Why do people dislike cats? Some believe that their complete indifference to human life is sinister and creepy, and that inevitably the world will crumble at the hand (paw?) of the feline. Others who show visible distain towards our furry friends are perhaps just blaming their insufficient immune systems’ negative response on the animal, not their coddled childhood. Others still find their charms not so charming, their doleful eyes turning into slits of fury as threatening instead of comical, and their twitching bottoms before pouncing menacing instead of a majestic natural phenomenon.
I dislike people who dislike cats.
Ever since I was young, I wanted a pet cat. There are pictures in our dusty old family photo albums of me, age 3, shirtless, and happy as a clam sitting on the bottom steps of our old deck with a black kitten (Blackie) and a yellow tabby whose name escapes me but was probably named something regal, like Yellowie. I don’t remember these kittens, but I feel confident in saying they swayed me towards the feline persuasion.
When I turned 13, I was aggressively lobbying for a kitten. I wanted one, and badly. Christmas morning, I unwrapped an unorthodox yet perfect gift- A litter box! My parents’ bathroom humor flew right over my head. I was too busy fantasizing about my new cat! Of course I wanted to go right then and there, at 7:30 Christmas Day, to the shelter and pick my new best friend. Mom made me wait. 3 days later, we rolled into the Jenkins household with a cardboard carton and a 9 month old kitten whose owner was moving and couldn’t keep him- Enter Thomas, stage left.
I was in love. That cat did not love me, but I didn’t care. He would hide in the craziest places in the house, and I would find him and snuggle him, and he would begrudgingly accept it, then plot his next, even more obscure hideout. Thomas spent most of his time sleeping, eating, and occasionally stalking birds and squirrels in the yard. He acquired several loving nicknames, like Fluffernugget, Fuzzbutt, Meow Meow, and Tommer, and even got a Christmas stocking with “TOM” expertly crafted out of red and green felt stitched on the top. Years passed by, and Thomas warmed to us… a little. He wouldn’t sit on our laps, but if you were lucky enough to be graced by his presence, he “loved you best”. If he was having a really good day, he might place one paw gingerly against your leg, or sit in such a manner that you couldn’t move without disturbing his majesty, which of course would always happen at the most inopportune time.
Now that I’ve moved away from my beloved Fluffer, I demand weekly updates on what he’s doing (as he’s quite old now, he mostly sleeps, naps, eats, lazes around, basks in the sun, tests out the comfort level of various surfaces for extended periods of time with his eyes closed, and catches birds in his dreams). I would have taken him with me, but he doesn’t like car rides, and I couldn’t shake up his whole world without knowing what mine held in store. I’ve thought about getting a kitten here in Bozeman, but I wouldn’t be able to tend to it as much as I’d like and I wouldn’t want the little bugger getting lonely.
My friends and roommates sympathize, refraining from making fun of yet another cat video sent their way, appreciating my catcentric artwork and stories, and even providing me with extra paraphernalia with which to decorate. When the time is right, I will have a furry friend, maybe 2. Or 3.Maybe someday, but not right Meow!