If you're thinking of adopting a cat instead of buying one, my advice to you is—quite simply—don't. For years before the death of a faithful feline friend, I had read imploring ads in the PETS FOR ADOPTION section of the classified ads. They all made adoption seem a much less impersonal way to replace my old friend than plain purchase at a pet shop. But they were wrong.
The first advertiser I called was patently insane, so I returned to the newspaper and found another. This one offered what seemed just the thing: "Kittens, Maltese, will deliver." I called promptly and asked if any were still available. "We'll talk about that later," she said. "I have some questions first."
She did indeed. After getting my name, address and phone number, she asked if I had any children. I said no, and the answer seemed to please her. Next she wanted to know if I worked. My affirmative answer did not win any points. There was a pause. "If you're thinking you can't afford a cat," she said at last, "they don't eat that much."
"I know," I replied weakly—adding that I had had a cat before. There followed another long and pregnant pause.
"What," my inquisitor then wanted to know, "happened to it?"
"Happened to what?" I asked.
"Your last cat." I told her he had died—at the age of 14�.
"And just what did he die of?" she asked sharply.
I was tempted to say I had forgotten to put on his shin guards before I kicked him but I settled for telling her "old age."
There was another pause, after which the lady announced that I was indeed deserving of a kitten—if only she had one to give me, but she did not.