There is a new male in my life.
This male is not a regular human man, but a ten year old, anemic, FIV+ tabby cat. We've taken to calling him Fiv, Fivver, or Aids. He's in my apartment as I type, sneezing cat aids all over it. He poos out cat aids into my bathtub. He rubs his leaky cat aids face all over me while I sleep.
The reason that little fivver is my new companion is because of a newly discovered principle of mine. The principle is this: if a stray animal wanders into my house and stays there for x hours, he becomes my responsibility. I didn't know this was a principle of mine. I discovered it post-event. I could have gone my whole life without realizing it. I almost did.
24 hours after Aids crawled in my window and it became apparent that he wasn't a true stray, I felt the need to take him into the vet to see if he was microchipped. He was, so I left him in the vet's care. The next day, unsatisfied with feeling jolly and good about myself for "doing the right thing", I followed up. As it turned out, his owners were nowhere to be found and he'd been transferred to Toronto Animal Services. So of course: I went to Toronto Animal Services.
Before I knew it, I was driving home with a kitty aids furball and instructions to monitor for diarrhea, vomiting, and an inflamed aids mouth.
It's a strange scenario all around, but what's particularly strange is that ultimately: what a silly principle. Now, it's nice one, definitely. Almost even romantic. Several people have said to me "Well, looks like HE chose YOU" as though my life is an AIDS/Disney/PSA mash up. But even though we may feel that way, it's not anywhere near reality. He didn't choose me. He chose the only fool who had her window open during the Canadian winter. And as for my so-called principles: would I have kept him if he'd been a possum? No. I would have freaked out and thrown him out because I'm terrified of possums.
But let me pause. It was my sense of "right conduct" that made me foster this sick cat. I won't argue that fact. What I will argue, though, is that it's a goofy fact. It's goofy like a lot of principles are goofy. In theory, yes - it's admirable to bearhug your values. Think: Dalai Lama. Martin Luther King. Ghandi. They are all good and principled men. But there are a lot of other people who consider themselves principled and they're nuts. Think: PETA. The Catholic Church. The Green Party.
Principles are honourable, yes. But they're also often hypocritical, and they're incredibly arbitrary. So while it is a nice story, realistically I should remember that there are a lot of cats that need a good home, and there is nothing special about this cat, and I actually have no obligation towards it.
No obligation whatsoever.