I Never Thought I Would Be a Cat Lady

2-1-14n 141 cat @ CharmingZebra.com

Cat Lady.

The term usually conjures up a mental image of an unkempt old woman stooped over by the ravages of time.  She is wearing a faded, shapeless house coat or muu-muu and is shuffling through a furry sea of felines.  She lives alone, as her companions are her kitties.  She feels needed, loved and accepted by them.  Her mutterings and odd behavior don’t seem to bother the cats, because after all, they are her family.

To be honest, I’ve always liked animals.  We had various pets and farm animals growing up.  But as much as I loved the cute dogs and furry cats, I always thought of them as animals and not as another sibling.  The pets were usually kept outside, so that may have been part of it.  I just didn’t understand those people who dressed their pets up in clothing, threw birthday parties for them or took them out shopping.  Those who truly considered Fluffy and Fido to be full-fledged members of the family.  I didn’t understand the sometimes smelly house with the sofa covered in animal hair or the ill-mannered pup repeatedly jumping up on me or (even worse) the over-excited dog riding my leg like a rocket while the (clueless) owner looked on adoringly.

Fast forward a few years.  Picture me married with four little ones.  My husband and I have agreed on having no pets for the time being.  Me, being too busy with the children while the husband just isn’t a big fan of animals in the first place.  The children, though, are obsessed with getting a dog.  That is all they talk about.  For every Christmas and birthday they tell us that a dog is all they want.  Just a dog.  And of course, what kind of parents would deny their kids the one thing they wanted most in the whole world?  Well, that would be us.

So this little scenario goes on for a number of years until a bit of miscommunication changes everything.

The following is an exchange my husband, Shawn had with a guy from church and the miscommunication that ensued:

Carl: Would your family be able to watch my dog for a week while I’m out of town?

Shawn: (remembering his dog obsessed children) Sure, that sounds fine.

Now here is what my husband thought Carl meant: 

Carl: Would your family be able to come to my home and feed my dog each day while I’m gone?

But this is what Carl was actually saying:

Carl: I’m a bachelor so my dog, Sassy is my baby.  I wouldn’t dream of leaving her home all alone.  Would your family be willing to let her come stay at your house for the week I’m gone?  She’ll want to sleep on your bed and take the best spot on the sofa during prime time t.v.

So, consequently, Sassy ended up staying with us for a week.  (Much to the bewilderment of my husband.)

Well, that episode of slight miscommunication turned out to be only the beginning.  All the things we were afraid of: smelly dog, hair on the furniture, barking, biting, jumping up, chewing and potty accidents, we didn’t have to worry about with Sassy.  She was extremely well-behaved and easy-going.  (I truly believe she considered herself a human.)  We ended up watching Sassy a few more times before Carl moved away.

And then we watched our neighbors cat for a week, too.  (Causing me to immediately desire a cat of my own.)

So, to fairly shorten an already overly long story, we have had our own dog now for about 7 years and our cat for 4 years.  And even though I don’t throw elaborate birthday pet parties for them or dress them in silly clothing (except for that Christmas sweater with the electronic blinking lights and that Tinkerbell Halloween costume) I consider them both, part of the family.  Especially the cat.  Who, despite her extreme snoopiness, is a total delight.

And you know, sometimes I even see that Cat Lady scenario in my future…


~Miss Charming

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  1. Oh, animals will wedge their way into your heart whether you like it or not, and kitties are especially adept at turning people who *think* they are ambivalent about cats into total cat lovers! I have two cat stories to prove this: A woman I worked with grew up on a farm in Oklahoma. She always considered cats part of the “livestock” and also thought they were rather dirty, strange creatures because the only ones she knew lived in the barn and ate rodents. Well, fast forward many years later and she meets me, a cat lover, who tells her all about how wonderful cats are. She just. would. not. believe. me. about that! Then one day, her daughter the volunteer vet tech brings home a tiny kitten that needed bottle feeding, and this woman immediately falls head over heels in love with Little Miss Sassy Drawers and takes it upon herself to hand-raise this kitten (having had absolutely ZERO prior experience). Well, this turned out to be the World’s Most Spoiled Cat because this women, a former cat hater, doted on this tiny kitten like it was her own born child! Those two formed such a tight bond and it was a toss-up who loved the other more. I kept reminding this woman about “how awful cats are” every time she would tell me yet another “you’ll never believe what Miss Fur Britches did today!” story.

    My Dad also grew up on a farm, and felt the same way about cats, he and his six brothers used to torment the barn cats by tying bells to their tails and scaring the pants off the poor creatures. Well, I adopted a beautiful full-grown orange tabby, but could not take her to my new apartment when I moved a couple years later because I was a student and didn’t have the spare $300 laying around to pay a “cat deposit” to the new landlord. So, with my parent’s approval, I sent Miss Pumpkin to live with them out of state (this cat had flown across the U.S. several times, I was her third or fourth owner and she had been shipped to each successive person who adopted her!) until such time as I could get the deposit money together. My Dad drove 200 miles round trip to pick her up from the airport. Three weeks after the arrival of Pumpkin into their home, my mom calls me to tell me she doesn’t think I’m getting my cat back! Thinking the worst – that she got out and was attacked by a coyote or hit by a car – I ask WHY? and she tells me “Well, your father is madly in love with this cat, and they are inseparable. She’s sitting on the back of his recliner right now, brushing his head with her tail!” My parents kept that cat for many years, until her time had run out and she had to be put down because of old age and failing health, and my poor Dad cried like he was losing his best friend!

    So, these furry little souls (who I think really are angels in disguise) will work their magic on even the most ambivalent person, and in my experience, the “newly converted” are always very zealous in their love for their new-found babies!

  2. Ha, the older I get the better a muumuu sounds LOL!
    Love your story. I on the other hand was raised to adore and spoil my dogs. They were always family members and loved in a totally unconditional way.
    I’m glad you found your love for them and I would love it if you would share this on one of my Pet Series Fridays. Would you?

  3. What a great story. I can honestly say with absolutely no shame that I am NOT, nor will I ever be a cat person. Now dogs, on the other hand, totally tug at my heartstrings. We had dogs growing up, but my parents always defined the line between pet and family member. For them our pets were just that. Now that I have my own family I have a different view. Our pets are family.
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