By Genevieve A. Suzuki
I live with El Chupacabra.
In August, my husband Derek and I decided to adopt a kitten for our daughter, Quinn, who had been asking for one for years. The San Diego Humane Society was hosting its “Clear the Shelters” event and waiving fees, which basically meant “free cat.” And yes, if I was going to get a cat, I wanted it to be as close to free as possible.
I was surprised when Quinn said she wanted a black female cat just like my old cat, Minky, who crossed over the Rainbow Bridge when I was pregnant with my daughter. And, as though it was fate, the only kitten left at the San Diego Humane Society in Escondido during its Clear the Shelters event was a black female. The volunteers at the shelter told us “Ally” was a sweet, social cat and wished us luck.
Little did we know we had actually adopted El Chupacabra. Who knew “sweet, social” was code for “menacing.”
“Ally,” renamed “Minky 2” by Quinn and given the run of our home, likes to dart out from random places and scare us in what can only be an effort to train us in case we are ever mugged. She also seduces us into petting her only to be rewarded with our hands being trapped between claws and fangs.
In the very beginning, Minky 2 would slink quickly under Quinn’s bed to hide until the middle of the night, when she’d jump onto the bed to bite Quinn’s toes. I had to move into my daughter’s room and hunker down with a spray bottle so my 9-year-old could get a good night’s sleep. Eventually Minky 2 gave up and learned to slumber somewhat peacefully next to her young owner.
And boy, have cats changed when it comes to their kibbles. I always thought cats ate pretty much anything. My Minky ate whatever food we bought her, and whatever food we bought her usually came from the grocery store.
Minky 2, on the other hand, doesn’t like fish and beef and has a texture issue when it comes to wet food. I swear I saw her looking for a menu the other day.
For his part, Derek thinks it’s hilarious that the cat could eat better than us. “When did cats become so fancy? What’s with the liver pate and the salmon mousse?” he asked before snarking that we will have to explain to the kids that their college funds went to Minky 2 so she could enjoy French cuisine.
Ironically, Minky 2 actually hates the pate and mousse, and turned her nose up at each offering.
“What animal has a texture issue with food?” I grumbled in the waiting room at the Lake Murray Village Veterinary Clinic while Minky 2 got her nails done. “And when did cats get so picky?”
“Oh, my dog has the same problem,” said a fellow owner. “But then, don’t we also have our own tastes in food?”
Lucky for us, Paw Country, a “holistically focused pet supply store” located in the Lake Murray Square Shopping Center is right next to our vet. The first time I walked into the store I met Sammy, the young clerk behind the counter. She was extremely sweet and patient, offering me a handful of samples to use with the ever-selective Minky 2.
Unsurprisingly, Minky 2’s favorite right now is “Taste of the Wild: Prey.” When I returned to the store to buy a big bag of the turkey formula, owner Sans Sarsilmaz was at the cash register. He was pleased to hear our family would be regular customers and made sure I again left with samples to ensure our fussy cat would find exactly the right food.
And so here I am, going into the new year with a reasonably new cat who has unreasonably decided to put me through my paces. If anyone has it to spare, please pass that cup o’ kindness so I can get through 2019 with Minky 2.
—Genevieve A. Suzuki is a local attorney who lives and works in La Mesa.