Saturday, May 4, 2013

I'm not like a real mom, I'm a pet mom

Mother's Day is fast approaching. I still haven't figured out what to get my mom but I'm sure I'll think of something before next weekend (helpful reminder for those of you who forgot). Buzzfeed has not helped at all.

There's a lesser recognized group of moms in the world that I think we should discuss - pet moms. Yes, pet moms. I want to be clear: I am not equating your child to my pet (especially if you have a child with actual medical needs). What you do is different from what I do and I understand that. I think moms are awesome so I am in no way trying to diminish motherhood and all its challenges and rewards.

Moving on.

As a pet mom, I have a responsibility for a living being. I take that responsibility very seriously. I have to make sure on a daily basis that she's fed, has water, litter box access, and most importantly, places to nap. In return, I get to have a tiny cat in my apartment who occasionally sits on my lap, allows me to pet her, and does incredibly entertaining things. Additionally, I get head-butted at 4 am when she would like to be fed and receive looks that may imply that she intends to kill me in my sleep. Having a cat can be an intense experience but Pumpkin is super cute and awesome so it's worth it. My favorite thing about Pumpkin: when she plays with her toys because no one is paying attention to her. It's like having a one performer circus in my living room.

Like an actual mom, I worry that I'm raising her right and making good choices when it comes to her well being. When I moved back to Virginia last summer I brought Pumpkin to my parents' house for the 2 months before my move. I was concerned she wouldn't do well on another cross-country drive. It was really hard to make the decision. Was I being a bad pet mom for leaving her for 2 months with "strangers" (they're not strangers but you know what I mean) and the dog? Was she going to remember me? Would she exact some kind of bizarre cat revenge for leaving her?

She was fine and I'm not a bad pet mom. However, she did pick up some bad habits while staying with her "grandparents." My mom took to feeding Pumpkin treats from her hand on a daily basis. I have no patience for this but I think Pumpkin returned home with some sort of daily treat expectation that I have slowly broken down. Pumpkin also seemed to think being on top of the fridge or cabinets was more acceptable presumably since she had been staying in a house with a dog and needed the advantage of height. I've been less inclined to care about this one since she seems to be able to get down on her own (which wasn't always the case).

I think I was most concerned about something happening to her and my not being there to take care of her (not that my parents wouldn't have done an excellent job). Pumpkin has had three major medical issues since I adopted her - an abscess on the left side of her face, major dental work (related to the abscess which required me to give her kitty morphine), and that time she swallowed a needle and thread. Each one was awful and made me feel like I was the worst pet mom ever. I could have prevented the last one but only if I had realized that she grabbed the thread when I had my sewing box out. I only realized it when I saw it hanging out of her mouth.

My friend, Amy, had a similar experience this week with her dog. Amy has visited the Island before and is a good sport when it comes to me randomly talking about her in blog form. Amy has two lovely pups, Dixie and Muddi. I met them on my move back to Virginia last summer. They are super friendly and Amy is a great pet mom. Earlier this week Dixie ate some socks (since that's what dogs do) and one got caught in her stomach. She was in the hospital most of the week and had to have surgery to remove the sock. Poor Dixie and poor Amy. I know Amy was anxious about Dixie and it's hard to focus when something like this happens. There's not much you can do but wait. And of course, there are always people who won't get it or think "it's just a dog or a cat." I can't be friends with those people. Thankfully, Dixie is recovering and got to come home last night - just look at that happy face!

Here are some things you can do to celebrate the pet moms in your life:
  • At the dog park, compliment how well her dog(s) plays and socializes with other dogs. This is especially important if the dog shared its toy.
  • Compliment the awesome way in which her cat can squeeze itself into the tiniest box or surprise you with being in that shopping bag you left on the floor. That takes skill. Cats are ninjas.
  • When shown a picture of the pet, you can honestly say, "Oh he's so cute and hamsterish" because the pet is, in fact, a hamster.
  • Send your pet mom friend a card from her pet. She'll appreciate it even more if you draw a paw print on the card like a signature.
  • Don't ask her when she's going to have actual children. You're not helping.
Here's the best thing about having a pet: it doesn't matter if you're gone for two minutes or two months, your pet will always be happy to see you because they love you unconditionally and like you at the same time.

Or it's the cat treats in my hand.

Dixie's photo by Amy - thanks for being part of today's post!

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