The most recent drama in my life has been my acquisition of… a cat. (I guess my life’s not very dramatic, huh?) I’ve always been a cat person (go ahead and snort, all you Boulder dog people) but until recently, I viewed a pet as more of a faraway hope, not a current possibility. Pets cost money, you know. They need food and litter, medicine and toys, and they’re a long-term commitment. We’re talking more than a decade, long enough for a baby to become a teenager or a two-dollar wine to become a $100 vintage specialty. Especially in the hands of college students, a dependent seems like a really bad idea — I’m reminded of the debacle of that dog taped to the refrigerator that made the national news. I have trouble making rent sometimes — how am I supposed to handle a whole other creature’s expenses as well?

Clearly, logic was strongly against this cat. But a chain of events somehow conspired to make it a whole lot more plausible. First, I met my neighbors’ cat a few weeks after we moved in. Not that I’ve met my neighbors, mind you — that would be far too socially graceful. No, just their cat. He was fluffy, and I fell in love. So in true stalker fashion, I began to lure him into my apartment. As it got colder, this got easier, and by November, he would stay with us for hours at a time.

I must have been insufferable in my babble about my neighbors’ cat, because my boyfriend (a dyed-in-the-wool dog person) looked up the specifications in our lease about pets. Lo and behold, we’re allowed cats — but no dogs. This news plunged me into a frenzy of excitement, and I woke up two days later with a grey tough-guy of a cat named Odie. Yes, like Garfield’s dog.

So far, he hasn’t been all that expensive, and he’s repaid every penny. We went to the Boulder Humane Society to adopt him, and since he was an adult cat, he only cost $10 at the shelter. Add in another $10 for a collar, and hey presto, we had ourselves a cat. He even came with a carrying case and a bag of food. I know we’ll probably pay untold amounts in vet bills over the years, but I’m blissfully ignorant of that right now. Besides, I’ll have a well paying job by then, right?

The only thing I feel bad about is buying him the cheapest food we can possibly find in the grocery store. It’s the Kroger brand stuff, in bulk amounts and by far the most unappealing packaging in the whole aisle. Sometimes I wonder if he minds; they even fed him better at the Humane Society! Does he feel like he’s slumming here at our house? I wonder this for a few seconds, and then I get over it. He’s a cat, and if I can eat ramen, eggs and oatmeal for days on end until the Colorado Daily pays me again, then he can certainly stand Kroger brand cat food.

The only problem I see looming is the the Humane Society has started sending me monthly emails about “Free Cat Friday,” which is exactly what it sounds like. They’re on to me: The “free” in there calls to me as much as the incredibly cute cats up for adoption. I can feel it; pretty soon I’m going to be that creepy cat lady who never comes out of her house and always smells like cat urine. Then I’ll really have to be frugal; I’ll have to eat Kroger brand cat food myself. I’ll let you know how it goes.

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