We’d both agreed, before going to the creepy wood-paneled house with six cat cages, twenty humans, three dogs and four kittens in the living room that we would only take a cat home if it was the perfect second cat. I was pushing for an elderly, marmalade-colored female.
“So . . . what do you think?” I asked an hour and ten cats later. I was holding a five-month-old scrawny male, with grey spots and a siamese nose. He’d been one of the first cats we’d picked up, and drooped into our arms obligingly, falling asleep within minutes. We’d wondered aloud if he’d been drugged.
Jurvis gave me his overwhelmed, “I can’t make decisions right now, please, please don’t make me” face.
“Daisy is pretty, and calm . . .” I said of the marmalade-colored, older female. She’d been hiding under a bed until a few minutes prior. Now she sat in her cage, looking sad. When I tried to pet her, she let me, and continued to look sad. We’d picked her up for a few minutes, and she didn’t resist, sad sad sad.
“But. Maybe . . . too calm? Too fragile?”
“Yeah . . . it’s true. I’m worried Jack would murder her.”
“Yeah. We need a cat that’s both playful and cuddly. Hmm . . . I mean, this kitten has been nothing but nice.”
Jurvis smiled, and poked at the sleeping kitten’s belly. It stretched in my arms and looked up at him with big eyes.
“My favorite, though, is Sissy.”
Sissy sneezed adorably in the next room.
“The one with the upper respiratory infection?”
“Yeah, so. I guess we can’t take her.”
“But, she’s the cutest.”
“Cuter than this guy?”
“I like how her eyes take up half her head.”
“But they said we shouldn’t introduce her to another cat with an infection like that.”
“Pity, because she’s totally the cutest.”
A woman whose shift was nearly over perked her ears. “You want Sissy? I bet you can have Sissy.” She stood up from her folding chair and hobbled over to a front window.
“Erin!” she screamed to the sidewalk below. “Erin, did you tell these kids that they couldn’t take Sissy?”
Erin hollered an intelligible response.
“She’s sick! Sissy’s sick, Erin!”
A car door slammed.
“So they can’t take her, then? Erin? Erin!”
She looked back at us in frustration. “I can’t hear a word she’s saying. Why don’t you run down and talk to her.”
She hobbled back to her chair.
“Marco is very sweet and cuddly,” I offered.
“But he’s eight. And ignores other cats. I worry he’s too old for Jack.”
“So . . . I guess I think . . . we should get this kitten, here.”
“Are you sure?” The woman asked. “I’m writing down his name, in your forms. There’s no turning back. You want this kitten?”
Jurvis and I looked at one another helplessly, neither of us willing to say no.
“I can’t make this decision,” he said.
I turned to the woman. “Yes,” I said.
In this manner the issue was decided.
The kitten purred and purred and purred.