You’re a grown-ass woman, so let’s abandon the pretence here and just get down to business: I HAVE A CAT NOW. Well, for now. I am longterm taking care of a friend’s cat while he is in Paris for a few years. The cat’s name is Boots, and as you can see above, she is a perfect angel from Cat Heaven (actually just a paper bag, cats love a bag). Anyway, I thought I’d share some observations re: cat ownership. Feel free to disprove some of these in the comments, we are very much still in the Cat Honeymoon stage.
First thing’s first: SNUUUUUUUUGGGGZZZZZZ
Whoever started the rumour that cats are cold and standoffish is probably many dogs standing together in a trench coat. Some cats love to cuddle, and most will tolerate a chin scratch if you are patient with them. A convenient thing about kitties is that while they are not as blindly loyal as dogs (throwin’ some hot shade on dogs over here), their temporary interest in you is just as easily bought with treats and the right kind of rubs. Buy this interest. It leads to purring. Cat snuggles feel so great precisely because cats make you work for it at first. When a cat bud comes to hang out in your lap, you know it’s because they think of you as good people, not because you are just some guy who is there.
Second thing’s second: Accept the gross parts too.
It’s not all sweet lil bedtime cuddles. Boots is a barfer. She loves to barf. Second maybe to “sleeping” and “being casually perfect,” barfing is her favourite activity. But she is a lady, and often barfs discretely—behind cupboards or under beds or, once, inside a mug on a high shelf—which means our whole life together is one long game of Find The Barf. I am bad at it. Yesterday I found the barf on a windowsill, too late. It was very crusty. Like, deep dish. I cleaned it off for ten minutes and when I went upstairs, she was sleeping sprawled out on my bedside table, all of the things that had been on the table splayed on the ground beneath her. And you know what? I just rubbed her tummy for a bit because you can’t be mad at a cat for not being a person, animals are a bit gross and that’s just that.
Never call your cat a “pussy” we all know why just don’t do it
Anyone who has experienced their grandma trying to “calm a fussy pussy” knows what I’m talking about, anyone who hadn’t before: you get it now, right? #grandmapussy
I feel pretty strongly like this cat is my baby. I know in my brain that having a baby is a different thing than having a cat, but in practice I’m just like “what a cool lil furry baby I have, I am a mom.” That being said, when I called Matthew (Boots’ sweet, real-life owner) a “cat dad,” he got very stern and responded “I’m not her Dad. We’re friends.” So feel out your own cat dynamic, is what I’m saying. If that involves calling your lil furball “dude” when it pukes and trying to get it to high five you over bong rips, so be it. If you feel an extreme urge to stage “Madonna of Bruges”-themed photoshoots with your willing/patient/very angry cat baby, up to you. (You hear that, Matthew, it’s UP2MEEEEE)
Bid a fond farewell to the following:
Any and all hair-free black clothes. Your hair-free lifestyle in general. The period of sleep between 6 and 7 am. Peeing while not being stared at by a lil furry bathroom companion. Keeping glasses of water or bracelets or bottles of things on tables unless your dream is for those things to be knocked over by an excited paw. A stress-free attitude towards whether or not the doors and windows are ajar. Friends with allergies. Suitcases used for any purpose other than “cat bed.” A world where you never have to lug several kilograms of kitty litter home from the Dufferin mall. Your dreams of being a hand model.
You don’t have to stick with just its name
Sure, you took some time to think of the perfect name for your new buddy. You found the ideal combination of quirky/cute/winkingly allusive name and now you are the proud owner of Wes Anderson, the cat. GEM, the cat. Aunt Linda, the cat. But guess what? That cat is gonna get called all kinds of crap and you won’t even realize until one day you are headed to the bathroom and utter the out-loud-to-no one phrase “Hey Booter-beet, I’m going to pee, wanna come?” before leaving the bathroom door ajar so an animal can be there while you urinate. Cat life changes you, is what I’m saying.
Take so many pictures of it. Like, definitely too many pictures of it.
It will feel like too many. It is not. Push past this feeling and keep going. Everyone will love it. The Internet is basically a 50-50 split of cats and porn, with a 1% margin for error/Farmville updates from your Aunt Linda. If the haters try to get you down re: your new feline photography skills, keep on keepin’ on. Don’t stop, don’t fret, Just
See? It was fine.
Follow Monica on Twitter: @monicaheisey