In early January, Esther and I discovered a mother cat and two kittens living under our deck. We’d been petless for several years, but after months of discussion had still not settled on what our next pet should be. (There is a moral here about the burden of choice, procrastination, and other ideas in behavioral economics, but let’s leave that to the side. This post is about the cats.)
Taking a hint from fate, we decided to befriend the little cat family. And after much patience, many hours playing chase the ribbon, some smelly tuna, and one unintended meal of sushi-grade salmon, we have three beloved house cats: Momma Cat, Cinnamon, and Caramel.
Here are MC and Cinnamon:
We’ve learned much in our efforts to woo our furry friends. For example, I made it to my mid-40s not knowing that cats have whiskers above their eyes, not just by their noses. Four decades of cat doodles have been anatomically incorrect.
We also learned that wooing cats is a lot like growing up.
At first, we were timid teenagers.
“Would you like to come eat with us? We’ll buy you a nice dinner.”
Then progressively more confident.
“Would you like to come into our house?”
“Can we pet you? Would you like to sit on our laps?”
“Would you like to spend the night in our house?”
At this point, we thought we had everything under control. Three lovely kitties who trusted us enough to eat our food, watch TV in the family room, and play chase the ribbon.
But then we were thrust into the role of stressed parents.
“Hey, who is that big Tom cat outside?”
“Looks like she’s interested in boys again. She better not get pregnant. Let’s schedule a doctor’s appointment for her and the kittens.”
“Young lady, you are grounded. You are not to see that Tom cat.”
“Please stop that yowling. You are grounded, that’s it.”
“What do you mean she snuck outside?”
“Kitty, get inside. You are not leaving this house again. And we are moving up that doctor’s appointment.”
So there you go. In just six weeks, we’ve been transformed from timid teenagers into overbearing parents.