Elizabeth Davies: What us cat lovers wouldn’t do for our pets

Elizabeth Davies

I looked at the bill from my veterinarian and realized I could have bought a darned fine pair of shoes with that money.

It would have gotten me prime seats at a Packers game, three pairs of Gap jeans or a round-trip flight to the beach.

But no. Instead, I selflessly wrote out a check for my cat. More specifically, for my cat’s teeth.

Did you know that cats need to have their teeth cleaned? Neither did I, until that day when I had to decide between a pair of Jimmy Choos and my feline’s dental health.

As one might expect, the price to clean a cat’s teeth is far greater than for a human. Unlike a person, the cat is likely to bite, hiss and scratch. Consequently, the cat is getting knocked out for the duration of the cleaning, so you have to tack on the price of anesthetics.

Of course, for the girl who chooses shoes over her cat, there’s the ever-looming risk that a tooth might need to be pulled the next time around. Not wanting a gap-toothed kitty, I reluctantly forked over my cash.

See, we pet lovers are suckers. We’ll spend any amount of money and load up on all sorts of unused toys just to keep our animals happy. As any cat owner knows, you can blow your cash on toys that should transport any kitty to paradise. Of course, the cat only shows interest in the toy once it’s thrown in the trash.

But despite the ungrateful, selfish and otherwise unbending nature of animals, we just love our pets. Like children, they catch us at the most unexpected times with shows of tenderness and vulnerability.

Take Jersey, my animal-shelter-orphan-turned-Queen-of-the-Kitties. She hissed at visitors, demanded her food at the crack of dawn and snubbed unwanted affection. But she was also sensitive enough to know when I was down, and to wipe my tears with her tail.

And forget late-night television: Jersey was more than enough entertainment for my home. She careered on the fall day when a little field mouse made its way into my home. I found the mouse’s bloodied and bruised carcass on my bedroom floor and stood in a city-girl panic while Jersey raced around in glee, unable to believe her luck.

Then there was Darby, my uber-mellow cat, whose stupidity was nothing if not endearing. This dear thing would walk into the living room every morning and look around as if she had never seen it before. Look -- a television! Ooh, a couch! And like clockwork the next morning, she would repeat the process: Look -- a television! Ooh, a couch!

And so, for their sweet qualities and the sheer humor they brought into my home, I ignored the fact that they tag-teamed to wake me up far earlier than my alarm clock each morning. I looked past the times when they didn’t quite keep everything inside the litter box, and I pretended not to notice when they jumped off the kitchen counter the minute I walked in the door.

They were, after all, my roommates, my girlfriends and my family.

All in all, worth more than any shoe.

Elizabeth Davies’ column runs Thursdays in People of the Rock River Valley.