My father reminded me of this story and declared it must be on the blog.
When my parents moved into their current house 25+ years ago, Mom had grand plans to move our cats down to the basement so my father, who was allergic to them, would no longer be exposed to them on a regular basis. Our basement is partially above ground and used to be rented out as an apartment. The whole house needed a lot of work when they moved in. Though technically it was finished and dry-walled, the basement wasn’t nice enough that anyone felt like hanging out in it for any amount of time.
So, of course, my mom was worried that the cats would be too lonely if we never hung out in the basement with them. She decided we needed to refinish the basement so the cats wouldn’t be lonely.
Cats’ feelings are obviously worth thousands and thousands of dollars.
My parents dropped a second stairwell down to the basement so you wouldn’t have to enter through the utility side and knocked down all the walls between the tiny rooms in the basement apartment to create one large, fantastic family room. For the cats. They pulled out the run-down kitchen and put up walls of bookcases. They put couches around a big tv and a pre-existing fireplace. They put in new carpeting. There was also a full bath and bedroom in the basement, though it was mostly used for storage and later parrot breeding. Yes, parrot breeding. I guess I’ll have to talk about that later.
The cats’ basement turned out amazing. Clearly these cats would never be lonely because we were going to spend a lot of time in this area. In addition to a media area, there was space for a home office and a toy room. When we were kids, it was probably the best place in the house. It was really nice. In fact, it was probably a little TOO nice.
After spending thousands and thousands of dollars so the cats wouldn’t be lonely, my mom decided that the cats, who sometimes had accidents/marked their territory as cats are wont to do, would ruin the basement. That’s right, the “cats’ basement” was too nice for the actual cats.
And so, the cats stayed upstairs where my allergic dad (and later allergic my sister and I) slept while the basement became a cat-free zone.
So instead of getting rid of the cats so my dad (and my sister and I) wouldn’t feel sick, my parents spent thousands of dollars to keep them and keep people healthy, but then kept the cats where they would make people sick anyway.
If that’s not devotion to ones’ pets, I don’t know what is.
At various points in my life, there’s been talk of not replacing the cats when they die so the allergic people won’t feel sick. This has never come to pass. My parents currently have two indoor cats years and years and YEARS after those original lonely basement cats have died.
And my dad can blame my mom for the current cats all he wants, we all know that he’s deeply in love with both of them despite his allergies.
Next Thursday in “My Crazy Childhood”: You know what you should keep in the house when you are trying to sell a house? Buckets of live bait for your rescue bird.