My daughters wanted a cat several years ago. I put my foot down. Absolutely not! No cat! Zero! Zilch! None! Ever!
They kept on. I said no, no, no! They kept on. I said no kitten, no way!
They kept on. It was like verbal water boarding, so finally, I agreed to go look, but that’s all! Just look! Understand? No cat, period. Just looking!
We adopted Carl the next day.
We found him at the dog pound, or rather, “animal shelter” to be politically correct and sensitive to all animals everywhere.
The first cat they took out of a cage cuddled up next to my daughters and was purring like a lawn mower with a bad cylinder. I reached over to pet the cuddly little thing. It showed its fanged teeth and hissed at me like it overdosed on a syringe of catnip. Put it back!
The second cage had three kittens from the same litter. As soon the kittens were out, a conversation started about how horrible it would be to break up the family and only take one. Put them back, put them ALL back!
The next cage had a one eyed, long haired cat that left hair on everything. Excuse me, but that’s just nasty! Besides, if I ever did hold Popeye the cat, someone would think the hair he left on my shirt was more of mine coming out! Put it back, and sweep the floor!
In the end, it was an easy decision. There was a big ole, orange, adult male cat that seemed to say, “Que sara sara”. He was as calm in the cage as he was out. The best part, he was cheaper to adopt because he already had the reproductive plumbing removed at the vet’s office, if you know what I mean.
Besides, I figured he was bound to run away or get lost pretty quick anyway. You just never know when some cat, (wink, wink) will jump in the back of your truck in a live trap and get dropped off several neighborhoods away where lots of kids are playing who love cats.
Trouble is, Carl didn’t run away. He stayed. Every morning I’d wake up and Carl would be at the back patio door, meowing, at 3:00 AM. Shut up, Carl! He meowed louder. I tried to create an aversion to meowing by snatching the door open and splashing water on him. More meowing, and longer, and louder, like he was in cat civil disobedience demanding equal rights to come in the house that all the humans had.
At 4:00 AM I stumbled to the door to grab him so I could chunk, I mean, gingerly set him, in the garage. As soon as I opened the door, he burst in the house like a lightning strike. I followed him around in the dark. When I was within an arm’s length, he’d run farther away staying just out of reach. He just purred and walked in a prissy way like he was singing the song, “We are the champions my friend”.
Don’t judge me, but at 4:00 AM, who wants to deal with an uppity cat attitude of “It’s about time you open the back door and let me in the house you stupid human!”
So you wanna be all haughty, do you Carl? Fine! But it’ll be in the garage!
Call me narrow minded, but in my book, any creature that hacks up fur balls shouldn’t look down its nose at anybody!
Soon it was an all-out chase in the dark. I finally cornered him in the den and grabbed the big blob of hair, but dropped him as soon as I raised up and cracked my head on the edge of the pool table.
Carl bolted off to the foot of the stairs, like he already knew the lay out of the house. But how?? It was like somebody had already….no!! It was like four female somebodies had been letting him in when I wasn’t there!! He ran up the stairs and by the time I found him, all the girls were awake from the commotion.
The lights flipped on and one of the girls was sitting in bed with her arms around Carl shielding him like I was about to take him to the slaughter barn!
“Be nice to Carl, Daddy! Be nice!”
Carl, the little snot, narrowed his beady eyes at me with that que sara sara look again. In total disrespect, like he was in charge, he began to pat the bed blanket with his front feet getting it just right for a long winter nap. He looked at me, then closed his eyes like he was royalty and I was just some pauper intruding on his sleep.
In cat language, Carl spoke with a bloody English, hoity toity accent — “Oh dear! Why, oh why, must I be forced to deal with this common man? Don’t go away mad you two-legged riff-raff, just go away. Now! Be gone, beastly man! Be gone!”
Carl ended up sleeping in bed with one of the girls that night. It made me so crazy I couldn’t sleep another wink. Besides, the pool table left a whelp on my head.
Eventually, I trained Carl to go to the garage and camp out there. Or maybe he trained me, I’m not really sure sometimes.
For crying out loud, why are there so many well-meaning, ill-advised people who love cats? They think they’re “cute”?! Paleeeease!! Just type in ‘cat videos’ on YouTube. There’s 33,900,000 videos! Pathetic! Santa Claus only has 3.7 million! What’s wrong with this picture people?!
