I am not a cat person, yet two cats reside in my house. One of them because when my youngest son came to live with me, he wanted a cat and it seemed like a good idea at the time. The other, because I made a promise to my sister and I keep my promises.
Despite my lack of cat aptitude, I do my best to care for them. Name-brand dry and wet food. Fresh water daily. Clean litter box. Warm beds (one upstairs and one downstairs). And toys.
During their annual tuneup, the vet told me they both needed their teeth cleaned. Because the service required anesthesia, it would cost me about $400 per cat.
Well, that wasn't in my budget, so I searched for a more economical way to maintain their pearly whites. The pet store offered toothbrushes and toothpaste made just for cats. Seemed reasonable to me, but not to the cats. It took both me and my son to hold them down. They struggled and fought. We never managed to fully scrub their teeth. I needed another option.
There are several brands of cat treats to purport to clean teeth. I bought one brand for a while until the cats grew tired of its limited flavors. Then, I switched to a pricer brand that offered more variety. The TURKEY or OCEAN BLEND or MILK FLAVORED kept them happy and the vet stopped pressuring me about cleaning their teeth, so I was happy.
The thing is, I question if the treats really are varied. Despite the different flavors printed on the outside of the packages, the food inside is all the same size (quarter inch squares), the same color (tan) and smells the same (slightly musty).*
Then, a new flavor appeared on store shelves that simply declared itself to be DENTALICIOUS. The food inside was still square and smelled musty, but was a bright emerald color. Upon seeing it for the first time, I thought: "Soylent green is made of cats!"
Not that my two would care. They gobbled it down.
And I finally arrive at the real point of this blog after such a long setup: I realized that many of the references in my life are framed by the science fiction I've always loved. Growing up, the majority of my Halloween costumes were SF themed. When I turned 35, I naturally thought of carrousel in Logan's Run. At WorldCon last year, the remote-controlled darlek excited me just as much as it did the little kids who chased after it.
What books/movies/tv shows/games/etc. frame your life? Therein (I bet) is the real variety.
* I have not taste-tested them. I'll leave that to the cats.