“I would like to have a cat. »
Posted at 5:00 a.m.
Officially, it was my son’s idea. Secretly, it was my wish since that day my cat Gris-gris disappeared.
I was 10 years old. I have long suspected my mother of having orchestrated this mysterious disappearance, the rumor that my brother is allergic. More than 30 years later, she swears to me that it is not so. Gris-gris had really run away. We never saw him again.
Why don’t we adopt a cat? OK ! If you insist…
In truth, he didn’t have to insist.
At home, we went to the vote. Two pro-cat, two anti-cat. I decided it was just an advisory vote and took the decision, confident that the anti-cat clan would eventually rally.
We are therefore one of the many families who adopted a kitten during the pandemic. Chance wanted it to be all gray and cute like the lost cat I was 10 years old.
I naively thought that the presence of a kitten at home would be a source of wisdom and appeasement at the heart of our anxiety-provoking lives. When a cat purrs, for a moment, there are no more killings, no more wars, no more climate crisis, no more hate, no more pandemic, no more disease… We were going to entrust our stress to the cat so that it recycles it in zenitude. He was going to help us turn our backs on the fury of the world and get back to the “real business” – sleeping, looking out the window, observing humans, hunting imaginary prey, eating, stretching, being petted.
I note, alas, four months later that, even if my pro-cat propaganda has worked and won the hearts of the felinosceptic half of the family, it is not quite the way I imagined. And it’s not just anecdotal. Contrary to popular belief, having a pet is not an antidote to the unbridled stress of our lives, reveals a recent study conducted by a researcher at UQAM. The study carried out during the pandemic looked at the psychological well-being of 2,500 people in Canada. Half had a pet. The other half had none. Results ? Those who had one generally reported lower psychological well-being than the others.
This is particularly true for women, parents with several children at home and unemployed people for whom pets may have represented a financial burden and additional stress during the pandemic*.
In fact, while my list of worries was already long enough for my liking, I never thought I would worry so much about a cat. Far from calming me down, this cozy ball of hair to which the whole family has become attached has become an additional source of stress.
If cats have seven lives, ours is reduced to four.
There was that winter evening when we lost him. Have you seen the cat? Well no, I thought he was with you. Ah! I thought he was with you…
We went around every corner of the house. We called him. We furiously waved a bag of kibble. Not a sound, not a meow. Where had he gone?
It’s hard to catch a black cat in a dark room, especially when it’s not there, says the Chinese proverb that suited our investigation.
I refused to open the washing machine which was running… When I heard shouting: “Aaaah! I thought the worst. Fortunately, our intrepid kitten hadn’t slipped into the bottom of the washing machine, but into a drawer in the kitchen while we were preparing lunches. He had decided to take a short nap between two tupperware. When we discovered his hiding place with trepidation, he gave us an annoyed look, as if to say: “What is your problem? A cat can no longer take a quiet nap? »
There was that other time when he took advantage of a badly closed cupboard to explore the exposed old pipes of the house. He was stuck there until a complex rescue-kibble operation was set in motion.
And last Saturday, there was the episode that finished me off. I quietly read the newspapers while drinking a coffee. I saw with a distracted eye that the cat was playing with a rubber band that was lying on the table. By the time he realized he was really swallowing the damn rubber band, it was too late…
I questioned the Dr Google which did not reassure me by telling me about possible intestinal obstruction requiring an emergency operation. I called my vet who advised me to give the cat a laxative paste, monitor his symptoms and litter box closely and consult if he lacks appetite and deteriorates.
One day, you imagine that your life could become one long quiet purr. The next day, your kitten decides to swallow a rubber band and you run to buy cat laxative.
Going in search of said potion on this beautiful Saturday morning, I asked myself the question of Pierre-Yves McSween. Did you really need it?
I felt like I was paying the price for my rigged advisory vote.
You wanted a cat, huh? Too bad for you… Stress now.
I called my mother who, from Aleppo to Montreal, has always had cats and was quick to put things into perspective.
” Do not worry. Once, in Syria, the cat swallowed your grandmother’s wedding ring… We ended up getting it back! »
I didn’t ask for the details. That was already too much info for me. But she was right. The rubber band episode ended in the litter box, without an emergency operation, to the delight of the whole family who had become resolutely pro-cat.
Despite all the hassle, the truth is that I won’t go back on my decision for anything in the world.