By the time you have read this sentence containing the word ‘cats’, you’ll have reminded yourself how you feel about felines. Love them or hate them, felines have a way of provoking very interesting opinions. Oh, this isn’t a post about how great my cats are, it’s a post about being a cat owner and the reactions I get when this fact is revealed. And mainly how men react to this. Oh it can all kinds of useful to be a cat owner!
There’s this one guy, he’s a friend of a friend and so his unwanted advances are a little awkward. I don’t fancy him in the slightest but I know he’s always going to turn up in the pub when I’m meeting a certain crowd. He buys me drinks without asking, won’t let me buy him one back (the old ‘ownership’ thing which I hate) and it drives me berserk when people assume we’re together. A little time ago he very seriously sat me down, ran his fingers through my hair, looked me in the eyes and sighed, ‘Glitter, you know I really like you, really like you but there’s just one thing.. I just can’t be in a relationship with someone who owns cats. I’m sorry but I hate cats! If there was any other way.. but I just hate cats’. It took all my strength not to punch the air with delight! I paused, tilted my head, looked at him and kind of shrugged my shoulders.. ‘Well, I do own cats and I’ll always want to own cats. That’s just the way it’ll have to be then’ – RESULT!!! Mwahahaha…
I was seeing someone a while ago that lived way out of the city centre. I live in the city centre and while I’m prepared for someone else to pay a cab fare back to their place, I’m not prepared to do a walk of shame the next day that involves a bus journey. Public transport in this case, was easily avoided – ‘I know your place is great and it’s so much bigger than mine but I live just around the corner and I can’t leave the cats all night. They’ll need their supper!’ This was normally met with a ‘Bleeping cats’ muttered under his breath as I waltzed out of the pub. Another result! In fact, this is a line I’ve often used. Why risk going to a place owned by a single guy when you’ve no idea when a half empty tube of Athlete’s Foot cream will appear beside you or how many plates in the cupboard were licked clean and returned, how frightening it’d be to see a crusty nose hair trimmer propped up against the taps in the bathroom or a huge block of mouldy cheese in the fridge complete with teeth marks.
And then there’s the very handy, ‘Look! I have to go home and feed them, how would you like it if you simply had to go hungry?!’ This is often met with an ‘Ok, ok, s’pose..’ If at that point I don’t get a belini or a large bourbon for the road it’s easily prompted with the follow up, ‘They’re little rescue cats, you do remember that don’t you? They had a very hard start in life and probably wouldn’t be alive if someone hadn’t given them a home’ … and I’m back in the game!
Recently my newish boss was trying to suss me out. I simply answered the ‘kids’ question with a polite but firm ‘No’. I had previously mentioned I had cats and after asking their names this prompted the very typical male response of ‘Oh I prefer dogs. Dogs are way better. Cats are.. cats are well.. I don’t like cats’. I relayed to him that while I too very much like dogs, the automatic response from a lot of guys is that it’s great when a dog bounds up to you, all tail wagging and tongue lolling, would you really want something that throws itself at you at every opportunity? Is there not something interesting and clever about how cats will observe from a distance and then make a judgement. If a cat shows you any interest you’ll probably want to know what else is going on in that mind. You might even want to see the cat again just to see if it’ll react in the same way or if it’ll do something different, give away a little bit more. The only way you might see the cat again is if you make an effort to see the cat, if you try to impress the cat to gain some trust. You’ll go back to the cat because over time you learn that it’s worth taking some time to find out about this fantastic creature. My boss was laughing as he said ‘I don’t think you’re talking about cats and dogs anymore’ and he shook his head, sighed, asked if anyone wanted a cup of coffee and realised he’d learned a valuable lesson.
I’m also very aware of the ‘single female with cats’ tag . Recently I was told, albeit with a few pauses ’Not to become one of those, y’know, one of those women with cats’. A bit late I thought as I walked away and made a mental note that this guy probably wasn’t the most articulate and that I could probably practice my acerbic lines on him without too much come back.
So what it comes down to is that I’m a cat owner. It’s that simple. Accept it or don’t, it won’t change a thing. I’d rather be me, with my feline flatmates than the girl who’s cheating boyfriend treats her like a doormat or the bitch that everyone hates or the boring girl in the office whose life revolves around her husband and kids or the girl who will settle for anyone because she’s too scared to be on her own.