Anyway, after a while you kinda get used to Carl coming up and rubbing on your leg when you stand outside for more than 23 seconds. It’s really bad when wearing shorts. He comes out of nowhere and starts rubbing on your leg. Makes me feel a little dirty, you know? And then! Then he raises his tail straight up in the air while walking back and forth rubbing his side on my legs. Weirdo!!
Sometimes I almost can’t take it anymore and fight back the urge to drop kick Carl over the nearest power line. Instead, I give him a little quiver bump with my shin, not hard, just a friendly warning to get away, like, now! Rattlesnakes usually rattle as a warning before biting. It’s just my rattle. That’s all.
Some say Carl is a really social cat. He does love attention, any kind, and loves to have his head rubbed. But don’t rub his stomach! No siree. He bites! The first, and only, time Carl bit at me, we came to a clearly human dominated understanding. He won’t bite at me again.
He does, however, like to lap sit. It made me cringe the first time he jumped in my lap. He could’ve been adored by any of my daughters, but he jumped on me! It would have been so easy to sit with one of them, but noooo, he chose me. What did I ever do to you, Carl? OK, don’t answer that! What did I ever do to you, lately, Carl?
I relented and eventually let him sit in my lap. Progress.
One night after petting Carl for about 30 minutes, my sinuses constipated. Then my eyes started watering, turned beet red and begin burning like I had used Louisiana Hot Sauce for contact solution. It took several hours for the swelling to go down. It happened again a couple weeks later when petting Carl, and then again. The third time there was no reasonable doubt over the verdict. Carl was the criminal!
The internet says people aren’t allergic to cat hair. They’re actually allergic to cat dander and allergens cats produce called Fed d 1 through 4, whatever that is. It doesn’t matter. I can’t be spiritual and love the cat, but hate the dander! It’s Carl. It’s all Carl!
He comes around and I get enough histamine to make a yak go bald. It’s a strange feeling too, like sunburned feet, or Icey Hot on your lips. You need Benadryl in keg size for relief from that misery. And all the while, Carl sits there flicking his tail stirring up his Fed d 1 allergens. Ain’t nobody got time for that!
So now I don’t hold him, for medical reasons, you know. Heck, I can barely pet the furry bag of cat litter.
Even so, Carl gets attention. He just won’t let you forget him. It doesn’t matter how you try to escape. If you go to the front door, he’s laying on the door mat. Go to the back door, he dives at you as soon as you step outside. Go through the garage door and you have to step over him while he lounges in luxury with nothing in the world to do. Come to think of it, he reminds me of a retired guy I know.
Over time, my solidly anti-cat opinion has waned a bit. I wouldn’t say this while introducing myself at a Cat Hater’s Anonymous meeting, and it feels inherently wrong to even admit it, but, but.…but I kinda like Carl. There! I said it! I. Kinda. Like. The. Cat.
One Saturday morning I stepped outside barefooted right onto a dead squirrel Carl had hunted down and left at the back door. Cats are bad. Squirrels are worse. Way worse! And Carl, bless his little heart, had killed one under the big pecan tree that didn’t produce a single pecan the year before because the squirrels high jacked the tree in coordinated feeding attacks.
Carl was laying on top the patio table licking his claws. He looked at me as if to ask, “Satisfied?”
It was a breakthrough in our relationship. A healing began. That morning Carl and I became friends, not best friends, but friends.
Since then, Carl’s eliminated a number of the pesky, buck toothed rodents from the yard! Love ya, Carl!
To admit being fond of a cat is as freeing as a parakeet in a bird cage. It’s freeing to no longer feel…. to only occasionally feel…..alright, to every great once in a while not feel animosity toward some other loathsome cat lurking in a yard.
It’s freeing not to have obsessive compulsive thoughts about tying a steak around a cat and throwing it to the neighbor’s Dobermans. It releases the soul to avoid a cat when driving down the street, even though they’re worth 50 points a piece! I feel like William Wallace yelling, “Freedom!”
Yet freedom is not free, because admitting to liking a cat, well, now my man card may be revoked.
Even worse, they’re all going to be so disappointed at our next Cat Haters Anonymous meeting! They’ll think I fell off the wagon and need a sponsor. But no matter the costs, the truth must be spoken, “Hi. My name is Jeff, and I like a cat, but just one, Carl….at least, for now.”