Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Ballad of Sophie

*Subtitled ‘This is what I will show Belle someday after she comes homes from therapy with a break through that it was losing her cat at 3 ¾ that made her have attachment problems’*

I promised Mike I was going to the SPCA to simply look at a kitten I saw online. Of course I filled out the paperwork before he even got there, in order to beat the gay couple I was staring down for the delight of owning the fluffiest, whitest little speck of fur I had ever seen. I got my act together first, lied about having permission to have a cat in a rental, or having any other roommates who were supposed to cosign with me, and walked out with a kitten. I was told she was a runt, was never going to get very big, and was sweet and laid back.

Those motherf#ckers lied.

I brought home a cat that was STARVING! Have you ever seen a kitten jump into a fridge and savagely attack fruit?? I have. Have you ever seen a cat so unsure of its next meal that it got its head stuck in a mason jar glass, and despite being in the stages of passing out from lack of air, it continued licking the side of the glass? Yup, I saw that too. This cat was ‘sweet’ and ‘laidback’ because apparently it was severely malnourished. After a few days of meals, and whatever else got left on the counter, Sophie, as she had henceforth been named, turned into a beast.

The first clue that this cat was going to cause me stress came 1 week after I got her. I came home to find that white little fur ball attempting suicide on the chain from the blinds. She had herself so tightly wrapped up, I had to get my upstairs neighbor to come downstairs to help me free her.

This had been two cries for help from Sophie in one week of owning her. (Her freedom from the mason jar came on behalf of the plumber who was working on my apartment). Nevertheless we soldiered on. After killing of many beta fish, and every single plant I tried to grow, Sophie managed to make it through her first week with me, alive.

Shortly after getting her I ended up moving into another apartment that was in an old heritage building in downtown Regina. The windows were older, and the ones in the living room had no screens. Despite my best efforts to keep them closed, one got left open and I wandered into the living room one morning to find Sophie attempting suicide for the third time in as many months. She was half way out of the window, 2 stories up. As I always did for Sophie, I talked her off the ledge and explained she had a lot to live for. I was pregnant! She was getting, what I was sure she had always wanted… a playmate!!

Sophie was not happy. Sophie did not want a playmate.

Sophie got a second playmate.

Sophie started peeing on things. He litter box of choice?? Our mattress. This was the 4th suicide mission for Sophie. Once again, I saved her. I convinced Mike to let me take her to the vet because I knew (desperately hoped) something was wrong.

There was. And there was a HUGE bill to go with the problem. Let’s call that her fifth attempt at ending her life with us.

Then she peed on our bed again. Yup, that was six.

I managed to convince Mike that it was actually our fault as we left her to roam around the house while we were gone, and obviously the mattress hadn’t been carefully neutralized. Sophie negotiated herself a permanent citizenship in the basement unless we were home.

To add to the anger-induced incontinence, Sophie never warmed to anybody other than Mike, myself, and more and more, Annabelle. She scared grown men and women alike who came to visit us with her creepy-as-hell howling and screeching. When people tried to go somewhere remotely close to her food, water, litter, or whatever else she decided was off limits, Sophie let out a war cry that had even veteran animal lovers, heading for cover. We’ll chalk this up at her seventh, and eighth attempt to end her citizenship at the Klassen house. At this stage, it was only Annabelle who saved her. Sophie basically let Annabelle do whatever she wanted to her (Including feeding her like a baby with a fake bottle, and pushing her in a stroller), and in turn Mike couldn’t quite bring himself to send Sophie to live with another family.

Well, they say cats have nine lives and Sophie sealed the deal when, after years of being.. well, let’s say decent since good probably doesn’t quite seem appropriate, she started anger peeing on our bed again.

Not even little Annabelle could save her I’m afraid. Mike calmly informed us Sophie had finally succeeded in behaving so terribly that she had to go. After long conversations with cat lovers, and a conversation I tried to have with the cat herself, we came to the decision that Sophie was honestly no longer very happy in our chaotic, busy household anymore, and if there was someone who could offer her what we couldn’t, we should give her away.

Sophie left our house yesterday with Mike and Belle to go to an acreage that takes in cats like her, and places them in homes more to their liking. After I got over the initial feeling like I failed miserably as an animal lover, my friends and family reminded me that poor Sophie would have been a goner a loooong time ago without me.

Unfortunately, it will only be Annabelle and I who will go on to remember her fondly. It won’t be Janelle, who got cornered and attacked by her in the dark while staying with us recently, or the other friends and family who have come to visit us and gotten caught upstairs, unable to come down past the howling cat. And, it really, really, really won’t be Mike who has cursed the cat since I brought her home, and who had only his side of the bed peed on.

Dear Sophie, you and I tried to make it work for almost 8 years. Alas, it was not to be. I hope you find that quiet, cat lady-type home you have longed for.

An offshoot of these events has been the sense of alarm my parents feel after seeing how Mike and I dealt so swiftly with what went on:

As quoted by my dad yesterday

“We better not get old and start pissing the bed, or Brittany will send us out to ‘the farm’”.

Sophie-- in her happier moments.

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