I had held off getting a pet because I planned on going to Iraq or Afghanistan to get a job. High risk, but also high pay. High enough I could spend a year or two over there, come home and buy a little house with some land.

My lawyer advised me not to leave the country until after the divorce was finished, so I canceled my applications with KBR. It’s been sixteen months now and we’re still not any closer to getting it settled, so I just wasted that time waiting. Now, the jobs have dwindled down to near nothing. Regardless, I am taking some typing courses this year to improve skills and getting in physical shape so I can go if the opportunity arises.

Will said it is not a good time to go over there with various situations, including releasing 12,000 prisoners because the Iraqis won’t take responsibility for them. Odd isn’t it? They don’t want to take them and be the bad guys and yet we are the bastards for manning the prisons. The solution? The U.S. opens the doors and turns them all loose. Plus, the U.S. has now agreed civilian contractors can be tried by Iraqis, so that is another can of worms.

Anyway, I’ve put it in God’s hands. If I can’t get a job overseas, He will make a way here for me to have a home.

Against my better judgment, I went to the animal shelter to look at cats in December. There were several cats in there, including a very large male gray and white cat and a large female gray and white. There were several others, but those two caught my eye because they were old cats and because both of them came up to the cage doors and rubbed up against them so I would pet them. Everyone wants cute kittens so the older cats often go unclaimed.

I asked the attendant how long before they put them to sleep. He said they would keep them as long as they could and they tried not to put the animals down unless they ran out of room. I have to say something about the Odessa animal control. I’ve been in there several times over the years and the people who work there care about the animals. I couldn’t do it because it would break my heart to put perfectly fine animals down, but someone has to do it.

The attendant went on about what a nice cat Cyrus was and how much he liked him. He’s been declawed and he’s in good shape aside from being fat. He had been dropped off in a night drop and the owner left the information about the cat.

I stopped back a few more times, hoping someone had adopted him. One day a woman up front said she thought all the cats had been adopted. I went back anyway and looked at the dogs and then went to the cat kennel on impulse. There was Cyrus. He got up when I walked in and put his paw up on the door.

Oh, don’t do that to me. It’s Christmas and I have to do some shopping for my kids and grandkids. I petted him and then he went back and laid down, watching me with those large eyes. It was almost as if he was saying, “I’ll be here when you’re ready.”

I can’t do this. What if I finally get this divorce finished and I have a chance to go overseas?

I should have known I was lost when I bought a pet Christmas stocking on clearance, just in case.

I called daily after Christmas to see if he was still there. I left my phone number and told them to call me if he got put on the destroy list. Then I went in again to see Cyrus and this time he didn’t come to the door. He laid up in the little cat perch and just watched me. There was a beautiful black Persian in the cage next to him, who immediately came up to me, but not Cyrus.

I went back out and asked the attendant if Cyrus was sick. He said he thought he was just depressed and tired of being in the cage. He had him out earlier when he was feeding him and he was fine then.

Nightly, I thought about something I had read in a book once about hearing the soft slurping noises of cats sucking blood from their masters’ throats. What if Cyrus was a vampat? Yes, that’s why I don’t read horror.

Why did his owner give him up? Was he dying? Did he have some dread disease? Had he become anti-social and taken to pooping in his owner’s shoes? There had to be some reason to leave the cat someone obviously loved. That got my writer’s mind to going, coming up with all kinds of stories. It doesn’t take much to send me down the rabbit trail.

I went back and looked at him again, but he still refused to come to me. The Persian had no such qualms.

I knew then if I got out in the country again, I would be the crazy cat lady, adopting cats, spaying and neutering them and letting them live out their lives.

I really don’t need to be spending the money to adopt this cat then get the neutering, shots etc done.

So much for being logical. I went in the next day and paid for the adoption, but I couldn’t pick him up until the following day. If I took him in within 48 hours they would take $10 off the shots. That would help. The adoption fee also included $20 off the neutering. A bit more help.

I picked him up and brought him home the next day. The Persian was still there and he wanted to go home too.

They were adopting out a kitten, so I strolled around the dog kennel while I waited. There were several little dogs, including a Chihuahua in a Christmas sweater. In one kennel was a Blue Heeler bitch. I tried to call her over to me, but she just watched me. She would be the kind to bite the tar out of you because she was afraid, but once you made friends, she’d be by your side for life. I don’t even particularly like Heelers, but I would have taken her home.

Finally, Cyrus, was home. He would be thrilled to be out of the cage and love me forever.

Yeah, right. He walked around the apartment and then went up to hide out under the bed. He stayed under the bed for the first week except at night when he came out to sleep with me. There went the discount.

The first night he curled up behind my back and started kneading it with his paws, purring loudly. Hmmmm. That feels pretty good. Then he curled up against the small of my back and I could feel his heat through the comforter. Oh, yeah. That works.

When he did decide to come out of hiding, he ambled down the stairs and met me when I got in from work. I was so excited I hugged him and petted him until he got tired of it and jumped down. I got out the bucket of toys and tossed out a variety to him. He glanced down at them and then back up at me. He needed no words to interpret the look.

“You’re kidding right? You want me to play? If you wanted cute and frisky, you should have adopted a kitten.”

So, me and the old man have settled into our routine.

I call for him when I get home from work and he thumps down the stairs. He spends a few minutes in my lap receiving due attention and then lies down by my chair when I settle in to write. At bedtime he follows me up the stairs and gets a bedtime snack, then jumps up on the bed after I turn out the lights. Lately, he has decided to walk the length of me and stare down at me until I pet him again. This wasn’t too bad, aside from him being very heavy, until I messed up my back.

Once the walking the Julie routine is done, he curls up under my arm or near my feet and settles in for the night.

I will probably find a different bed cover than the satin comforter. He seems to like the feel of it, but I’m not sure if the hind claws will be very kind to it.

Cyrus one
Cyrus twi
Cyrus three


  1. What an awesome story, Julie!

    All of my family’s pets have been rescues/animal control/SPCA too. It’s the best feeling to know that you saved them from being destroyed.

    He’s quite the handsome fella too.

  2. I think a cat is a perfect animal companion for you right now, Julie. People who say things like “…but cats are so asocial!” probably have never owned one.

    (Seriously, we love cats. If The Missus weren’t allergic, we’d probably have a houseful of ’em by now.)

    Just getting back online from 48 hours off… So glad to see you getting all animalled up!

  3. Thanks so much.

    He really is a nice cat and he suits my personality. He’s very quiet and I think a hermit at heart as I am.

    He’s lying next to my chair now, as he does every night. He’s learned not to put his tail where the chair rolls. Poor Cyrus.


  4. John, I am missing the horses pretty badly, but nothing to be done about it now. Didn’t think I would miss them, but I do.

    However, as you say, Cyrus is the perfect pet for now.

    I don’t believe cats are asocial at all. Even the feral cats had a certain interaction.

    Where have you been? I admit I am keeping my head down, trying to get Paladin done so I am not hanging around blogs much.


  5. Just got back from a sojourn, offline, over to Jacksonville. Between getting ready for that and the tug of various emotional tides and the simultaneous breakdown of things computer-related at work last week, it’s a wonder that *anybody* saw me then. 🙂

    I’m trying to figure out how to sort of gradually begin real work on the “W”IP, while proportionately dialing back on my online self. Not sure how to achieve this.,, maybe alternate days?

    In all likelihood I’ll just make the “schedule” up as I go along. Inveterate torpedoer of agendas.

  6. John, I have been blogging less, but the WIP is the priority.

    I think Beth Shope has the right idea. Write first, then check emails and blogs. Even if it’s just 30 minutes, it counts up.

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