It is the morning of my wife’s appointment to look at a tiny tabby kitten whose picture has been on her phone for a week. An hour before, she comes into the kitchen with a cat carrier.
“Where did that come from?” I say.
“We had it,” my wife says.
But we’ve never had a cat carrier. We used to borrow one from next door to take the old cat to the vet.
“It still has the tag on it,” I say. My wife undoes the front zip of the cat carrier and pulls out a variety of cat toys, some kitten food, a litter tray, a scratching post and a little bowl.
You should never physically punish your pet. It brings the animal pain and fear, and it gains you nothing. It’s a lose-lose situation. Please don’t do it.
“I see,” I say.
“None of it was expensive,” she says. “The toys were less than a quid each.”
“It’s not about the money,” I say. “It’s about due diligence.”
Actually, from my point of view, it’s about the now-vanishing possibility of not getting a new cat. The middle one enters, heading directly for the fridge.
“Are you coming with me to see this cat?” my wife says.
“Yeah, all right,” says the middle one.
“This is meant to be a viewing,” I say. “A first viewing. And you’ve already bought cat furniture.”
INTERESTING FACT ABOUT YOUR PET: There are 49 domesticated rabbit breeds recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association.
“What are you worried about?” says the middle one, from behind the open fridge door. I say: “We don’t even know how many legs this cat has.”
“Obviously I’m not bringing the toys with us,” my wife says.
“Why bother going to see it?” I say. “Why not just have it delivered?”
The oldest one walks in, transparently hungover, and starts making coffee.
“Are you coming with us to see this cat?” my wife says.
Add Brushing Your Dogs Teeth into Their Grooming Routine. Get in the habit of brushing your dogs teeth daily to avoid expensive dental visits later. You can use a human toothbrush if you like (though they make ones for dogs, too), but be sure to pick up tooth paste that’s formulated for dogs.
“Yes,” he says.
“So what happens after?” I say. “Do you take it to a vet for a survey?”
“No,” my wife says. “You don’t.”
“So you just say, ‘Thank you, we have some other cats we’re looking at, but we’ll be in touch’?”
“I’ve done all my research,” my wife says.
“Things are moving very quickly,” I say. “Too quickly.”
“What’s he talking about?” says the oldest one to the middle one.
“He’s worried the cat will have no legs,” the middle one says.
“I’m worried decisions are being taken lightly, and in haste,” I say.
A Wagging Tail Does Not Always Equal a Happy Dog. Don’t approach a strange dog just because it’s wagging it’s tail. Tail wagging isn’t always the universal sign of happiness – it can also indicate fear or insecurity. Be sure to teach your children about the basics of dog bite prevention.
“You can always rely on your father to pour cold water over any fun thing,” my wife says. “He thinks it’s his job.”
“At least someone is doing his job,” I say. A few minutes before midday the three of them set off in the car. I sit alone in the kitchen, thinking about the last trip the old cat made to the vet . There was no one home next door when we tried to borrow the cat carrier, so he went wrapped in a towel. I didn’t go on that trip either; I sat in this same chair, hoping for the best.
Make Your Own DIY Pill Pockets with Peanut Butter, Milk & Flour. One of the most useful life hacks for dog owners is finding a way to get your dog to swallow pills. If you’re having a hard time getting your dog to swallow pills you can make your own DIY pill pockets.
Eventually the youngest one comes down, also transparently hungover, and makes coffee behind me.
“The front door opened and closed three times last night,” I say. “At one, three and 7.30. Which one was you?”
“I was about three,” he says.
“I see,” I say. I’ve already asked the other two, and they also claimed the three o’clock slot.
“Where is everyone?” he says.
“They’ve gone to look at a cat,” I say.
“To look at a cat, or to actually get a cat?” he says.
“What do you think?” I say, indicating the spread of cat merchandise laid across the kitchen table like a pet shop window display.
Make Yourself the Funnest Thing in the World for a Reliable Recall. When training your dog to “come here” make sure you’re giving out a lot of praise & treats. The goal is to make coming back to you the best decision they could have made, if not your dog is likely going to decide that whatever he was chasing/sniffing is more interesting.
“OK,” he says.
After 20 minutes I am impatient at the lack of news. I send a text to the middle one that says: “Well?” Ten minutes later he sends me a photo of a tiny kitten. I think: it’s adorable. I text back: “How many legs does it have?”
A few minutes later he sends me a text that says: “8”.
I write a text that says: “Tell them we’re not paying for the extra legs”, but as I press send I hear a key turning in the front door lock. Looking again at the picture of the kitten, I notice it’s sitting in a brand-new cat carrier, on the back seat of our car.
INTERESTING FACT ABOUT YOUR PET: Dogs can be trained to to detect cancer and other diseases in humans. Cancerous cells release different metabolic waste products than healthy cells in the human body. Dogs may even be able to sniff out cancer cells simply through smelling someone’s breath.
Three hours later everyone is sitting on the kitchen floor, watching a kitten chase a feather on a length of wire, and the ball with the bell inside, while the dog sits at the edge of the circle having a quiet nervous breakdown. I’m sitting at the table. My wife looks up at me.
“Don’t you want to play with your new kitten?” she says.
“I will later, when everyone else is done using it,” I say. But by then the kitten will have gone to live under the washing machine.