My Clerks Want A Store Cat… I’m Afraid That Idea Is Not For Me


Every few months or so, I hold a staff meeting with my clerks. I do this because I never want to be out of the loop, despite the fact that I am not physically in my antiques store on a day-to-day basis. I think it’s a good policy. We eat, drink, share information — and then I tell them what a good job they’re doing (they are!), and then hand out bonus checks.

But they threw me for a loop last week when they brought up the idea of a “store cat.” Before they had finished asking the question, I found myself saying “No!” rather too loudly and emphatically for a business meeting at a restaurant. Even I was surprised at my vehemence.

The clerks blinked in surprise and immediately dropped the subject, but I had to tell myself, “Whoa! What was that all about?”

I think it comes down to three things — eating, pooping and jealousy.

After raising two babies and then helping with two more (grandchildren), I really don’t want to be in charge of anyone else’s intestinal tract anymore. It’s all I can do to keep my own in good shape, especially during flu season. So an intestinal tract-bearing animal that lounges in a window all day and doesn’t work to earn its own food? No. That doesn’t clean its own litter box? No. That needs something called a “litter” box? No.

You may ask, “But what about the unconditional love?” I am fortunate enough to be loved by a number of creatures, and I am grateful for them every day. I take love wherever I can get it, be it conditional or unconditional, and I have just enough to get me by. Not only that, but I am pretty sure that providing food is a condition of a cat’s love.

You may say, “But what about the fact that a cat would keep the mouse population down?” What mice? I pay a pest control service monthly to make sure my stores are mouse-free, bug-free and intruder-free. I have motion detectors in there and pay a security company a chunk o’ change to monitor them. Pretty sure a nocturnal, slinking cat would screw that up.

“But, but, but — they’re furry!” Exactly. Fur everywhere. I have faux sheepskins around if I want to pet something. And my husband, who is getting furrier by the day.

In reality, the biggest reason I don’t want a store cat is that I was traumatized in my youth when my best friend got a cat. Then another cat. The fact that I had to share my bestie’s time with beasties annoyed me. If I reached out to pet these animals, they hissed. They didn’t want to share her, either. Plus, they considered me a trespasser in their home — a home I had been frequenting for years!

No, a store cat is out of the question. For me.

You do what you want.