Metro Pets

By Sharon Gomes Thomas

When I moved into my first apartment a few years after college, without any roommates crowding my style or precious bathroom counter space, it seemed life was simply peaches. In my delirium of independence, I took the peaches motif a little too far – it also became lime, oranges and watermelon. I painted every available surface in my little hovel in shades of juicy fruit. I thought the bright colors would brighten my basement apartment, and mask the mismatched furniture that I had inherited from every well-meaning relative (although now in hindsight, I strongly suspect they were just getting rid of their old junk and I was an easy charity case). Looking back at old photos, my bedroom resembled a brightly hued illustration from a children’s storybook. Thankfully, it was so tiny that I never really entertained so my home fashion folly was never displayed to my friends.

I didn’t stay at that studio for very long, quickly realizing after a year that having a roommate wasn’t such a bad arrangement, if it meant sharing a bigger apartment in a better neighborhood. Daylight through the windows was a brief daily occurrence in my basement apartment. Most times, the studio was enveloped in a dull wash of gray light. Ironically, the most vivid memory I have of that year in my kaleidoscope apartment was something that was gray, a little fuzzy creature that brightened my days more than the garish colors on the wall. It was a kitten I named Spalding.

He appeared late one night a few weeks after I had moved in, meowing on my windowsill, refusing to leave. He was a cute little ball of fur so I finally relented and let him in, foolishly thinking that would make him quiet. He seemed clean and friendly enough, so I figured he must belong to someone in my building and had inadvertently gotten himself shut out by mistake, and I’d find his owner in the morning. I was definitely wrong on several counts. Firstly, he would not shut up. I tried everything — making him a comfy bed in the corner, petting him, offering him a can of tuna — nothing worked. Finally, giving up and getting no sleep, I put on my coat and went to the 24-hour corner store and got him some dried kibble. It was the only brand they had, a box that cost 99 cents. He ate every single crumb.

Another thing I was wrong about — he didn’t belong to anyone in my building, or my street, or the neighborhood. All the photocopied photos I pasted around the area yielded nary a phone call. He became my responsibility and my very first pet of my own. Uh-oh, this was real responsibility. So I stepped up and tried to do it right — I brought him to the vet to get checked out and get all his shots. I bought cat books, cat toys, cat litter. I tried to feed him every fanciful feast, but he strangely always preferred the 99cent box of kibble that I had gotten for him that first night.

Every morning I would wake to him meowing at the foot of my bed. And every evening when I walked in through my front door, I’d find him happily sitting on my Uncle Robert’s old sofa, waiting for me. So it broke my heart when I moved into my new no-pets apartment after a year, and I had to give him to Grandma in Brooklyn.

Grandma has a way with cats. I was sure Spalding was happy with me during that year. But after Grandma adopted him, he blossomed. He’s now a full grown, robust tomcat, strutting about her living room each time I visit. He’s still a picky eater, turning his nose up at everything except a holistic brand of cat food that Grandma has fed all her long living feline friends. It’s called Eagle Pack Holistic Select and it’s chockfull of supplements, enzymes and vitamins.

The makers of Eagle Pack brand pioneered Holistic All-natural pet nutrition in the 1980′s. They realized the benefits of antibiotic-free chicken, grass-fed lamb meal and herbicide-free grains even before it become trendy in today’s market. More importantly, Eagle Pack does not test on laboratory or caged animals. All their trials are done with breeders or as in-home trials.

Eagle Pack has 18 dog and cat kibble formula and 13 canned formulas – each is designed for whatever kind of food your pet needs. They even have digestive remedies and ferret food. Check out they detailed and informative site at http://www.EaglePack.com. The decision to go holistic is one that many pet owners are choosing because the benefits to their dogs and cats are so obvious – healthier pets and fewer trips to the vet.

By the way, Grandma thinks I named Spalding after sports equipment, but his full name is actually Spalding Gray.

Eagle Pack is available by special order at:

Biscuits and Bath Doggie Village
701 2nd Ave

Pet Market
1400 2nd Ave
210 W 72nd St

Whiskers Holistic Pet Care center
236 E 9th St

The Natural Pet
238 3rd Ave

Originally published June 2005
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