Living with Marley


“  Mom, we have to talk… “ It’s not that I didn’t want a cat, I did.  In fact every time I visited the pet store to pick up more food or something else for the dogs, I looked at the cats.  I went to the cages lined up against the wall and read their profiles.  I knew their names and often reached my fingers through the bars to scratch an ear or just make contact with the prisoners.  I like cats.  In fact before my husband came along, I was a “crazy cat lady” myself.  I’d taken in strays, named them, and given over my home to feline antics.  But no more, the cats had to go when we had to change living situation and had to downsize.  That’s unfortunately how it happens sometimes.. life makes rules that you have to live by.  And my darling husband knew that this was one of the most difficult things I had ever have to do.  Each of my cats went to loving homes that were thrilled to have them.  And I moved on.. well.. so I thought.

9 years later the house was still feline free.  Others had moved in and others had moved on.. the pet rat “Justin” who lived out a long life in my son’s room, the beta fish experiments, the very worst bunny ever “Binky” who after attacking everyone in the household was finally neutered and became a beloved friend.. until he ran away, 2 guinea pigs “Carly & Sam” who my daughter begged for since it was clear after years of begging we were not getting a cat, and the dogs… who I have to say ran the house.  My husband is a dog person.  And being allergic to cats, didn’t really care much for them. So as we moved into our single family home, Arwyn was our first dog.  She wasn’t a cute little puppy, she was damaged goods.  A rescue from a life we can’t imagine. And we fell head over heels for her.  We bought her the best treats, gourmet dog food  and leashes in various sizes and colors.  But she didn’t trust us, and for good reason.  Humans untrustworthy.  And somehow as I lay on the floor staring at her for hours, we connected. She needed us, and I needed her.  I needed someone to snuggle up with when the day was beyond saving, someone who didn’t care that I had lost my job or was just feeling cranky.  But Arywn had to have it on her timing.  She doesn’t come in out of the rain when  you call her, in fact she’ll just stand out in the rain and snow and let it collect on her long sheltie nose until you leave the door wide open for the elements to blow inside before she will step a timid foot in the door to see if you are indeed hiding in the kitchen.   She was the dog in the house, and we adored her, and still do.  Then along came Mylo.  His story a little better than Arywn’s.  Mylo was an impulse purchase… no, not mine.  A co-worker of mine came walking through the staff room one afternoon asking if anyone would take a puppy off her hands.  She said she’d made a mistake by buying a puppy because “ They were so cute and hard not to want.”   And after said puppy had pooped all over her white carpets, chewed on her $5,000 white sofa,  and had went after her son’s cherished collection of action figures without any regards for her son’s feelings, the puppy had to go.  With little interest in getting a new dog I ignored her rants until she mentioned that the fluffball had been kicked and smacked around by her son.  Then I paid attention, and that afternoon after calling the hubby and telling him of my plans, Arwyn had a little brother.

So now we have a very full house.. 4 kids, 2 “pigs” 2 dogs, fish, a lizard my oldest begged for after his graduation from high school, and that was enough! I fact I had began to think it was too much.  Mentioning often that when the oldest moved away he needed to make sure that he could take pets because there were too many of them already.  We had gone through the puppy stage with Mylo and were happy with life.  No more accidents, except for the occasional odd hairball puke that apparently can only be done on the carpet and not the area easily cleaned up or even outside. We had even managed to find peace with Arwyn who has learned that a snuggle on the bed with Mom is almost as good as cookies buried in the snow.. her favorite winter game.  Life was good.. and peaceful even. 

But then came the talk… the talk that changed everything. No, not the talk about sex.. we’d already had that with all members of the house.  At least I thought we had it.. meaning.. when the oldest came in and sat down with his bright-eyed girlfriend and said he needed to talk to me about something serious, my heart almost stopped.  No, it couldn’t be.  They are so young!  I looked at both of them and my motherly mind went mad.  No, they couldn’t be having a baby.. we had talked about this over and over! But still he said nothing, and she looked as if she were about to cry.  I shook my head, words flying out of my mouth in frustration of what I considered a very upsetting and frustrating situation.  And then he said it..  “ Mom, calm down.. we want to adopt a kitten together.  She’s not pregnant. She want to.. “ I stopped him.  Relief over the other option making this wide stupid grin come over my face.  “ Oh! A kitten!  That’s it?  OH! Why didn’t you say so? “

And so our life with Marley has begun. A precocious little grey tabby cat with amazing spunk and the ability to work her way into everyone’s hearts.  Even Michael’s.. who in spite of his protests has been spotted being very kind to her.


* Update:  Well, since her coming we’ve lost a few of those close to us. Arwyn passed the next October and one of the G-pigs went on to a bigger grassy field this spring. But Marley has been a wonderful member of our family. She and our middle son are bonded and rarely far from each other. When he goes away to college, I wonder which of them will have a harder time.  We’ve also added a new addition to the family with a wonderful rescue, Wynter came to us soon after Arwyn passed to heal the hole we were left with.  Though Arwyn will never be forgotten, Wynter does her very best to at least never let me feel too sad. *

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