My husband and I hate cats. Or we thought we hated cats. Maybe we hate all cats except for our own. Or maybe we hate all cats that aren’t like ours. Because our cat is pretty cool (as far as cats go.)
There were two things that prompted us to get a cat. Ok, more like three because, obviously, our daughters like all things cute and fluffy and wanted a pet — pretty much any pet, but the softer and fluffier the better. We had already gone the dog route and, if you read that post, you know how that turned out.
Aside from our two young girls, the more practical cat consideration came about because our yard was overrun with chipmunks. I had no problem with this because I think they’re cute as hell. My husband, on the other hand, was distraught by the holes they dug all over our yard and was convinced the uneven dips in our brick walkway were due to a myriad of secret underground chipmunk tunnels. He might have been right, but I still didn’t care. I cared when he took it upon himself to rid our yard of said chipmunks by arranging a slim wooden beam lined with a trail of peanuts leaning at an angle up to a large bucket of water. The idea was to have the unsuspecting chipmunks walk the plank to their watery deaths. I quickly put an end to that contraption because of the mental scars no amount of therapy would ever fix if, on my way to water the hydrangea, I witnessed a bucket load of adorable drowning critters. (Oh, alright, you got me. I’m totally lying because I don’t ever water my hydrangea. I’m terrible with plants.)
The coup de grâce leading to the adoption of our newest family member was the morning my car wouldn’t start. After going through the usual checklist and really hoping it wasn’t something simple and stupid I did or overlooked that would result in my feeding the pathetic helpless female stereotype — I pump my own gas and change car tires by myself, damnit! — the car had to be towed from my driveway. (I was grateful that the tow truck driver wasn’t able to figure it out, either. “Here’s the problem, ma’am. Looks like you forgot to turn the key after you put it in the ignition. Started right up for me.”) Turns out the chipmunks had set up shop in my car and chewed holes through the hoses in my engine. It was an expensive mess and we agreed that tolerating a cat would be more cost effective and less traumatic than our previous efforts. And having our kids think we were the most awesome parents in the world was a bonus.
So the search began. My husband’s only request was that we get a female (I don’t remember why but it was something he read online.) Through craigslist, I found a woman the next town over with a litter of available kittens. I went to her flea infested home (seriously, it was pretty gross) and there were two kittens left, one of which hid behind the refrigerator the entire time I was there. That left me with the one grey and white kitten who wasn’t fast enough to hide. The woman thought it was a girl, but wasn’t 100% sure. I drove home gently holding this teeny mewing warmth to my chest and was already smitten. (Which didn’t make any sense because I hate cats, remember?) We hadn’t told the girls about our plans, so I walked in the house and surprised them by placing the kitten on the couch with them.
The next day at the vet’s office, I found out our new pet was actually a male and was probably only six weeks old, as opposed to the eight weeks I was told. He was also flea infested so I had fun bathing him in the kitchen sink and, immersing him body first into the water, watching the fleas climb up to his head like the last survivors of a sinking ship. We went back and forth on names for a while before settling on Spenser. Spelled with an “s” like the Robert Urich tv show Spenser: For Hire so we could call him “Spennnnsssssaaaaahhhhhh” like the character Hawk did. However, he is seldom called Spenser unless he’s doing something wrong, like scratching the screen door or knocking random things off the coffee table for no reason. More often he’s called DooDoo Kitty (due to a bout of constipation he had when we first got him), Cheese (an ode to the movie Old School), Cheesy Cheese, Cheeser McFleaser McSneezer McSqueezer, Cheesy Gato, Gato con Queso, Gato Conquistadoro, Spense-borg, or any combination of those. It’s not like he answers to any of these anyway, so it doesn’t really matter what we call him.
As for the chipmunks, Spenser has fun chasing them every once in a while. I think they know he’s around because we’ve definitely seen a decrease in our yard’s chipmunk population. We did witness him catch one once. We were pretty sure the chipmunk was badly wounded because when he did have the chance to move he was limping, but we were all amused when the clever varmint saw his chance and bounded off unharmed to the neighbor’s yard — like a tiny little Keyser Söze.
So while our cat may not be particularly bright or affectionate, I think these may be the things that make him so endearing to us. He’s quiet, incredibly low maintenance, friendly on his own terms, with the perfect amount of entertaining to keep us charmed.