“Honey, pass the peas, please…. Bucket Head, stop licking your pork chop!… Who set the table? Nice job on the napkins, Mini-Me…. Oh, I forgot to tell you, Vincent has a band concert on Thursday; can you get home early?… Hey you guys, who wants Mommy to have another baby?”
“MEEEEEEEEEEE!” the kids all screamed simultaneously while my husband’s eyeballs popped out of his skull and rolled into his mashed potatoes.
Did I really just say that? Out loud?
And my kids actually WANT me to have another baby?
What the what?!
I’m 43 years old. My husband had a vasectomy nanoseconds after Bucket Head’s birth. I have no business thinking about another baby.
And yet, I do. I think about it.
More so now than ever, particularly when I’m struggling so much with depression, I think about having something to put all my energy into so I can stop obsessing about myself and how bad I feel all the time.
Obviously it’s a terrible combination and not even a physical option, so I laughed it off and said “I’m just kidding!” to the kids and they groaned, “Awwwww! Don’t tease us like that!”
But out of the blue, one of my sisters-in-law called last week and said, “I’m fostering a stray kitten and she’s really cute. Want her?”
Of course we wanted her! We love kitties! There has been a hole in our hearts ever since our beloved 3-year-old cat Gracie got sick and died suddenly last year. I still round the corner and expect to see her regally perched on the arm of the love seat, batting at Ike’s tail as he walks by.
Yes. We wanted a kitten. Well, 4 out of 5 of us wanted a kitten. We don’t call him “The Gatekeeper” for nothing. It was not going to be easy to convince my non-animal-loving husband to allow another pet into our home.
And then there’s our infamous Leopard Spotted Gecko with erectile dysfunction and a penchant for literary self-expression.
Yeah. I guess we’ve kinda got our hands full.
Wouldn’t hurt to ask though, right?
Uh… wrong. Presenting The Gatekeeper’s response:
Once he stopped sneering, he could list myriad reasons a kitten was a bad idea:
1.) the cost
2.) the mess
3.) the dog
4.) the hassle
5.) the scratching
6.) the smell
7.) the noise
8.) the additional clutter
9.) again, the cost
10.) “…seriously, do you not remember the mess?”
But then my sister-in-law stopped by just to show us the kitten, and this happened:
And just like that, The Gatekeeper’s heart grew two sizes that day.
We named her Lucy.
She has two modes: complete spaz and narcoleptic stupor. I’ve actually seen her fall asleep in mid-grooming-lick. In fact, she’s sleeping on my lap right this minute. It is delightful.
The therapeutic properties of a high-energy/super-snuggly kitten are not to be underestimated. Plus, the whole family has banded together to tidy up the house so she has fewer piles to tumble in and scatter. Cleaner house? Priceless.
And it’s much harder to wallow in self-pity when you’re busy with things like admiring the pinkest toes ever and solving new mysteries like “What’s that on your nose, doggie? Wait… is that cat litter? OH GROSS! You’ve been eating cat shit?! Dammit.”
So there’s that.
Overall, I would say that Pet Therapy is working remarkably well. I still have a long way to go and a lot of work ahead of me, but I feel a little better than I did last week and that’s a good start.
I’m not saying kittens are THE answer to depression and anxiety. Your results may vary.
However, the side effects of a kitten are way less physiologically disturbing than any SSRI I’ve ever taken. So I’m thinking that I may be onto something here. I’ll keep you posted.
In the meantime, if you’re looking for me, I’ll probably be on the couch with a kitten asleep on my chest.
Try not to wake the baby, m’kay?
P.S. – For more photos of Lucy, as well as random family, garden, and life portraits, please follow me on Instagram.