Watch Your Neck.

I am not an animal person.

I am sorry, world.

Here’s the thing: I feel like pets should grow up.

Like, say, I don’t know…people?

At some point, probably a few minutes after I’ve met the thing, I’m like, hey, Spot, would you please clean up after yourself and stop drooling? You should know better. How embarrassing.

But inevitably, Spot doesn’t. Spot still needs me to pick up its literal crap and feed it and pet it and maybe even play a humiliating game of fetch.

And so I’m like, nah. I pass.

Well, folks, go ahead and laugh.

I now have a kitten.

Kitten, whose name is still TBD (I’m taking suggestions), was found at a Mennonite church in my college town by my friend’s parents. They are pastors at this church, and for all I know, the Lord God Him/Herself called Unnamed Kitten to the altar and that’s where she first met Jesus, my friend’s parents, and through a long twisty vine of communication, me.

Could I hear a “hallelujah?”

Yes, it’s true. One day I, the self-declared non-pet-person, decided I wanted a cat. Apparently, I communicated this aloud.

My friend Megan and I actually went to the shelter here in town to check the little buggers out. The pet-loving lady who toured us around, though, only showed me fat old cats. They were grumpy. And old. And named.

The curly-haired pet-lover lady was like, “Here’s so-and-so and here is her long list of preferences, and op! Don’t pet its belly it really doesn’t appreciate that.” And I felt like, ah, we have so much history to catch up on! Where would we even begin!? We don’t know each other!

A few weeks ago, Unnamed Kitten was offered to me. This abandoned, adorable kitten, saved by Jesus Himself. If the story didn’t capture your heart, the Facebook photos would. How could I say no?

And apparently I couldn’t, because now I have a kitten in my studio.

Unnamed Kitten is a bit…well, sometimes she is the devil incarnate and sometimes the altar call seemed to have really done her good.

She’ll hide behind anything–everything–and wait to jump out and attack your leg with such ferocity there are no words to explain the terror. She’ll also bite your fingers, toes, knees, biceps (!) and, if she wants to play and you are asleep because it’s 2AM, or 5AM, or right-before-the-alarm-rings-AM, she will purr in your face and nuzzle your neck.

The neck, it would seem, is the perfect location to subtly but clearly remind you that with one simple stroke she could slice your veins and it’d all be over.

I’ve explained to Unnamed Kitten multiple times that such behavior is not acceptable. 

Occasionally she gets it. She loves to greet me. She loves to follow me. When she’s in a good mood, she’ll snuggle and purr and show endless affection.

Unnamed Kitten and I are still working on stabilizing our relationship.

I am optimistic, though, as I was when I agreed to take her. I’m optimistic she’ll be good for me.

After all, September was a difficult month. I think it was just that coming back was harder than I anticipated. I sort of assumed that, having lived in Chicago before, I’d be able to adapt to being back in the city after a month or so.

No, I take that back.

After a month.

I clearly thought to myself, “you’ll be rockin’ and rollin’ in a month.” One month. Exactly.

Life doesn’t always cooperate exactly with your timeline, though. Go figure. Not in a bad sort of life-sucks-woe-is-me way, just in a practical, logistical, it’s-taking-longer way and I acknowledge that.

Transitions are challenging. Maybe you’re facing some, too?

It’s autumn, after all. ‘Seasons of change’ or what not.

I spent the better of six months well taken care of, with family, in nature often, certainly in places that move at a much. slower. pace. than this city, and locations where the rent is not nearly so high (/nonexistent).

Unnamed Kitten is here for me to take care of. Unnamed Kitten is here for me to nurture and be accountable for. Unnamed Kitten demands that I come home and not work 12 hours straight and that I do something other than edit casting schedules and freelance write, such as throw a ball or rattle this fishing pole thing I bought.

Unnamed Kitten is softening my heart a little.

And while I may not be a pet person, I’m still a person who needs to be reminded of all of those things now and again.

Here’s to October and challenging ourselves to grow a bit. Here’s to loving more and nurturing more and trying new things. Here’s to redefining how we think of ourselves and our expectations of ourselves.

Here’s to training this little bugger how not to bite.*

*Pet advice welcome!

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One thought on “Watch Your Neck.

  1. Pingback: Christmas Letter 2014: A Filterer’s Review | vanessa marie

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