The Ol’ Cat Con


Today, Frank and I moved a step up the ladder toward crazy cat lady/dude. At this point, it is basically inevitable that I will someday have forty-five cats and wear a bathrobe full time.

Stuffing a second cat into our one bedroom apartment was bad enough. Then my mom talked me into feeding them homemade cat food from some kind of holistic veterinary book. Even so, I probably could’ve still turned out normal. But today we crossed the cat lady Rubicon. We tricked the very nice people at very nice animal shelter into letting us adopt a cat for our friends.

It was a genuine caper. This week Frank and I developed our back story—that we had been cat-sitting while a friend worked in Europe, and now that he’d returned and reclaimed his cat we wanted one of our own. We met our friends this morning on an abandoned, windswept corner, went over the plan, and got our stories straight. Frank and I double-checked our documents, and arranged a drop point with Chris* (who had to go to the store to buy a litter box.) Ashley* palmed me a wad of twenties. We checked for cops, then hit the shelter.

See, the problem was that they’d just moved into a new apartment and had their hearts set on adopting this one cat they found, but the shelter was crazy careful about their animals, and wouldn’t let them have their cat without proof that their landlord would allow it.

Tons of people in their building have cats, apparently. One woman even lets hers roam around the hallways. But their landlord refused to explicitly give them permission to get one for some reason, so it was no dice with the shelter. Since Frank and I have a lease that allows us to have a cat, we volunteered to get the cat and give it to Ashley and Chris. Why? Because that is what crazy cat people do for each other.
I have to say, I think we put on a pretty good show. Ashley hid for part of it, worried that someone would recognize her from the first time they tried to adopt the kitty and bust us. The shelter people would’ve too, if they’d caught on. The adoption process was insane.
They required two forms of ID, a letter addressed to our residence, a lease, a long questionnaire, I had to sign a ton of forms, and if you had other pets, they wanted to call your vet for a reference. I mean, I love cats and the people at the shelter were clearly incredibly loving and concerned, but it’s just a cat. It’s not like I was adopting a kid. Whose vet even remembers them well enough to provide a reference?

Anyway, so I felt a little bad because the shelter people were so nice and so concerned and gave us brochures and DVDs and fancy food and a carrier and instructions and the number of their pet behaviorist—none of which we got when adopted Elliott, by the way—and I felt a little guilty for tricking them. Particularly since the cat is microchipped and registered to me, which, creepy, but so I am now legally bound to this cat, if Chris and Ashley flush it down the toilet or something.

But ultimately, I’m okay with it. We liberated their kitty! And it is really an adorable cat. Pretending to “decide” which cat to adopt at the shelter, Frank and I made friends with this one and had that moment of maybe we should get another before our senses returned. Which is worrisome. I mean, I know I’m going to be a crazy cat lady someday but ideally I could at least put it off until I’m old. Right?

The important thing is that we got away with it. Between my superb acting skills and our lease, we put a kitty in a happy home. Frank always says that it’s not really home unless there’s some kind of furball skulking around, and I buy that. Nice people should not be kept from their pets. Hopefully little Calamity is settling in okay, and I won’t get arrested for cat fraud.

*Names have been changed to protect the violators of their lease.