Last night my husband and I went to Petsmart (which always makes me think of the line from Army of Darkness, "Shop smart - shop S-Mart"). But aaaanyway, we were there so I could buy another in a long line of gigantic, expensive bags of Feline Science Diet for Ancient Cats. (Have I mentioned we have four cats? And yes, that is too many except when you consider them individually.) This time Petsmart had a kind of cat food that promised fewer hairballs and less shedding (read: less puking), which sounded like an excellent benefit to me. For the past few days, the cats had been subsisting on a box of Meow Mix from the local convenience store that I'd purchased so they wouldn't starve after their good food ran out on Monday. Since that's pretty much the equivalent of feeding a human McDonald's at every meal, I thought it was high time to switch the cats back to something healthier.
So we walked into Petsmart (at this point, the order of events is all scrambled, so just work with me) and immediately came upon a big display of beta fish, the fish formerly known as Siamese Fighting Fish. My stepmother has two of them, and I'd been considering getting one for quite some time. I mentioned as much to my husband, who was suddenly seized with the desire for us to get one now! I knew I had a fishbowl at home, so I told him to pick one out, get some food and gravel, and meet me at the checkout.
By the time I emerged from the cat section with the aforementioned cat food and 20 pounds of kitty litter, he'd selected a blue beta with a purplish-red head and some red details on his fins. An employee had assured him that our filtered water at home would be safe for the fish right away, but my husband wasn't convinced. In five minutes, he had already thoroughly bonded with this particular fish, and he wasn't about to take any chances. Of course, I was thinking, "Well, if this one dies, we'll just keep getting new ones until we get it right." I could see that it would be insensitive to say so out loud...more than once or twice anyway.
We took the fish in its little plastic cup and set it in the cupholder of the van while we ran our other errands. As soon as we got home, I began searching for the fishbowl that I had last seen at Christmastime filled with pinecones. It was nowhere to be found, so I moved on to Plan B, which was to take the cats' toys out of the big, recycled glass jar near the front door and clean it up for the fish to live in. The added bonus of dumping out the cat toys was that the cats had a big old party, especially when they came across the catnip toys that had been out of their reach for some time.
Meanwhile, my husband hit the Internet for beta care information and worked himself up enough about our water quality to refuse to put the fish, by now dubbed "Angel," in the new container until more supplies could be purchased. I thought the fish looked pretty miserable in 8 ounces of water, but the decision was clearly out of my hands.
It was really rather cute to see my husband start acting like a nine-year-old with a new animal buddy. Sure, he loves the cats, but the fish deserves only the best! By the time I got home this evening, Angel had been installed in his new bowl, along with a filter ("so we won't have to change the water so often"), a thermometer ("to make sure his water's warm enough") and some silk plants in which he can hide. The fish looks much happier now, so I guess it was all worth it. And the cats? No yakking today as far as I can tell. Everybody wins!