I’ve always loved animals. Even when dogs made me nervous as a kid, I still loved them. It wasn’t until we got our own dog that my fear vanished, and I started falling in love with dogs of all shapes and sizes.
Cats, on the other hand, creeped me the hell out. The just sat there, staring at you. You can’t tell what a cat is thinking when they’re just sitting there, sucking your soul out through their big, bulbous eyes. They don’t come when you call them, they’re virtually untrainable and they scratch the hell out of your furniture. Sure, kittens are cute, but all kittens grow up to be cats, and who would want one of those?
My high school boyfriend had a cat. A big one. His name was AJ, and there was very little that was creepy or weird about him. He was fat, he slept, and occasionally, he would try to make a break for the yard when the door opened. I spent a lot of time at this boyfriend’s house, and quickly got used to having a non-dog animal around. I figured that AJ was the exception to the rule about cats. Sometimes, he would come out of nowhere and scare the bejesus out of me, but that was a rare occurence. Maybe cats weren’t that bad.
Shortly before graduating, my dog died. This was particularly hard on me because I was home schooled for most of my high school career, and Otis was a large part of my day-to-day life. He woke my mum up when I was sick in the middle of the night. He stayed with me after I had a night terror. He was the best dog on the planet, and suddenly he was gone. Staying home alone all day got very lonely without my dog, but my parents refused to let me get another pet. I could have fish, but fish weren’t true companions. They didn’t sit up with you and lick your feet when you felt sick. They just swam around, doing nothing. I even had a fish, at one point, that ate all my other fish.
I think the reason they didn’t want any more pets was because they were a lot of work. The dog wrecked the grass and the hardwood floors. He shed all over the place and slobbered on the walls. There was no way I could get away with sneaking a puppy, let alone an adult dog, in to the house. A kitten on the other hand…
My parents went to Mexico and I got a kitten. Me, the person who thought cats were creepy, got a kitten. I went to a pet store, walked up to the cage with the heap of kittens in it and asked the sales associate if there was an orange one in there. (Milo and Otis was a favourite movie of me and my brother, so an orange cat was a must). To my luck there was, and I bought her. That’s where I got this:
The wrath was strong. I got yelled at. They told me I would have to get rid of her. I cried, and not for effect. I was genuinely upset. Luckily for me. Milo climbed in to my mum’s lap, started purring and promptly fell asleep. Now all that was left was for my dad to give his blessing. He said, and I quote, “It can stay, but I’m not having anything to do with it.”
That didn’t last long. The next morning, he heard her crying in the downstairs bathroom where she slept at night and felt that she needed to be let out. So, that morning, and every morning afterwards, she got out, had some kibbles, and slept in his lap until he left for work. To this day, he still says that he hates her, but we all know that he’s full of crap.
I learned a lot about cats after that point. The do, indeed have personalities, just like dogs do. They are smart as hell, too. Milo can open doors, if they’re not shut tight or if they have a handle (not a knob). She can open cupboards and drawers. She figured out, when she was small, that if she wanted to make it up on to the counter, all she had to do was climb the nearest person. Of course, she got big enough to make it up on her own after a while, but the ingenuity of this little creature never ceased to amaze me.
Probably the most shocking thing about her is the fact that she likes water. She got a bunch of cat little stuck in her fur after going in the litter box damp (from being sprayed for being bad), so we ran her a bath. Not only did she not protest, she liked the water hot and up to her neck. She will even get in the bath with me if the mood strikes her, whether I’m a willing participant or not.
She’s nearly eleven now, and getting cranky and set in her ways. There are certain times where she just won’t settle down unless my husband carries her around the house. She likes certain types of food, and will only drink water that’s not from a fountain if there’s ice in it. She turns on the tap to get a drink if the fountain is not meeting her standards, but never turns it off, even though she knows how.
She has had several cat companions, but none are quite as interesting as Odie:
Odie is our 22 pound shelter rescue. We got him to keep Milo company before we started our big, transitional moving process, and our lives haven’t been the same since. He was very skittish and quiet when we first brought him home, but that didn’t last. Now, he’s noisy, boistrous, and quite fond of laying around the house taking naps in positions that make us suspect that he might have died, from something like heart disease or diabetes.
He is very different from Milo. He doesn’t like being carried around or sleeping in your lap. He likes to sleep next to you, with one paw extended to it touches your leg or arm. He’s no adept at cleaning himself, and sometimes gets a funky cat-smell, which is quite different from Milo’s clean fur smell. He will come when I call either of them, and he’s bad at not using the littler box without sitting in his own poop. They couldn’t be more different, and yet they’re best friends.
The bottom line? Cats are creepy. They are nature’s little serial killers. The skulk around, doing weird cat things, with no regard for anyone or anything around them. But, in spite of the creepiness and weirdness, they make great friends. Odie always comes when I’m crying or upset, all on his own, and licks my hands. Milo will show my mum where I am if she has to rescue me after a hemiplegic attack. They steal food off our plates, clothes out of the laundry and hair ties from the bathroom, but I wouldn’t trade them for anything.