Why I Don’t Have Pets

I’m not an animal hater by any means. If you have a friendly dog, I’ll pet it. Ditto a cat. Of the two, I would say I’d rather have a cat than a dog, because unless you have a large yard, the dog needs to be walked. The cat doesn’t have to be walked, since it does its “business” in the litter box. OK, so you have to “pooper-scoop,” but I say it beats walking the dog, then being forced to pick up and dispose of the dog’s “business” (it is a law in Longmont, CO to pick up after your pets). Yeah, if I were going to have some pet that wasn’t a fish, I’d have to go for a cat.

So why don’t I have a cat? Simple. I keep my parent’s cat a few weeks a year while they go on vacation. While I love the cat, keeping her for those few weeks cleanses me of any such desires to have a pet. Allow me to share with you a tale of something that happened recently which will illustrate this.

My parents cat, whom I refer to as “Baka Neko” (Japanese for “stupid cat”) or “Cat Hair” (cat owners will understand this reference), had to investigate my new apartment upon being let out of her cage. That’s understandable since it was her first visit here. However, she accepted things pretty well and the first 24-hours went by with no problems. However, on the 2nd day of her stay, she decided that my entertainment center needed to be explored. Now I have a very large entertainment center, having splurged and purchased a really nice one made of real wood and coming in four pieces. Once all of the pieces are attached together, the thing is like a single unit, and even without anything in it, it is very heavy. Further, the entertainment center is pushed close enough to the wall that the cat could not get back there by attempting to slide in.

The center section is the TV-well. Only having a 32-inch TV in a well that can hold a 48-inch (or so) TV means there’s plenty of free space around the TV. However, I had stacked several DVD box-sets in this free space as a temporary storage location until I found a better place to store them. I mention this because it will come up later in the story.

So, I get up that night (which I happen to have off) and decide to fix some tuna casserole. I hadn’t seen Baka Neko in a while, but that didn’t mean anything. She likes sleeping under my bed, or in some other out of the way place, so not seeing her doesn’t mean anything. After getting everything together and prepared, I place the casserole in the oven. While I’m waiting for it to bake, I turn on the TV and decide to watch the “Dune” mini-series on DVD. As I’m watching, some 15-minutes into the first DVD, the TV flickers and the stereo makes some popping noises. Before I have time to consider what could have caused this, I hear a loud “scrambling” noise coming from behind the entertainment center.

“Oh no she didn’t,” I thought as I got up. I knew she couldn’t have gotten behind the entertainment center via the sides, but decided to check anyway. I looked back and sure enough, she was in the open space behind the center unit. There was no way she could get out either side. Nice.

I went back to the TV-well, turned off the TV. It was then that I noticed that the only way Baka Neko could have gotten behind the center unit was through the well. Yet she had not even so much as moved any of the DVD sets or VHS tapes I had there, which would have blocked her way. So she had to do a double-leap of some kind to get back there. Nice.

OK, nothing to do but remove all of those videos and move the TV aside. This I did, and leaning into the well, I look down to the space behind the center unit. Baka Neko looks back at me and meows. I reach to grab her, but Baka Neko lives up to her name and scrunches down where I can no longer reach her. Oh, that’s REALLY nice.

Now that Plan A has been flushed, time to go to Plan B. Not having a net (and so wishing I did), I decided that the next best thing was to get her on an old sheet and lift her out. She hates having stuff placed on her (which is why I rather enjoy tossing a t-shirt destined for the wash on her) and will move to get out from under it. My plan was that once she moved back from it, I’d encourage her to move back onto the sheet, where I’d use the four corners to lift her out. I’m pretty sure that would have worked, but Baka Neko wouldn’t play. She just completely laid down.

At that point, I became concerned. I had no idea how long she’d been back there and she might have been injured somewhat. I’m guessing she took a jolt of electricity when my TV flickered and that could have hurt her.

There was nothing left but Plan C. I unloaded the left unit of its contents, then proceeded to unbolt it from the main unit. Moving the left unit away revealed that I would have to move the center unit (which is made of two pieces — the upper section and lower section) away from the wall, at least on the left side. Great. I just hoped I had the strength to move it just enough to allow the cat to escape without having to further disassemble the unit.

Saying a quick prayer, I managed to move the unit just enough to see a gray blur streak out from the back of the entertainment center. I was immediately relieved because now my mom wouldn’t kill me. ^_^;

“Well, that’s that,” I thought. I was annoyed at having to do work that I hadn’t expected to do (I’m very lazy), but the cat was OK. I’d have to remember to keep the TV-well doors shut. Sadly, I deluded myself to thinking that this was only when I was going to bed, or would be in my office for an extended period of time. I further deluded myself into thinking that there was no way the cat would want to even go back there.

So later in the day, I had been working to clean up the mess in the living room. I had bolted the entertainment center back together, placed the shelves back in, and just started to put the DVDs and other stuff back into the unit. I had the TV on for background noise as I worked. However, for some reason, I thought, “I’d like to check my e-mail now.” Out of habit, I simply walked into my office and left the well-doors open. Five minutes later, I heard a loud thud against the wall of my office. On the other side of that wall is my entertainment center.

“You did NOT just get back there!” I roared as I ran out of my office. Sure enough, Baka Neko was back there sitting down. Apparently, she’d not learned her lesson. I went off, mad with the cat for getting back there AGAIN, and mad at myself for foolishly believing I could leave the TV-well doors open and unattended for five minutes. Now who’s the “baka?”

A lot of loud, angry noises came from me as I had to repeat Plan C from earlier, to include several loud exclaimations of, “This is why I don’t have pets!”

I think the angry stuff that flowed from me caught her attention. She hasn’t even so much as looked with curiousity at the entertainment center since. However, I never leave the living room before first ensuring the well-doors are closed. Maybe we both learned a lesson here, but being forced to do something like that is why I don’t have pets!

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