“She thinks I’m perfect and that I love her cat, but you know me better than that.”

- George Strait

My wife and I hadn’t been married long when she began to mention that she might like a cat.

I hated cats. I was allergic to them and they gave me sneezing fits.

But alas, I recognized an opportunity. I found some free kittens in the classified section of the newspaper where I worked, The Walton Tribune. I can’t remember what I had for lunch yesterday, but 20 years ago I know it was a Saturday and Mrs. Davis was hosting a wedding shower at our little starter home for a friend. My job was to get lost. 

So I went to the “free kitten” home by the airport in Monroe, Ga. and they showed me three kittens still available in a box. They told me the big orange fluffy one was very friendly so I took him and stuck him in my Jeep Cherokee. I still had about two hours to kill so we drove around town together and he tumbled all over the car and under the seats for two hours until the party was winding down.

That’s when I went home and there, in front of all her girlfriends, presented my wife with a kitten. There were oohs and aahs and I was feeling like a pretty good husband. 

The cat, “Catfish”, became a legend. He was fat and salty and laid back, and most people called him Garfield.  He was a cool cat. He moved all over Georgia with us to Sylvania, Sandersville, Cleveland and Forsyth, and never complained. He lived a fat, full 15 years and then walked off in the woods one day in Forsyth and laid down to die. He didn’t want to be a bother. He was a good cat.

Unfortunately, one cat didn’t satisfy my wife’s appetite for the felines. 

“I’m going to be one of those cat ladies when I get old,” she warns me.

About once a year she’s bringing home a cat, and now she’s pulled our children into her ruse. Plus we live in the country now, so there are fewer limits on her adoption fever. 

Most recently she brought home “Goose”, and I don’t know where he came from or why we got him, but I’ve gotten used to Cassie’s cat carousel and take it, like Catfish, with a shrug of the shoulders.

But a few weeks ago Goose started acting funny. He was dragging his back leg behind him. Given that we have teenagers for whom we’d like to outfit with cars and college, I offered to take him out back and take care of the problem in a very cost-efficient way.

The Cat Lady wouldn’t hear it.

So I took him to the vet. There we learned that Goose had injured his spine. Oh sure, we could take him home. But the cat would likely need a wheelchair the rest of his life. 

“With kids and a busy life,” the vet said sheepishly, “I wasn’t sure you had time to care for a special-needs cat.”

Our vet is pretty wise. 

The good news, the vet said, is there are people in his office who’ve gotten rather attached to Goose. They may be willing to take him in. 

That not only helped alleviate any guilt on our consciences, but it also allowed the Cat Wife and Cat Daughter to begin checking the market. So of course we now have welcomed “Pumpkin” to the fold. Now excuse me while I make a bowl of milk.