When Turtle and I started dating, I came with just two fish, two pets rats, and the promise of a dog. I suppose for some people the fish and the rats were negligible, but there they were. Within the first few months, my fish had both leaped to their deaths, drying out next to my keyboard at work. This was very sad, but educational: turns out betta fish in their natural habitat jump from puddle to puddle and are excellent and skilled jumpers! What it does not explain is why petstores sell betta bowls with open tops, or why it took me two jumpers to learn that fact.
Turtle, on the other hand, came with The Prettiest Cat in the World, who took awhile to warm up to me. The first time I met her, I was all, “She’s so pretty! I love her!” and she was all, “My eyes are glinting and I will probably kill you with my expert killer skills if you come any closer. Or just run away.” I asked Turtle early on in our relationship who she would pick if she had to choose between me and Piper. (Note: this is probably not a good question to ask your significant other). The answer was, of course, Piper; several months later, I knew Turtle really loved me when the answer was “I’m not sure.”
Daphne joined our family before we were really a family; we lived within a mile of each other but had our own places and hadn’t been dating six months yet. Our big move-in came 7 months later, and the animals transitioned relatively well. I won’t show you the videos of PiperCat putting Daphne in her place.
And then! And then the cat I got in high school who still lived with my parents got sick. Huge weight loss, regular vomiting, and he was missing an eye! Well, the eye part wasn’t new, but he moved in with us (temporarily! We promised!) until we could get things sorted out. Folks, working at a vet and getting the discount makes big things possible. One-Eyed Jake was diagnosed with something along the spectrum of irritable bowel disease and lymphoma (apparently it’s a spectrum. learning is fun), we treated him, and then… we kept him.
He is always in need of a lap, and if you are not sitting down he will put his paws on your lap and meow. He likes to sleep under the covers, and snuggles up against me on cold nights. He is absolutely unafraid of the dog, who is five times his size, and swats at her like he’s in charge. Sometimes he bites her ears. He has survived cancer and has no teeth. He really is a one-eyed wonder, and I kindly request that he live forever, please.
And today is his birthday! Happy 11th birthday, Jake! In honor of our One-Eyed Wonder, I suggest that you all walk around with your left eye closed, or at least wink more than usual.
Who brought the beasts in your relationship? How’s the integration working out? Do you wonder why I didn’t talk more about our integration? BECAUSE IT CONTINUES TO BE STRESSFUL. Ahem. Because it would be a long post. Tell me your stories.