My friend Mary loves her cat so much that she got him a dinosaur outfit. Mambo celebrated his sweet sixteen in November. Mary showed me a photo of ‘Bo in his green suit and he looks really underwhelmed. The suit is made of felt and has little triangles sewn along the top. It’s pretty cute but I’m not sure if Mambo appreciates it. Mary says the main thing is that it will keep Mambo warm in winter. Mambo has squinty eyes and his hair is really sparse around his face. Like he is balding or something. He looks tired. But every day he waits by the letter box for Mary to return home and meows until she picks him up. Sometimes when Mary is eating he tries to eat out of her mouth. Sometimes she lets him. Mary says she chose Mambo out of all the other cats at the pet shop because he was small and sad-looking. Mary has a good heart.
Sometimes Mary jogs on a treadmill in her parents’ basement and looks at the cat mural she painted when she was a child. Her father let her have a whole wall to paint a bunch of cats – can you believe it? She decided to paint a tropical island that is only inhabited by cats and they can fly! What imagination my friend Mary has!
The other day at work I read an article about a woman who married two cats. It’s true! The woman says she had a human partner for a long time but they fell out of love. And now she is married to her cats – she has a certificate from the internet to prove it. The woman says she is aware how the cat marriage might look to the outside world. But she points out that her furry companions don’t ever talk back and are always happy to see her when she gets home. She has a point. But the cats she married are actually quite boring looking. Just your general grey and black striped tabbies. If I were to marry a cat, I would probably choose a Maine Coon. Or a Norwegian Forest Cat.
I had a guinea pig for a while. Her name was Pearl. She was little and furry and had a white stripe on her head. We called her Harry Potter. I really liked Pearl for a long time but then the whole ‘I’ve got a guinea pig’ thing got old. Pearl didn’t give me much. She never smiled – well, she couldn’t smile – or purr like a cat or anything. So, I gave her away. Sometimes, I feel a little guilty for getting rid of the guinea. But I also got sick of cleaning out her hutch. My mother sometimes used to ask “how’s your hedgehog?” and I would roll my eyes and say “it’s a guinea pig!”
Mambo is quite needy as he no longer has control of his bowels or bladder. The other day he pooed into Mary’s hand. I have tried to broach the subject of putting Mambo down one day but Mary won’t hear of it. Sometimes I ask her what she will do when he dies and she puts her hand up and says “don’t, just don’t”.
Amelia Langford is a New Zealand journalist and writer who works in radio and print. In her spare time, she likes to read novels and travel. She’s working on a collection of creative non-fiction stories. Visit her website at http://www.amelialangford.online or catch her on twitter @amelialouisenz.
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