There are always two sides to a story. Usually, Craig and I are able to tell the same story.And this is one of the great strengths of our marriage. However, with the acquiring of our cat Coco, we definitely tell polar opposite stories. I’m going to come clean and let you decide for yourself who is exaggerating or being stubborn.
Long ago in a land far away a little boy was asked to care for neighbor cats. He wasn’t given any instructions, he had no experience with cats and, sadly, they were not friendly but quite the opposite. While this boy did his work he sneezed and coughed, then endured screeching and clawing. He swore after that job was complete he’d never willingly be around a cat again.
I respected his extreme aversion to cats and never asked for one in all the years of our marriage. After twenty years of hearing this story I believed Craig hated cats and was allergic, until one day in Costa Rica. We were waiting in a hotel for our bus to take us from the jungle back to our hotel. This lobby had a cat in residence. This sweet grey tiger kitty had six sitting tourists to choose from but for an odd reason (I don’t believe in coincidences) this cat leaped up into Craig’s lap and began to purr and rub against him. He looked at me not quite sure what to do. He gave it the obligatory strokes and a fair amount of lap time so no one would suspect he held the opinion that all cats were demon possessed and then he hissed out of the corner of his mouth to me, “Tonya get this thing off my lap.” Which I did with a knowing laugh because I was watching him, and I know this man. He wasn’t sneezing or coughing. And there was a connection of enjoyment that occurred even if he wasn’t willing to admit it. Who can deny a friendly purring kitty is not one of God’s sweet gifts to man?
So back at home we discover rats are eating my vegetable garden. They have to go but there won’t be any rat poison on our property because we have Lucy. I announced we could get an out door cat to hunt the rats. There was a lot of opposition, “I don’t want it anywhere near the inside of the house, I don’t want a pet, I don’t want the kids getting attached to it, blah blah blah.” I said let’s just see and take one thing at a time.
A couple months later I stumbled upon a pretty kitty that needed a home. The woman at the shelter gave me all sorts of reasons why a cat should never be let outside. I didn’t tell her I needed a rat hunter. I just told her I am a very good pet owner, I am loving and compassionate and I will take good care of this cat. Which is true. The timing was such that we were sending Donny to college simultaneously and I was prone to high emotion, which means a lot of crying. Craig consented. So we bring home the kitty.
Craig was soft as butter on the counter with this cat, visiting her often, trying to be a gentle presence so she wouldn’t run away from him, and he even laughed frequently at her silly playful antics. He found her entertaining and interesting to watch. He let her be a cat and didn’t expect her to be like a dog, and that is fascinating to observe. He won’t admit it but he likes the cat, and furthermore, there’s no allergic reactions.
A month now after having Coco here we have bonded. She follows us all from room to room. She doesn’t mind being picked up and held, but she won’t climb into our laps, that seems to be her personal boundary. I hope that will change for her, but I don’t push. She purrs sweetly for everyone who gives her the rub she craves, even Craig. The problem is, I’ve changed my mind about letting her be a rat hunter. I like her too much, I don’t want anything to happen to her.
I’ve been labeled liar, traitor, and deceiver. Of course it looks like that from the outside, but really it was just love that changed my mind. She’s too nice an addition to our home to allow something to happen to her. It’s just that simple. Now, I know Craig is going to feel compelled to reply with his version of this story. He thinks he was ambushed and duped. You decide.