Izzy McHale, Packer, and Jinx
from The Pet Boutique Mysteries by Annie Knox
I never thought of myself as a cat person. When I was growing up, my sisters both had dogs ... and they basically terrorized me (long story), so I wrote off pets in general.
But a few years ago, after my fiance and I moved back home to Merryville, Wisconsin, I happened to be at the mall looking for a sweater for my dad for Christmas, and the local shelter had a pet adoption event going on right outside the pretzel place.
Because it was so close to the holiday, the event was going like gangbusters. In fact, in the big enclosure right next to the pretzel line, there was only one cat left.
She was huge, her frame more the size of an adult raccoon than any cat I'd ever seen ... though she was so thin that you could make out the contours of her shoulder blade even through her long, dreadlocked fur. She had a notch in one huge, tufted ear and a roughly stitched cut meandered across a bald patch on her flank.
In short, she was a mess.
But in the midst of the holiday craziness, with kids screaming and dogs barking and tween girls shrieking with laughter, she sat there with perfect dignity, her scraggly tail wrapped around her toes.
I was standing there with a cinnamon pretzel in one hand and a large diet soda in the other, and she met my gaze with her huge green eyes ... and in the time it took her to yawn hugely and flick her tongue over the tip of her pink nose, I fell in love.
It took some serious bargaining to convince both my fiance and our landlady that she wouldn't be any trouble. Especially after I told them her name was Jinx. Turns out she was aptly named: she clawed a hole in our box spring, completely unraveled a blanket I was crocheting, and peed all over my fiance's favorite shoes.
(OK, after he dumped me for a cute young dietician, I treasured the memory of the ruined shoes. But when it happened, it was awful.)
Jinx is a bad, bad cat. But I've never regretted bringing her home. In between her bouts of destruction, she'll curl up beside me, hitch over on her back, rest one paw on my leg, and purr like a Mack truck.
Turns out, I'm a cat person.