My mother was never a pet person. Growing up, I wanted a pet, but never really bothered to ask for one more than a time or two. In my mind, it was pointless. My mom just wasn’t into the idea, and so I figured convincing her to get one for the family would just leave her miserable if I ever did succeed.
This wasn’t my brother’s line of thinking. To be completely honest, he’d always wanted a pet much more than I ever did as a kid. He wasn’t very picky about the type of pet he’d have either (and nothing much has changed considering his house is basically a zoo now!), would’ve accepted a hamster or a guinea pig, but he asked to have a dog the most – definitely a cat as a close second.
Each and every single time he’d ask, he’d be met with a resounding, “No!” Of course he’d come back asking why. My mom’s list of reasons for not waning any pets was long: They’re messy. They’re not free to take care of. She’d have to clean up after them. She didn’t want her furniture to get ruined. While we’d get a pet for ourselves, we’d never help out taking care of it. She had enough responsibilities… All valid points, and the underlying cause she never really voiced, but we heard loud and clear: she just wasn’t a pet person.
We knew this. She probably only ever really liked one of the pets she’d ever met in her life: my aunt and uncle’s little Maltese named Brunzie. And being completely honest with you, her liking of this pet was very mild – more like an “I contentedly put up with you existing around me,” rather than an “I like having you around.” She rarely pet Brunzie, and even though that cute little dog would come up to her quite frequently and actually seemed to like her reasonably well, the most we got out of her was a joke or two about how Brunzie liked her better than other relatives because she sat still and didn’t bother the dog.
Time went on and I moved out. My brother still lived at home in the meantime. Four years younger than I and in his first months at college, it was going to be a while before he moved out. While many years of “no’s” when it came to asking for pets would have discouraged near anyone from asking again, he was still trying, though less and less over time.
Picture from post Kitty Cat Photobomb
And then something changed. Not for John, but for me. Living with Thomas on the top floor of our cute little bungalow, cat sitting Weiss, a friend’s cat, we met Avery, a stray in our neigbourhood who cried at our window, and in just a matter of months our life was no longer just the two of us, but we and our cat.
Now, one thing you have to know about our Avery – he’s quite a gentleman. Not really a playful little thing, and almost certainly the most well behaved cat you’ll ever meet in your life – he’s quite good at melting hearts and in my opinion has done considerably well at this task over the years, especially with my grandmother – though that’s another story.
My parents met Avery, got used to Avery, and of course my brother’s pleas for a cat ramped up. This time founded in, “You like Avery! Cats aren’t that hard to take care of!” on top of the old, “I swear I’ll take care of him!”
I wouldn’t really say it worked; my mom still wasn’t having much of it. She liked Avery, but yet again, it was more or less, “I’m contentedly putting up with you existing near me.” Not really a heart melting experience for her.
But John at this point didn’t care. The fact that I had a cat and having a cat was no longer strange or made to look like ever-so-much-work to my mother meant to him that he had an in. It didn’t matter if she wasn’t a pet person: so long as she didn’t stop him from getting a pet, at this point, he was set on getting one.
Long story short, he met a little shelter kitty, being fostered by one of his friends, an annoying little hyperactive, boisterous kind of cat – he fell in love, committed himself to taking him home with him, and in a few months time, had him at my mother’s house.
Oh remember my mom’s biggest excuse for not wanting us to get a pet?
My brother landed a full time job the very same week he took Walker in (a name he thought was amazing, by the way, since his name was Johnny – i.e. Johnnie Walker?).
So my mom took care of the pet that my brother had adopted for himself.
And you know what.
He’s 100% her pet now. Quite honestly he has sort of been since the end of the first week he arrived.
My mom even regularly jokes that she and my brother are the cat’s parents, and that my dad (her husband) is Walker’s grandpa.
Did she complain about John leaving his pet at home and not spending time with “his son” – quite frankly yes. She did. But in that time of taking care of him, he and her bonded to a level I’ve rarely seen – she’s closer to her cat than nearly anyone I know, and all it took was this little rascal of a fella’s boisterous personality and a few weeks of quality time with him to break through to her.
He was work, yes. She ended up with all the work. 100% yes. But now she’s a pet person. More specifically, she’s Walker’s person.
The transformation into a full on pet person happened somewhat slowly, but now she actually likes other people’s pets. Her relationship with Avery has even changed. While she used to put up with him, and hesitatingly pet him for a minute or two (worried he’d scratch or bite or something along those lines) – now, she’ll actively go up to Avery, sit right next to him, and spend hours petting him! Something she never even would have imagined herself doing before Walker came into her life. Hell, she’s even happy spending time with small dogs now! None of our family members ever would’ve seen it coming – and truly, neither would she.
Years and years of resistance to the cuteness of pets in general, and this one little cat reverses that in a week or two flat. Then actually over time changes her to become more and more of a pet person – even to the point of liking other people’s pets more? Mad.
Picture from post Go Time & Cats Playing Nice
See, I don’t think just any pet could’ve done that for her. I think if she cat sat Avery for a week or a month, or Weiss, or any other cat we know – really, they just wouldn’t have made a big impact on her. Walker transformed her in ways we never thought possible – and certainly she’s a lot better for it.
There’s something about Walker in particular that did the trick. A very whiny kitty who’s quite a bit of mischief and frequently gets on everybody’s nerves all at once (reminds me of somebody else I know 😉 – *ehhem John? #brothers), Walker struck a chord in my mom that’d never been struck before, and forever changed her as a person.
Changed her into a pet person.