I grew up on a farm, and we had rabbits, goats, sheep, pigs, cows, chickens, horses, dogs and cats at different times during my childhood. But we did not have house pets. All animals lived outside the house. So I grew up romping with dogs, not walking them around the block, and petting cats on the porch. whose main job was to take care of rodents in the barn.
My husband and I were reluctant to get any pets for many years. We both liked dogs and cats, but we were afraid that pet ownership would make it difficult to travel. But that was before we moved to New York and got a mouse problem in our loft.
It had rained for five days straight, driving the rodents from their holes. And they moved in and set up residency in our loft. The first night, they bit open a bag. We awoke in alarm to the sound of pistachio nuts flying all over our kitchen. My husband bravely charged down the steps of our sleeping loft, only to confront a mouse with serious New York attitude. The mouse looked up from the nut he was chewing only briefly and then went back to business. We needed help. Serious help.
We found our two adult cats through a veterinary office/shelter in Chelsea. Beavis was the kitty in the window whose job it was to charm people (he is a black cat, but is very Siamese). My husband fell in love with him right away. And the people at the office told him that they wanted him to be adopted with another cat—his cage mate Creepers (a black and white tuxedo cat). Creepers had been found on the street, and they estimated his age at a year and a half. He had had every ailment imaginable when he arrived, and had been cured of them all during his time there. He was a mangy cat with giant bare patches on his hips and raggedy ears. They told us he had been burnt, and we were horrified that someone could be so cruel.
We were still a little wary about the whole thing. “Can we bring them back if it doesn’t work out?” we asked with a wail. They agreed, and we took both cats home with some trepidation.
Creepers spent the first night climbing on the pipes (15 feet above the ground), and crawling up into our metal ceiling. Not a great start. We shook his dry food dish until he finally came down. And then we spent the next few hours taping up every hole in the ceiling. Beavis was a complete scaredy cat, starting at every sound, and spending a lot of time hiding. But eventually both cats relaxed, and we enjoyed watching them play and wrestle with each other.
Creepers has really blossomed in the last 9 years. His fur filled out, and he grew big, handsome and healthy. We almost lost him in January, and discovered we were willing to pay a fortune to keep him alive. He and Beavis are part of our family. Creepers never misses story time with our son, and often stays in our son’s bed until he goes to sleep. Then Creepers’ comes into our bed, where he sleeps with his head on the pillow between us (Beavis likes to sleep in the crook of our knees).
Our pets wormed their way into our hearts and beds, and we are happier kinder people for having them. And we’ve haven’t seen a single mouse in 9 years.
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