Mia is a House Cat

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Or, The Unplanned Saga of Mia Kitty

Read it and weep. All offers of sympathy will be accepted in full.

"Sure. Just use your judgment; I trust you to take good care of the house."

This is the most beautiful, stress-relieving one-line email I've ever gotten. Pete finally talked with our landlord yesterday about our Very Annoying Cat Situation.

When we adopted Puddles and Mia, we had planned to have two outdoor cats at our country-ish home in the West Virginia mountains. Three months later, we found ourselves looking for homes for our new fambly members so that we wouldn't have to move them across state lines (is there some violation of interstate commerce here, I wonder? WHOA. THAT thought means I've been married to a lawyer for too long... *cue scary music*). Puddles happily settled into house cat mode with our friends the Joneses, but Mia was forced to make the trek from Harpers Ferry to Charleston in the Budget rental truck with Pete (who, incidentally, posted last night on our non-updated joint blog).

Within a week of our arrival, Mia was making the rounds of the neighborhood during the day and residing in the shed in our backyard at night. We began to meet our neighbors as we went looking for our cat when we wanted her to come play with Piper, and she bonded with some neighbor kids across the street.

Mia started taking walks with people who passed our house and accompanying the neighbor girl to the bus stop where she was nearly hit by a passing car. The neighbors repeatedly returned her to us with well-meaning, "she is in danger" comments that didn't really worry me because I knew Mia didn't like cars.

Then Mia was mated by a too-friendly neighborhood cat that we Do Not Like, and we had to get her spayed right away, a $200 fee and a two-week in-house stay that we hadn't planned and didn't want because of the "No Pets!" stipulation in our lease that we had not known about (despite repeated queries) prior to our move.

When we went out of town for a wedding in September, we returned to find no sign of her. When I called the vet the next morning to see if anyone had called the number on her tag, I discovered that one of the neighbors had taken her home over the weekend, worried about her safety.

We were happy that the cat was all right, but two weeks later, we discovered a wound in her side that looked as though it had been made by a pellet gun. Another $150 later, I was keeping her in the house unless we were outside with her.

Just before Thanksgiving, Mia disappeared again after escaping outside when we left for the afternoon. That evening, I called and I called and I called, and I lost sleep worrying that she didn't come when I called. She reappeared the next morning, sans-collar and glad to be home.

Before we left for my parents' for Thanksgiving, I crossed the street to ask the neighbor if she would mind if her kids watched the cat for us. In the conversation with our neighbor lady, who heads up the neighborhood watch, I discovered not only that Mia had spent the night with them the night before, but also that several of our neighbors had been freaked-out-worried about the cat (did she have cancer (after the shot wound)? Would the neighbor guy who shot her try to trap her? It's too cold outside; you can't keep a cat outside at night! what kind of pet owners are these people? Did you know there's a leash law even for cats in this neighborhood?). I left the conversation grateful that no one had taken our cat to the pound, but furious and somewhat violated.

I grew up on a farm. CATS LIVE OUTSIDE.

I lived in northern Virginia. PEOPLE MIND THEIR OWN BUSINESS.

Yesterday, my wonderful husband finally got around to describing our situation as responsible pet-owners to our landlord, who responded with the above missive.

Mia is a house cat now.

'Nuff said.


dancebythelight said...

Funny. I love animals! I grew up on a farm too, and it cracks me up the way some people are so over-protective of their animals. Imagine it, some animals still live outside! And I've noticed something. Often the people I know who are oh so doting and over-pampering of their pets tend to treat the people in their lives like crap. Hmmm, interesting.

Hope Mia reconciles herself to being a house cat so the neighbors can stop worrying.

the Joneses said...

Poor Mia. Or, rather, poor Mia's owners. Puddles spends most of her day outside, coming in to eat and to sleep in whichever bedroom she can get into. But she's mostly an outside cat.

Sounds like you've landed in Serious Suburbia, where people worry about cats getting too cold and having cancer. Good heavens.

-- SJ

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