Hide yo kids, hide yo wife.
Thank you for tuning in to the second part of our shocking series on feral pets. In our first segment, I drew from the wacky well that is my mother to introduce this strange and alarming practice to you. I will now be expanding outside of my own family circle to the realm of my friends, or I suppose mutual friends here. This next case is brought to you courtesy of the Libertarian. There is not space here for me to begin to explain the Libertarian to you. For now, all you need to know is that he’s a friend of Anya. The Libertarian himself will have to be fleshed out another day, for here I am focusing on his mother. She is quite the character, her defining feature being her well-meaning, if at times extremely misguided, campaign to include Anya in her world, which is her chocolate lab, Penny, her newly engaged eldest son, and the Libertarian, in that order. She’s a ridiculously nice woman, but stretches logic to its breaking point and then some.
She once tried to give Anya an old, but “stylish” cropped white denim jacket... Sorry, no.
Case Study #2 - The Libertarian’s Mother
If you asked her to name ten animals that she doesn’t hate, she’d try to name dog breeds. When you tell her that doesn’t count, she’ll try to divide birds into flying and non-flying so they’ll count as two separate species (because penguins are great, but some birds are gross. Actually can’t disagree with her there). Failing that, the list usually goes something like this:
MOM: Dogs, bunnies, deer, I’m not scared of deer even when they’re really close. My brothers sometimes have fawns in the spring and they’re so cute and they just lay in their laps, have you seen the picture of the one that got into Uncle Max’s chair and just curled up waiting for him? It’s so cute. And Penny loves watching them out the window, they love to eat the apples in our yard.
THE LIBERTARIAN: Ok mom, that was three.
MOM: Ok, well puppies-
THE LIBERTARIAN: You already said dogs!
MOM: Ok so wait, what do I have so far?
And then she gets sidetracked and talks about how much she fears opossums/raccoons
/skunks/weasels/squirrels/rats/mice/bat, it’s a real phobia, what do you think this phobia would be called since it’s not just rodents and it’s not just things with hairless tails, etc. etc. Inevitably, it takes a weird turn into the specificities of the animals she is and is not afraid of. Horses are too big, otters are great but no other member of the mustelid family is acceptable, seals are adorable, armadillos freak her out, she lacks a healthy fear of kangaroos, is totally skeezed by hamsters, the list goes on. So you might find it strange that someone who appreciates the majesty of nature most when it’s far, far away, who lives in constant fear of germs, fleas, and infectious diseases that might kill Penny, as well as coyotes that could attack her when “she just wants to play!” would start leaving food out on the porch for any reason.
Conflict of interest!
The following story is thus even more interesting and bizarre within this context. Without further ado, I’m now going to recount the sad, sad tail of porch cat. One day, the Libertarian’s mother noticed a cat hovering around their back porch. She called it Gray Cat, following my 4-year-old self’s guide to naming stuffed animals by color and species, and began to innocently leave the creature a few scraps leftover from dinner. Next thing you know, she’s buying actual cat food, hanging out with the cat on the porch all summer, and hoping against hope that the Libertarian’s father will somehow suddenly warm up to the idea of a cat in the house. Not happening. At this point, she has forgotten about the fact that she was keeping secret porch cat was a secret, and the more she talks about it, the more her husband realizes that they are quickly approaching the point at which he can no longer refuse to let the cat in the house, because she’ll only ignore him. A confrontation is had, the fate of the cat is decided, and a reconnaissance mission worthy of the Navy SEALs is commenced in order to get the cat out from under the porch and into a laundry basket (because obviously that’s the best way to get the cat anywhere in a car).
We imagine it looking like this. Can you even see the cat way back there?!
The Libertarian, dutiful son that he is (or just easily guilted by the hysterical tears of his mother), agrees to drive with her to the Humane Society for “emotional support”. Hugs are given, tears are shed, cats are relinquished. None of that stopped her from calling weekly to check on Gray Cat, until he was mysteriously and suddenly adopted by an “older woman whose cat had just passed away”. Whether this is true, or just an easy way for the staff to avoid her calls, we’ll never know (well...we basically know). She still gets a little teary when musing on the current whereabouts of Gray Cat.
Much of our work is a collaboration. While this began from my perspective, the majority of the source material for this case study came from Anya’s eyewitness accounts and interviews, having far more access to the Libertarian’s mother than myself, who has no access. Stay tuned for the next installment of Domestic Terror, which will feature a look at the next generation of feral pet keepers, and seek to answer the age old question: where did their parents go wrong?