I once watched a friend’s cat carry a live, injured bird into the house, release it under the dining room table, and then toy with it – swatting it to watch it erupt into an attempt at broken-winged flight – only to pounce on it again. Naturally, I screamed, throwing back the chairs to break apart the depravity but the cat was always faster than I could lunge. Cats, man, stone cold. And kinda scary.
Throughout my lifetime dogs have been my running buddies, my fellow couch potatoes, my saving grace in heavy times. They are tail wags and wet kisses and hours of fetch on the beach. Cats are … cats.
Until recently. I’ve been domestically companionless for over two years now. Every time I saw a puppy on the street, I stop with increasing desperation to pet it. I’d linger at the rescue dog tent at the farmer’s market, asking questions and gauging temperaments of 100-pounds of pit bull muscle. I’d browse petfinder.com, just to see.
I am in no position to own a dog of any kind right now. Not even that giant blue Great Dane I admire in my neighborhood who I stop to watch lounge on his front porch. Not even the placid greyhound who meanders in the small, shaded backyard that abuts mine. And certainly not the rescue pit bull who would require hours of manic energy dispelled each day.
I barely have enough time to take care of myself right now. I’m away for the house for 10-15 hours at a time each day. I’m constantly on the go in my city and constantly daydreaming about other cities and countries to be on the go in too.
So then it occurred to me: maybe a cat. Sure, it’s a cat, but also it’s a warm body at night, right? It’s something to hang out with me on the couch when gasping over Game of Thrones and binging on Orange is the New Black. It’s something that will let me pet it. Probably.
Cats are totally low maintenance! They’re fine on their own for a day! A weekend, even! So what if they don’t come running to the door with an excitement so frenzied I worry that it’s having a seizure when I get home at the end of the day. It’s ok if I can’t take it running. Or even outside at all for that matter.
Cats: They’re there!
So my mind was (kind of) made up. I would get a cat. An orange one. I could afford to be picky until I found the perfect one because I was still a little unsure of the whole venture to begin with. A cat? Yes, I had to reassure myself. A CAT.
Months went by and save for one highly unsuccessful trip to the animal shelter – that came to a close with me circling the saddest looking dogs I ever did see in their little stalls over and over again in near tears – I remained feline-less.
And then it happened. My friend’s cat had kittens. Each kitten was a different shade of black. Except for one. Yes, a little orange boy. And he shall be mine, I declared. Actually it was more like, “OH, ORANGE, DIBS, MINE.”
And after an eight-week waiting period, it was time to pick him up. But oh shit, I don’t have a single thing needed to take care of a kitten. So on my way, I pulled into a PetCo and unsteadily scanned the aisles. What might a kitten need? Food? Yes, food let’s do that. Umm … a litter box, yes definitely! Oh, and kitty litter. Umm … this kind? No, that logo looks weird. This kind? That looks fresh. Ok. What else? Toys for fetch? No wrong. Collar? Meh. This feather thing on a string? Sure! Oh, scratchy things!
I loaded my cart in the same way I imagine first time parents wandering through the aisles of Babies-R-Us would. Is this for your nipples? They make pee guards? Wait, babies do that? How do you even put that on? And by that I mean slightly terrified, wholly unconvinced in my abilities to care for this thing, and somewhat amazed at all the options that people have invented for doing so in the first place.
“So … getting a cat?” the checkout guy asked as he scanned my items.
“Yes … today … right now, actually … IhavenoideawhatI’mdoing.”
“Oh … do you have someone to help you care for it?”
I stared at the items in my cart and then at the man as I handed him my credit card. Was this PetCo employee hitting on me? Or was he confirming that he too clearly doubted my ability to keep a kitten alive for 10 to 20 years? Or was he a murderer gauging how easily he could follow me home to an empty apartment and kill me in front of my new kitten?
“YES. I have … one. He doesn’t know I’m doing this today …” I trailed off. “I’LL BE FINE THANKS. AND I DON’T LIVE ALONE FYI IT’S ALL GOOD BUSY NEIGHBORHOOD AND ALL.”
Because at that moment it occurred to me that my boyfriend did not, in fact, have any idea that I was picking up a kitten today. He was in the middle of a two-week work trip in the U.K. and our communication had been slightly spotty over the past few days owing to the time difference and our busy schedules.
When I got to my friends’ office – the kittens had been born to the warehouse cat – I eyed them all cautiously. This will be great this will be great this will be great this will be great, I assured myself.
After an hour or so of catching up, my friend had to get back to work and I was left standing … with a kitten. My kitten. My tiny orange kitten. Who I had named Taco. Because tacos fucking rule.
“Say goodbye to your family,” I said as I scooped up Taco and carried him to the car. “Forever. Oh god, I’m so sorry I’m a monster.” Which is exactly how he made me feel for the hour-long drive back to the city as he cried – nay yowled – while alternating between climbing the seats, hiding under the seats, and pissing on the car rugs out of what I assume was pure terror and/or rage.
This will be great this will be great this will be great this will be great.
And now about a month later, I can say with confidence that this is totally great. Cats are so easy, you guys! They don’t pee in the house no matter how long you leave them (except for that time boyfriend found him swatting his own poop around the dining room). They sleep all the time (except for at 3 a.m. when he’s biting my ass and pulling my hair and clawing up my legs to try to get me to play with him). They’re so calm (except for when he’s running around the apartment ricocheting off the furniture and clawing up the window screens). He even comes running when I call him (except for when he’s in the back of my closet climbing up my dresses with his sharp little claws).
Just try and tell me there's a cuter damn family photo than this. Oh, you and your husband and your baby? Please that is so basic.
So now here I stand before you today to admit: My name is Bridget and I love cats. Well, mine anyway. My friends, however, can barely believe I’m now a newly minted cat lady person, so to explain, I will now share with you the top 10 reasons why Taco and I are perfect companions.
- Taco demands love and attention, but in a slightly passive-aggressive way. If you leave him for too long or fail to lavish enough attention on him, he will shit under the dining room table and then act like it’s a game. Same.
- We both love cilantro. Taco loves it so much that he will pull the entire fucking window box of cilantro sitting on my kitchen windowsill to the ground so he can love it up close and personally.
- Our energy levels swing from manic excitement to sleep within seconds.
- Speaking of sleep, we both think sleeping is the fucking best thing. We can do it anywhere. On the couch, on the bed, on the hardwood floor, on top of boyfriend Doug (bow chicka), on my computer keyboard.
- We’re both so fucking adorable.
- We dig tall, bearded men. Especially the one that lives with us.
- We love head rubs and cuddling.
- We never talk about Crossfit or paleo.
- We love being outside. Taco technically isn’t allowed outside, but if I’m sitting on the porch he does this really cute thing where he climbs up the window screen with his claws and hangs there yowling until you’re so distracted from whatever it is you were reading that you go inside to calm him the hell down. So yeah, I’d consider him “outdoorsy.”
- If we’re hungry, we’re hangry. God help you if you cross my path if my blood sugar drops below a certain level. I can’t think, my stomach begins to eat itself, I get lightheaded, and the rage is real. This is what I imagine Taco is experiencing at 4 a.m. when he is clawing up and down my body and biting me from head to toe on the occasion that I did not fill his food bowl enough the night before. I don’t blame him. I do the same thing to Doug on the regular. Every time a bitchy word comes out of my mouth and my claws are bared, before he fights back he firsts asks me if I’m hungry. 99% of the time, yes I am.
Cats, man. Mine rules. You want to join the Taco party? @yellaphant on instragram for delicious Taco treats on the reg.
Until next time, just hang in there.