk. She must like it because she comes over every day. There were a few times she had stayed so long I thought she was going to sleep over.
During a recent visit to the store I realized there was one thing I don’t have to do with Kitty because she is always there. I was browsing in a consignment store; just a quick stop to see if there were any hot bargains on secondhand items I needed at the house. In usual fashion, I moved swiftly through the store glancing at this and that.
Not long into my shopping spree I heard something that sounded familiar, but then again, not-so-familiar. I heard a women calling, “Here Betty, Betty, Betty, Betty.” What was that? I thought. Is there a cat in here? I’ve never heard anyone use a actual name to call a cat in that way. What happened to “Here kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty,” even though I don’t need to call ‘My Here Kitty, Kitty, Kitty, Kitty’ because she is always there? I slowed my pace and listened closer-like Not-My-Kitty does when she hears a critter in the corner. I wanted to hear it again because you don’t often hear a kitty call in the consignment store. And sure enough, it happened-only louder and closer than the first time-“Here Betty, Betty, Betty, Betty.” The woman was walking toward me and eventually, was looking right into my eyes as she again called, “Here Betty, Betty, Betty, Betty.” I started to get nervous. What do I do? Does she think I’m Betty? Do I look like her cat? Is she going to do classic cat things and see if I join in? I was relieved when she passed by, but in a split second, I knew I had to backtrack. I had to see Betty. Perhaps she would be curled up on a couch or peering out the front door of the store. Instead, she was helping another customer pick out a secondhand nicknack. Who calls a co-worker like a kitty? I’ve been called a lot of things at work, but never like a kitty. Maybe it’s because I’m always there-just like Kitty. I think I’m going to try the consignment kitty call at work next week and see if anybody comes running to help me. If so, I’m getting a new pet.