A year ago, I sat on my bed disillusioned by the fact I was turning 26. And reflectively it wasn’t the 26 that wasn’t the actual problem.
I had taken a year off teaching to embark on another journey, which ironically has landed me back to exactly where I started. And as I was busily searching for an income, the stresses of limited money were beginning to play a lot of my mind.
It was my birthday. I climbed out of bed with my boyfriend (at the time – very important point). Already grumpy and less than excited about my party at the nighttime, I managed to unwrap my presents.
As a natural gift giver, nothing pleases more than spending money on people you care about. However I am not the best gift receiver. I always feel that people have spent too much, or I don’t need the object in the first place.
So, unwrapping my first gift, I received a sport’s jacket and matching leggings. To my disgust I was actually expected to wear them together. The leggings were great, but the jacket was disastrous. I wear jackets when I’m cold, so therefore exercise jackets must be thick, not this light neoprene red zip up. Am I supposed to wear it in summer?
Throwing it into my car, we had to head out to pick up my other present. Grumpily enough, I climbed into the car and we drove to Chapel St.
I was instructed not to peek and he will be back shortly. So I sat there, on a miserable day in a car on Chapel St for my birthday. The discontent with day thus far had only plummeted my dissolution with life further.
As I sat there and waited anxiously, several thoughts crossed my mind. What exactly do we need to pick up on a Sunday? Couldn’t he have been more organised so that I could focus my day on something more productive?
Suddenly the door opened and this large grey box with holes was pushed towards me. Shocked and startled, I did not lean forward eagerly; I sat forward and covered my lap.
He motioned for me to move my hands so he can put it on me. I was furious! All of a sudden I had a pet. As he walked to the driver’s side, I sat there with my hands in the air. I was pissed. We had not discussed this and further more I was moving out of my house very shortly.
Finally he climbed into the car, by this time I was screaming and repeating the words “what is it?” He immediately replied. He then asked me to take a look inside. I had not had the reaction he had wanted.
It was at this point of rage that I realised that regardless of what this animal looks like, I could never take it back to the Pet Store. I would never forgive myself if someone gave them a worse life than I could have. Irony at it’s finest.
At last I had calmed down enough to open the box and peek inside. Inside was the most beautiful grey little kitten I had ever seen. As soon as I reached inside she purred and I was in love.
She was gorgeous. With big green eyes and the lightest of grey hair, she looked up at me and meowed. I knew myself well enough at this stage to realize that there was no chance of giving this sweet little creature.
Having a kitten again was a great experience. I had forgotten how much I loved cats. And moreover I finally had the cat that I had always wanted. She loved me and I loved her back. I was happy.
So a year has passed since this beautiful little kitten had wound its way into my life. And what is more alarming is the gravity of consequences such a thoughtless gift has had. Ironically for him, it turned out that I loved the cat far more than I cared about him. To this effect it even became a point of argument between the two of us as his selfish, single child, unloved, persona became jealous of me giving more attention to the cat than him.
I knew once I had the cat, that it was always going to be my burden. Although I had to ring the council and get her moved into my name. He was never going to look after her. He hated cats. I knew I would be stuck with the cat regardless of my living situation.
Inevitably the time came for me to move out of my palace. I was stranded. And what’s worse is that I had the cat to consider. If you know cats, they almost entirely exhibit all of the symptoms of Asperger’s Syndrome. They hate change, they socialize only on their terms and they will do whatever they want when they want. Problematic if you are trying to relocate your cat to a new house.
Lucky for me my girlfriend said it would be ok to move into her house with her daughter. The plan was to stay there until I had quit my job as a teacher and then to relocate towards the city. Everything was going along smoothly until the phone call from the agent saying that they are selling the house and there will be twice weekly open for inspections. Disaster.
I had not long finished moving all my stuff in the house and faced the possibility that I would have to give up my cat. I was out of options and out of money. I was stuck. It brought me right back to my initial feelings I had when the box was placed on my lap in the car.
I was angry. I was angry because I had never wanted a cat. I had never wanted to have to complicate my living situation further by having a furry burden. This added to the pain that I felt inside when I had to consider the option of giving away the best cat that I have ever had. She relies on me. She loves me and I love her.
The most confusing part was the anxiety and sadness because of a stupid choice by a psychologically unstable ex-boyfriend, who thought the best way to control me and keep me at home was to get me a cat. Once he began to realize that the cat was the focal point of my life, he too understood the gravity of his mistake.
When the time came to move from my girlfriend’s house, I struggled to find flatmates that would allow me to bring my cat into their home. Place after place, I was being rejected on the basis of having a cat. I was stuck. Again.
Luckily for me, another one of my girlfriends was able to take her for a while whilst I continued to work out my life. Fortunately I have found a place that will let me have my cat. And although we have been separated for two months, I know she will love me once again.
The lesson to be learnt here is that pets are not to be given. Under no circumstances should you burden someone else with a pet when they have not asked for one. It is unfair and there is generally a reason why someone does not have a pet in the first place. Although I love my cat, it has been a tremendous burden. I have antagonised immensely over the future of this cat. And I would not wish this emotional turmoil on anyone.
So rethink your gifting ideas, there are a thousand of crappy gifts that can be placed into bad gift drawer and re-gifted.
A pet is a pet for life
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