With a head full of feline fancies, writer Lauren Dinning wonders whether she can get away with hoarding a roomful of cats in her Adelaide rental. Lauren discovers that a life without pets sometimes feels like a life half lived….
As I sit in the vast expanse that is my backyard in suburban Adelaide, I can’t help but think that it is something of a wasted space.
My house, a rather small oblong, sits on a space not even half the size of the yard that follows out the back. My housemates and I thought it was a great asset when we applied to rent here, imagining all the house parties we were going to have, and that we are still yet to host. I of course, imagined the spacious meadow that is our backyard as the perfect playground for a springing, long-haired Border Collie named Biscuit with floppy ears and a boundless loving nature.
A dream I unfortunately had to wake up from, signing away any hope of using our backyard to its full potential when we contractually agreed to no cats or dogs on the property.
The local pigeons however, really get a kick out of freeloading off our lawn.
I recently convinced my boyfriend to come to a kitten cuddling enclosure at the local shopping centre down the road, and spent the better part of half an hour holding a ginger fur ball while weighing up the options of smuggling the kitten home.
I was dragged out of there before I could make any irrational decisions.
It’s not that I’m desperate for a pet; I mean, I kind of am but let me justify my reasons:
It’s that I’m at an age where I’m realising that my parents’ house isn’t my home anymore, given that everything reminiscent of my teenage years is packed away and mum found a new duvet for my old bed that suits her tastes more than mine.
My living arrangements in Adelaide have become increasingly more permanent, meaning fewer trips back to the place I still like to think is home some of the time. The place where I once co-owned with my family three dogs, a cat, the pet cow Dolly and the various influxes of lambs needing to be hand-reared every year.
But they aren’t my animals anymore. I’m at an age of loneliness where I’m old enough to be independent; but in your late teens and early twenties you are bound by limited living arrangements that suit your budget, but not your increasing crazy cat lady status.
Having a living, breathing thing to be responsible for that isn’t a child is quite a thrilling idea, really. But for now, the impossibility of hiding a roomful of cats every time a house inspection rolls around, remains.
And so, if you’re out walking your furry animal and you see a strange woman bounding toward you, don’t be alarmed. It’ll just be me, coming to meet said animal, not you, to fill my dog/cat-petting quota and compensate for that fact that my fish has scales and not fur.
Here’s to hoping you’ll know who I am when the time comes.