My New Friend

February 9, 2009 ksumy1

One of my New Year’s resolutions for ’09 is to make more friends. This is not to say that most of the friends that I have aren’t worthy of friendship anymore. Really, I feel as though it’s time for me to be more social.

Last week I ran into my next door neighbor, Allison, as I was coming back from my interview. She asked me how my cats were doing, and I said they were “same old, same old.” Secretly, I love it when people ask me about my cats. They’re like my children, after all! I asked Allison how her cats were doing. She said fine. She has five cats, and I look after them whenever she and her husband go away on trips. Not only are these simply five cats, but they are a family composed of a mommy cat, a daddy cat, and three cute ‘lil kittens.

I went on to tell Allison that I had gone to volunteer at an adoption event over the weekend. Yes, dear readers, this was the thing I had promised I would talk about. This is the thing that makes me even more of a crazy cat lady. I had gone to the event with the sole purpose of volunteering,(another beautiful one of my New Year’s goals) but immediately found myself driving one of the other volunteers to Lynn’s house where Lynn would show me her rescued FIV cat named Arnie. I could have protested to the volunteer, “No, I’m just here to volunteer. My boyfriend does not want another cat,” but instead I folded my hands and quietly acquiesced.

When we got to Lynn’s house, we went through the gate around back, and were greeted by two giant dogs. One was a doberman, and somehow, I made this dog so excited that he bit me on the finger. My months of watching The Dog Whisperer have clearly paid off.  A few moments later, I stood in front of Arnie’s big cage. Arnie lived in a covered cage outside on the patio. Lynn appeared, and let me go inside the cage to pet Arnie. No doubt about it, Arnie was a cute, docile orange tabby. However, I didn’t feel a huge connection with him. He wasn’t overly friendly with me, but then again, neither was Bette when I had adopted her. Although Bette wasn’t the warmest when she first looked into my eyes, she chose me, and I felt a connection. Sammy had looked into J’s eyes, and done the same thing, only he had been Mr. Charmer.

Lynn wore a black shirt that had cat cartoons all over it. I’m not making fun of it. As a matter of fact, it was kinda cute. You couldn’t really see all the cat characters though because of all the cat hair that covered her shirt. When I asked her how many cats she had living inside the house with her, she said that she couldn’t tell me. “You don’t want to!”

I kept petting Arnie, and asking “What’s up, Dude?!?!” in my high-pitched kitty voice. He let me pet him. He seemed sad and content all at once. Two other cats lived in his cage with him. One of them was a fourteen year old female. She let me pet her too. Even though she was the hairiest calico I had ever laid eyes on, when I pet her all I felt was bone. The other cat, a male, was like Arnie in that he looked perfectly normal. When I asked Lynn what his story was she said that the poor guy didn’t know how to use the litter box. I thought to myself, “Hmm, this is the cage of rejects.” Across the way, there were two beautiful Himilayan cats in their own cage. The ladies told me that those cats had been adopted, and that the future owners would be coming for them tomorrow. Next to the “Reject Cage” was an empty cage. A younger cat had lived in that cage, and had been adopted a few hours earlier.

Lynn and the volunteer tried to convince me that adopting Arnie would be a-okay. FIV in cats is like HIV in humans, only humans can’t get it from the cat. It’s a very slow process of the weakening of a feline’s immune system. They told me that Arnie wouldn’t give my cats FIV unless both cats mixed blood. That could only occur through deep tissue wounds. The doberman came up to the cage, wagging his tail. I looked down at my finger.

I knew that the probability of Arnie giving my cats FIV was very unlikely. I knew that Arnie would most likely live a normal, healthy life. However, something in my gut told me not to take this cat home. I felt so sorry for Arnie, I really did. Every cat should have a home to call their own, and be loved by their humans. I don’t know if it was J not wanting another cat, or how expensive having a cat with FIV could in fact become, in all practicality, but that voice inside me was like, “Nooooo, don’t do this!” Looking back now, I believe it was the lack of connection. As much as Arnie needed a home, he didn’t choose me. Hopefully, he would choose someone else.

Holy tangent! Getting back on track now, (promise!) when I filled Allison in on snippets from this “volunteer mission,” she told me that I had absolutely made the right decision. She said it didn’t matter how Arnie probably couldn’t give my cats FIV, but that it wouldn’t be fair to Arnie. My two cats have eye herpes in their system, (even when their eyes look perfectly fine) and Arnie’s weakened immune system shouldn’t be exposed to that. It was so obvious! It was common sense! I felt even better about my decision now. I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of that before.

Before Allison disappeared off into her apartment after all the typical “good-bye, cya lata” pleasantries, she asked me if I’d like to take a walk some time. I had told her that I was now unemployed, and that I often got bored during the day. I told her I’d love to walk with her. We both agreed we’d knock on one another’s door whenever we felt like walking.

Allison is around my parents’ ages. She has two children who live a few hours outside of L.A. She used to live in a house in Santa Barbara. She’s a claims lawyer, usually working from home. She’s in her second marriage, and her current husband is an out of work librarian. She likes plants, and has a little garden off her balcony. I vicariously live through her when she chats about her balcony and the view she has of the canyons because, sadly, I have no balcony.

Yesterday, after it stopped raining, Allison knocked on the door. We had already walked at least three times together during the week, and were becoming fast friends. I felt embarrassed as I opened the door, suddenly realizing that I was still in my PJs at two in the afternoon. She asked if I’d like to walk. I told her to give me five minutes.

Once dressed, we headed west on Ventura Blvd. We walked to the Temple Garden. I had only ever passed this place driving by, so I was curious. The entire shop was gorgeous. It was more like a sanctuary than a shop. Allison told me all about the different plants, and I got a million ideas for Father’s Day gifts since my dad is a gardening guru.

When we got back to the apartments, Allison and I agreed that we should each host dinner one of these days. After we said our good-byes, and I shut my apartment door, I smiled to myself. I was grateful to have an unlikely new friend.


Entry Filed under: Animals,Les Amies,Sadness of the World

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