Me & My Cat Tilly

I’ve always had an affection for cats. Throughout my life, I’ve been very open with my fondness; however, it wasn’t until my late 20’s when people started referring to me as a “Cat Lady.” Which is of course that old stereotype that defines any woman over the age of 25 who admits to owning, loving and occasionally taking pics of and with their cat(s), a very sick person. Cat Lady implies that as each year passes, I will become more and more interested in cats, so much so that I will start to collect them. My house will then become overrun by felines of all shapes, sizes, stories and personalities. I will eventually bury myself in their fury love so much that it negatively affects my personal hygiene and is the reason for why I am without a human mate. Eventually my cats will back me into a small section of my apartment. My only personal living space will be a mere corner of my dwelling; most likely the bathtub. There I will sit in a constant state of anxiety about how I will financially survive day-to-day now that I’ve quit my job to become a full-time Cat Lady, depleted my savings (exactly $46.27) and cashed out my 401k in order to support my feline family. Even my personal financial consultant won’t be able to help me (Financial Consultant: aka my cat who enjoys napping on my calculator).

I will lose all contact with the outside world. When I am in need of emotional support, I will have “meaningful” conversations with my cats. Their indifference to my feelings is clear when they begin licking their butts as I discuss my deep concern that Mrs. Butterworth and Wally Wee will never get along with each other.

However, if I’m one of the lucky Cat Ladies, they’ll make a documentary about me. I’ll welcome cameras into my fury home as I try to justify my lifestyle by explaining where my love stems from. I’ll recall the guilt I have for the way I treated my first cat, Aunt Bea. She was named after a character in my mom’s favorite television, “The Andy Griffith Show.” Andy’s Aunt Bea was a sweet and loving yet stern and logical woman of a certain age…most likely 68. She was a good baker, but a better communicator and problem solver. She spoke volumes in both her tone and body language. She could say a mouthful in only a few sentences. She was nothing like our cat. JoleencatsThe cat version of Aunt Bea was a quiet loner who was afraid of the first two floors of our home and instead chose to live a simple life behind the water heater in our basement. This was most likely the residual effect of being born to a cat owned by a screwball cousin on my mom’s side of the family. I was a baby when my parents adopted her and I fear that I made the first years of her life hell. When I was able to walk, I’d hunt for her behind the water heater. I’d squeal as I pulled her toward me by her tail. Finally when I was three years old, Aunt Bea stood up to me. She scratched my face mere hours before my parents were taking me to get my pictures taken at Kmart. Despite it being my fault, my parent’s blamed Aunt Bea, “Bad kitty. Bad bad kitty,” they said while pointing at her with stern faces. It’s what all parents do. They blame the cat instead of the jerk face they spawned. It’s easier this way because blaming their kid is ultimately blaming themselves since they’ve passed down their DNA to this little human demon. In a situation such as this, a cat has no choice but to respond with a warning shot (a swift swipe to the face) to their hostile perpetrator. JoleencatI deserved the scratches across my right cheek, but my parents were afraid it’d be my eyes next so they had poor Aunt Bea declawed. “We had to prevent her from scratching your eyes out,” my mother explained as I grew older and asked where Aunt Bea’s claws went. In my thirty plus years on this planet, I have never heard a story of anyone’s eyes being scratched out of their head by a house cat, but I guess my parents weren’t going to mess around with one of the most ridiculous urban legends…only second to the one that claims if you flash your car’s high beams at an oncoming car, they’ll follow you home and murder you.

Ultimately, the impact my past had on my future will lead to my untimely death. I will die alone after choking on a hairball, which will then cause my parents to sue Iams Cat Food Company for false and negligent advertising since up until my death, I had been eating Iams ProActive Health Adult Hairball Care cat food. My legacy will be that I was the girl who tried to right the wrong she did to one cat by trying to save a world of cats, which led to the destruction of her life. I will be to cats what Marilyn Monroe was to pills and fame.

Luckily, I won’t have to live out the fate that others have bestowed upon me because I’ve realized that I will never be a Cat Lady. I know this because I only care about one cat, my own. I have no allegiance to any other cats nor do I want to. Sure your cat is cute, but I’d jump in front of a bus to save my cat. However, for your cat, I’d simply yell, “Hey, watch out! A bus is about to hit you.” Or in Catonese, “Meow meow. Meow meow meow. Hiss!”