Growing up, we Corry's were not inside-the-house pet people. We were sometimes outside-the-house cat people, but we never ever ever had indoor cats or dogs. Eric on the other hand, came from a family that was definitely inside-the-house-pet-friendly. From the stories he tells of the cat that would sleep in the middle of the dogs (because she thought she was a dog) to the cat who would curl up on Eric's head in the middle of the night, to the stories of Chicken John (who didn't live in the house, but was a family pet all the same), it became fairly apparent to me early on that animals were a big part of Eric's life, and if I was going to join my life to his, they would be a part of mine as well.
So, being proactive and all, when we were engaged, one day I came right out and said, "Don't think that I don't know that we are going to end up being pet people at some point." This was rather thrilling to Eric, to know that he wouldn't be needing to negotiate this point in the future. We did agree however, that we would not get a pet until we had a house with a garage.
(To me, that meant that we wouldn't be having any inside-the-house-pets. I'm not sure what that meant to Eric, because it has become abundantly clear lately that we had a little miscommunication on that front, but whatever. That's the way it goes sometimes.)
So, years went by, and we didn't get a pet, or discuss getting a pet, or have anything to do with pets.
And then, we had a daughter. And then the daughter showed an overwhelming love for cats and especially dogs. And then it became more and more apparent that barring some kind of miracle (which--I'm a big believer in miracles, but I'm also a big believer in accepting the Lord's will and making peace with it), the daughter would in all likelihood be an only child. And then, although we still didn't have a garage, one night after Heather was in bed, Eric and I had a discussion as to whether or not we should get a dog.
I was anti-dog, primarily because it was the end of the summer and I was tired and I was in my "why am I the only one who ever does any of the cleaning around here" mode (a/k/a my "I absolutely refuse to notice anything that anyone else is contributing to the maintenance and well-being of this family" mode). Because of all that, the conversation almost ended before it had begun, but Eric was patient and I softened up, and we started talking a few details.
After awhile, we came up with a compromise. We would start saving for a smallish, apartment-friendly dog (probably a Japanese Chin), and while we did so, we would enact a new era of cleanliness on our family--i.e. Saturday Jobs. Every week, Eric would be responsible for vacuuming and picking up the carpeted areas of our home, and I would be responsible for the bathrooms and the kitchen. Heather would help as requested. We would see how it went, and when we had enough money for the Chin (which would probably take about four months), we would see if we felt like we were ready as a family for that kind of responsibility.
It went well. Our house has been cleaner than has been the case in years, and since I'm actually a witness to the work getting done, I'm not able to delude myself into the thought that I'm the only one doing any work around here, which makes me happier. That in turn makes both Eric and Heather happier, which makes our home a pretty pleasant place to be nowadays.
We had about one-third of our dog fund saved up when out of nowhere, this really friendly, patient, calm, good-natured, short-haird black cat who doesn't appear to have a home started hanging out around our front door.
So, we did what any normal family would do, and spent thirty minutes one afternoon petting her and bonding with her, and showing Heather how to hold her, and falling in love with her.
And we decided to buy some cat food and put it out on our doorstep for her, and any other cats who might need a little extra sustenance.
And we asked around the neighborhood as to the owner of the cat and came up empty. And sometimes we would let her in our house to hang out for a bit. And we got tired of calling her "kitty" or "the cat" and so we asked Heather what we should name her, and Heather said "Marilee".
And one thing led to another, and Eric and Heather took Marilee to the vet to make sure she doesn't have worms or any weird diseases (she doesn't) and went to PetSmart and bought a scratching post and a cat bed, and we're going to do one last thorough canvassing of the neighborhood this week and see if we can find Marilee's original owner, and if we can't, then we are going to get her spayed and we are going to consider her ours until someone comes along and claims her (which at this point, we kind of hope won't happen, but we will of course accept if it does).
Because the fact is, Marilee has spent the last two nights curled up on either Heather's bed or our bed, and I never in a million years thought that would happen and I'm more than a little bit embarrassed to admit that she has me as well as the other two members of our family completely wrapped around her (figurative) pinky finger, and I'm pretty happy with this development.
So, if you own this cat or if you know someone who has lost this cat and wants her back, will you please let me know as soon as humanly possible? We're getting awfully attached over here.
(Dog??? What dog??)