Though in my case, the cat is a dog... and the dog didn't come back - I went to get the dog to chauffeur her home... and had to wrest her away from the warm and loving bosom of the kennel where I'd spent a small fortune to ensure her comfort and joy whilst I myself wrested a weekend away from the forces that normally keep me trapped within the four walls of my (charming, downtown, bachelorette-style) condo.
The reception was chilly.
As the veterinary assistant approached me carrying both the dog and a small pink bag with her personal effects (bunny rabbit, dry and tinned dog food, tiny faux Burberry coat in the event of inclement weather) I saw the familiar defiant little face assume a mask of studied indifference. If I was hoping for some sort of yipping, yapping, doggy-type hullabaloo of pleasure at our reunion, I was to be sorely (though not uncharacteristically) disappointed. The transfer twixt minor teenage veterinary functionary and myself took place without any ado at all. No licks, no barks, no satisfaction.
I've spent the better part of the last ten years trying to win the favour and affection of roughly 6 1/2 pounds of fur, fluff and gristle masquerading as a pet and it took me until today to realise it's never going to change.
(I have of course considered and rejected the option to revisit the tired old saw about old dogs and new tricks... but now I feel I must confess that in the middle of writing that last sentence I responded within a nanosecond of a sharp squeak demanding food. I almost wish I could get her a tiny bell and explain the joke... but she doesn't speak English - which is curious as she's reportedly from Yorkshire.)
And don't think I don't realise how sickening this paen to pampered dogdom is. If one of the princess diarists shovelled out a column of dog poo similar to this, I'd (if I could find the time between walkies and dindins) fire off a letter of complaint... followed by a suggestion that if they were looking for someone to fill the newspaper space more grown-upedly and efficiently, they need look no further. Or farther. Whichever. I'd also swear to invest in a copy of Strunk and White's Elements of Style in order to discover which was which. And I would. When I had time.
But who has the time? In between working to earn the money to provide her with an acceptable lifestyle (the acceptability of same always on the razor's edge of approval/disapproval) providing her with social opportunities, and sneaking in a workout, shower and three meals - plus two snacks - per day, I'm exhausted just trying to figure out where I went so terribly wrong.
I loathe all the doggie magazines and breed manuals and dog training classes. All of them prattle endlessly about the dog's undying affection and loyalty to its master, while I beg and plead and shoot off intense silent signals just to get her to come when I call. Both training classes we've attended suggested I just do what nature intended - and pick her up.
Bunch of quitters... or people obsessed with reality. Same diff.
And yes, I know all about people anthropomorphising their pets - attributing all manner of human thoughts and feelings to creatures, some of whom are operating with brains no larger than your standard peach pit. But what else can one think when being stared down by the business end of a terrier?
I give up.
I give in.
I'm being summoned.
At least one of us has learned the fundamentals of obedience.