“Oh no!” cried Alice. “Now we’ve lost him…”
“Under the bed, huh?” I said.

Last week, in an attempt to make the most of my free time, I decided to go to the SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) to see if any fuzzy little creatures needed a foster parent. When I called a few days beforehand, I spoke with Christine, the foster care coordinator, who told me they’d probably need someone to care for kittens quite soon. That morning she called back, saying she didn’t have kittens, but instead, a two year-old persian cat needing foster care.

He’s been shaved because his fur was so matted he couldn’t walk, Christine informed me. I’ll come in right away, I said. Couldn’t walk? I thought. Good grief, that’s sad. Who would neglect their pet so badly?

I walked in, and the woman at the desk instructed me to go on through to the back. I introduced myself to the first person I saw. “Hi! My name’s Lauren, are you Christine?”

“I am! Good to meet you. And this is the kitty you’ll be taking.” She lifted a blanket that was covering a pet carrier. Inside a scared, shaking, squished-faced cat seemed to glare at me out from under furrowed brows. Hmm. Poor thing.

Christine began gathering everything I’d need to take care of the cat. Cans of food, a litter box, kitty litter, a hair brush, stacks of newspaper, and a little cat sweater. “Put this on him if he seems cold.” The cat was a he, and he didn’t have a name. “Should I give him a name?”

“Sure! Yes, give him a name. Are you OK with this? I mean, foster care, you just seem…”

“What? Oh, of course, yes! I wish I could adopt, but I can’t, so this is the next best thing!” What the heck kind of expression did I have on my face? Man I need to work on being discrete. Okay, well, the cat did look pretty odd. It wasn’t the most adorable thing in the world, but it was definitely in need of some care and love.

And so, I took him home.

“Oh my god… that’s the cat?!” said Libbee. Yes, that is the cat. After I opened the door to his carrier, he darted out into the middle of the room and froze. He looked up around at us all, desperately jerked his head from side to side in search of a hideout, spotted my open bedroom door, and like a flash he vanished under my bed.

“And that is the end of that,” laughed Alice. After attempting many coaxing sessions and moving my bed sereral times for better reach, I had enough of the cat playing hermit. And the sneezing! It would curl up under my bed amongst all the dust bunnies and then snort and sneeze the entire night. He already had breathing issues because of his squished nose. The vet who had taken care of him at the SPCA said that breathing problems were seen often in persians. One morning, crabby and achy after next to no sleep, I decided, no more.

Libbee walked past my room into the kitchen. “What are you doing?” she implored.
“Taking the legs off my box spring.”
“What for? You know that’s not good for your bed. Doesn’t let the air circulate through the mattress.”
“Oh? Well it will be good for my sleep. And the cat’s health.”

After that the cat started sleeping in the bed of blankets I made for him under my desk chair. He quit sneezing so much too. And my flatmate Jeremy gave him a name. Barry.

Barry Photos