By C.L. Beck
While searching the internet not long ago, I discovered a tabloid article about a man who kept snakes, termites and poisonous arachnids as pets. It turns out one of his black widow spiders thought he would make a tasty treat and tried him for lunch. Then the other creatures finished him for dessert.
It’s my firm opinion that pets should have certain qualifications. Fur is always nice. So are feathers. And two or four legs are a good idea.
House pets should definitely have two eyes with a single lens in each. Any critter that you’re tempted to name “Compound-Eyed Igor” doesn't belong in a ventilated Mason jar under your bed.
My choices for pets are cats, dogs and rabbits. They’re affectionate without being overbearing. More importantly, none of them have ever wrapped a web around me and saved me for a snack.
Not long ago, I was outside enjoying the hummingbirds. Although they fit my qualifications for a pet, I don’t think of them as such. They’re more like teenage children. I feed them and clean up after them—in return, they buzz past me on their way to something more important.
The hummies were feeding heavily and it seemed like the right moment to put my finger on their perch. When they’re in a feeding frenzy, they’ll ignore you—also like teenagers—and land on your finger while sucking nectar.
I pulled a chair under the feeder and climbed up. Standing on tippy-toe, I stretched up as far as possible. My finger just barely touched the perch and my weight was off-balance, but I used the feeder to steady me.
Then the thing tilted. Sugar syrup ran out the little holes and onto my hand.
It was a matter of small consequence. I was determined to have a hummingbird land on my finger.
KitKat showed up. He’s a wonderful pet—furry, fat, four-legged and loving. Too loving. At that very moment he wasn’t content with me murmuring, “Nice kitty. Sweet KitKat.”
He wanted to be petted. He wanted to assure me of his love. I wanted to assure him he was headed for that great litter box in the sky if he came any closer.
In one bound, his round, orange body was on the chair. “Shoo! Go away!” I nudged him with one foot. The chair wobbled and syrup ran to my elbow as the feeder leaned at a precarious angle. Just then, 15 hummingbirds decided they wanted to eat … but not with me. They darted at my head using their beaks as swords in an attempt to give me multiple nose and eyebrow piercings—and to chase me off. I bobbed and weaved, the chair rocked, and sticky syrup dripped to my armpit.
Then KitKat took a flying leap up my pant leg, purring like a chainsaw. “Cat, get off me!” I yelled, wibble-wobbling back and forth, and shaking my leg wildly.
The hummers took off as if they’d been blitzed. KitKat, on the other hand, was oblivious to the catastrophe and continued to rumble his affection as he whipped around in every direction, still attached to my leg.
By now the feeder was empty—syrup had dripped to my waist. My jeans were shredded from cat claws. I disentangled the still purring feline, dropped him to the ground, and climbed off the chair.
KitKat entwined around my ankles as I made my way to the door. Tripping over him, I fell inside. Safe at last.
So much for affectionate pets; that cat practically killed me with love. But then again, I figure I can count myself lucky … at least he didn’t eat me for lunch.