I’ve become one of those crazy animal ladies.  Notice I didn’t say crazy cat ladies, because, to be honest, Bella and I have never had a problem.  And Bella is just one cat.  I think you have to have four or more to be official.  Three is pushing it.  If you live with a significant other or kids, you’re safe.  Don’t ask me why.  I don’t make the rules.  No, the problem started when Frankie came to live with us.

I bought a cat condo last week so Bella would have someplace to get away from him.  I always thought they were kind of tacky.  But, like parents who say they’ll never leave toys strewn about the living room, it happens.  Out of necessity.  And for me, guilt.  Guilt for bringing a dog into the house.  So I bought what I considered to be a more tasteful one.  A ridiculous amount of money for carpet and sisal rope, it sits unused in the corner.  She hasn’t touched it.

Mealtime has become tricky too.  First, Frankie got a can of wet food because it successfully disguised medicine.  Now Bella happily munches the moist stuff too.  Again – guilt.   I couldn’t very well treat him and not her.  My apartment used to smell like eucalyptus and incense.  Now it smells like salmon and giblets.  And that’s just going in.  With the two of them lying around all day passing gas, I’ve decided the cans should come with warning labels.  Possible side effect: intense flatulence.

I’ve even found myself saying the very things I used to roll my eyes about.  Things like, “We need to set up a play date!” or “Frankie will be at doggy daycare that day.”  I used to think daycare was for spoiled little rich dogs.  Now I defend it.  “He needs to socialize with other dogs!”  I say.  I believe in the power of the pack.  I think Cesar Millan is a god.

A friend of mine has a theory about all this pet mania.  It affects those of us who’ve never had children.  Or empty-nesters.  I’ll leave this one to the mommies and daddies out there.  I’m in no position to object.  All I know is my once impeccable apartment is littered with squeaky toys and if you’re wearing black, I’d advise against sitting down.  But I make no apologies.  They’re part of the family.

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