My outrageous adoption story and how it harboured a pet parent out of my own
By CJ Sommerfeld, Staff Writer
All plans of having a secret-room cat dissolved in the morning when my mum came into my room to wake me up for school.
You know those memes that revolve around a parent who was reluctant to get a pet, but wound up falling in absolute love with it once it was brought home? My own kitty adoption story from when I was a tween is a reproduction of that classic narrative.
For as long as I can remember my mum has been incredibly terrified of animals. When she was young, a pair of poodles (the standard-size ones, not the tiny, toy ones) attacked her. Up until a few years ago her perpetual fear of dogs was a strong element in curating family outings. Even going for a walk could wind up in an anxiety-inducing experience if someone was out walking their dog. In such case—as there was nearly every walk—we would cross the street well in advance. Hiking with her was similarly a fretful fiasco. We would only hike spots that had on-leash requirements, and when we were to pass an on-leash dog, a volcano of fret would simultaneously occur. Despite my mum not having trauma with kitties, similar to not being allowed to have a pet dog, pet cats were a no-go.
During my second year of high school, my best friend’s mother was divorcing her then-husband. They had a ton of cats but were selling their home to part ways and move into separate apartments which, unfortunately, meant that they were unable to keep their hoard of kitties. My best friend asked me to adopt his favourite of the hoard; he knew how my mum was but did not want his most-liked kitten (a dark-grey ragdoll) to wind up at the SPCA. We decided that I would adopt his favourite by sneaking the cat into my bedroom hiding it from my mum.
My friend lived on the mainland with his dad and partner, but his mom and her then-husband lived on Vancouver Island—which meant that to retrieve the near-homeless kitty, we too would have to go to the island. After school somedays later, we caught the ferry to Victoria. We briefly met his mother at the Swartz Bay terminal, where she gave us the heaviest possible kitty carrier, and we took the next ferry back.
Teaghan meowed for the near entirety of the ferry and bus ride back to my home, which was nearing midnight. It worked in my favour that I did not have a cell phone at the time as I was poor, and this was over 10 years ago when cellphones were near bricks. My mum had no idea that I had gone to the island and back before having returned home that night. By the time I got home, everyone was sleeping, and I brought the meowing carrying case into my room and closed the door. I planned to secretly keep this kitty in my room without my mum ever finding out.
All plans of having a secret-room cat dissolved in the morning when my mum came into my room to wake me up for school. Instead of being woken up by her words, I was instead woken up by a death scream. Whoops. She did not make me get rid of the cat but was far from happy. For a long time, she remained partial to Teaghan. Only when I moved out a few years later did she become one with the grey rag doll.
Forcing Teaghan into her life has decreased her fear of animals exponentially. Succeeding my moving out, my little brothers first bought her a short hair kitten, and then an Australian Shephard. During which time she created a Facebook, under the pseudonym of her cat. All of her profile pictures are also of the cats, and all of her posts are of the two cats—not ironically.
Pre-covid days, her Christmas and other vacations were always cut short. She would return home early “just in case something happened” to her kitties despite having someone stay at her home to look after them. Present-day, her home is catered to the felines; the kitchen has a larger area for their food and water dishes than there is for her table and chairs.
The cats might as well have their own phones; video calling her largely involves kitty nostrils, whiskers, induced meows, and narration of what the cats are doing, and how the cats’ days were. These calls are more so a conversation with her cats than they are with her.
Are you apprehensive to get a cat because one of your parents does not want one? Unless they are allergic to them (which might be unsafe), why not bring a cat home? Who knows, such an event might invoke a crazy cat parent in them!