Thursday, January 5, 2012

Animal Lover Part I: The Saga Begins

I originally published this post back in December of 2010, when no one read my blog but my parents and my pet cat. It is actually pretty good. But it is very long. So, with a nod to Star Wars, I am breaking it into a trilogy and re-publishing it. Enjoy!

When I was a small child, I had a habit of acquiring various animals, with or without the explicit permission of my parents. Mainly, this took the form of cats. For instance, when I was about six, I adopted a grey and white Persian-mix female cat who came to the front doorstep. I called her Pretty Paws (because my best friend had a cat named Pretty Paws already and six-year-olds rarely consider originality a real virtue).

Over the years, this particular cat brought my family great joy and amusement through her various activities, which included hurling herself from the pear tree in our back yard onto the screen door, where she remained for as long as it took for someone to arrive and let her in the house. Later on, after we had moved twice and the cat's mental acuity was perhaps somewhat dimmed, she took to spending long hours sunning herself on the roof of our rented house. For reasons which may have included feline arthritis or perhaps early signs of Alzheimer's, Pretty Paws did not feel the need to leave the roof in order to relieve herself, so, unfortunately, when we vacated our Tiburon house, its roof remained peppered with fossilized cat turds, scattered proportionately across its surface. Such was her legacy.
Photo by Jamie Guimond Productions
Still later, this cat took to talking to herself in the middle of the night, specifically saying in what appeared to be a Japanese accent "Herrrrrooo! Hoar are rou?" I have found a helpful video on YouTube to allow you to picture this more easily.
However, I was unable to find a cat that really approximated the creepy phantasmagoric horror movie quality my cat brought to this project. I guess, take what I've given you and imagine the same thing done by a straggly, emaciated cat hiding behind the half-closed door of a nearby room at 2 a.m., with a voice like a throat cancer victim.

Without boring you with unnecessary detail, I will say that my animal acquisitions over the years have included unauthorized teddy bear hamsters; schizophrenic tabbies; two rabbits, which I attempted to "housetrain" unsuccessfully and keep inside the house uncaged; and an enormous homemade bottomless rat castle with five rats whom I had bred myself, and which I kept in my parents' kitchen after I moved out.

Surprisingly, adulthood has not really stopped me from continuing this practice. At the age of thirty-five, I still experience a sort of glee when reminding myself that no one can actually STOP me from acquiring whatever animal I want (unless you ask my husband, anyway). At one point, when living under the trees in the redwood forest of Sonoma County, I had six cats, many of whom had been born under my house. This, to be fair, was not my fault, since neither the mother nor father cat were mine to spay or neuter. However, rather than finding homes for these accidental kittens, I naturally adopted all of them, including those with unrepentantly feral and occasionally vicious tendencies. Three of these were matching long-haired ginger tabbies, one of whom, Marmalade Lion, I still have.

For another case, when first visiting Santa Fe on an eight-week summer pilgrimage as a newly single mother with two young children, I returned home on my 1,000-mile car trip with a baby field mouse that required careful nursing multiple times a day with a dropper full of specialized formula.
Photo by Jennifer Jordan
Really, this could happen to anyone.

One doesn't simply turn away from an infant field mouse which fell from some random stranger's ceiling in a state which is marked by the occasional but persistent presence of bubonic plague outbreaks. Not merely because you are about to drive for four days with two children under the age of seven, and plan to visit the Grand Canyon and Knott's Berry Farm. The mouse, Thimble, accompanied us to various restaurants, theme parks, and historical points of interest, and especially enjoyed the log ride. My good friend, Merisha, kept him safe inside her bra throughout most of the trip.

So, anyway, if I skip a few interesting points for the sake of attention span, that brings me to the present. Our current circumstances are not totally unreasonable. We have only one dog, which we ended up with while shopping at Lowe's in Espanola four years ago. He seems to be part Corgi and part lab. Imagine a low rider Labrador Retriever. Or a lab with dwarfism and large ears like a donkey. I still have Marmalade Lion, who is a sweet cat with an unfortunately nerve-wracking meow and a tendency to extreme paranoia. I am currently borrowing two additional cats, Gui and Gubal, for the length of a year while my friends, their owners, are living in Slovenia.

And then there are five ducks....

You'll have to read my next post to find out about them. (Do you like the way I provided a hook? My writing is like crack. Come back later and get more. Just a little more. It totally won't hurt you at all.)


  1. Hysterical. And the hook worked. I totally grabbed the rss feed so that I won't miss parts 2 and 3.

  2. Awwww i love animals and they're all adorable. I want a kitty, but not one that's gonna scare me in the middle of night with its creepy voice. URRRGHHH


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