People have pondered, probed and just plain asked, “How are you married with three cats?”
I agree it’s quite a feat considering the stigma around cat ownership being on-staff for a cat. Funny enough, when I think back to how our happy family came to be there was a subconscious method to my feline-madness.
My husband was raised by a family of dog LOVERS and I don’t think there was anytime in his childhood where his parents didn’t have at least one dog. And to be honest, I absolutely adore dogs too. I grew up with dogs, cats, sheep and goats even a crow named Sammy, so I pretty much have all my bases covered in the pet department. But if you could draw a line in the proverbial dog-versus-cat-people sand his family fall way over on the doggie side. When we first starting dating I only staffed a little sweet shy torbie named Brindle.
Ryan and I dated long distance for the first two years of our relationship and Brindle looked as forward as I did to his monthly visits. She would simply sit or lay in between us on the couch and push her rabbit feet into me giving me a look like “Um this is my man lady…move over.” And slowly her coquettish charm won Ryan over.
Eventually we (me and Brindle) and Ryan moved together to Chicago and that was when the true love affair really began. Brindle would lie on Ryan while he was watching TV, cuddle up next to him at night and sleep in with him on lazy mornings. I was merely the staff…buying food, brushing her luxurious torbie coat and clipping her nails.
Obviously this wasn’t enough attention for me – from Brindle not Ryan to be clear. I mean she was my cat, right? I started to get that craving….you know… the one for all that is small, cute and innocent…that silly lustful need for a baby…cat.
Well, one day while at PetSmart I “happen” to stop by the cat room…and there, calling me with an undeniable force was a crate containing a new litter of kittens dubbed “The Jackson Five +1”. In the corner of the cage was a smaller sweeter kitten in the mix of the 5 rambunctious boys. Janet Jackson was her moniker and she weighed .5 lbs. So tiny and precious she fit into my hand and purred against my chest and well…it was already a done deal in my mind. I went home in a wild frenzy, talking a mile a minute about this new-found kitten and how I couldn’t stop thinking about her, and wouldn’t it be sweet to have a friend for Brindle? (After all we both traveled a lot and she had to stay home all by herself *tear*)
At this point I will have to inject a pop culture reference. There’s a great line delivered by Patrick Warburton’s character in the TV show The Rules of Engagement, “She wanted a cat, I didn’t want a cat so we compromised… and got a cat.” Well that pretty much sums it up. After a few weeks of playing with Ginger (aka Janet Jackson) at the PetSmart office, and rubbing blankets on her to take back to Brindle to get her used to the smell, we brought her home.
The relationship between the sisters was tense at first. Ginger was definitely an attention hog but as her mischievous kitten ways could be she had us wrapped around her long-ass prehensile tail [note from “editor” this means a tail that is adapted for grasping, like a monkey’s tail, we didn’t know either]. It was close to Thanksgiving so we went to visit my parents for about 5 days and when we came home those two girls were madly in love…I guess the need for love and attention brought them together!!
Life was good for a few years…we got married and our two sweet girls were finally friends. They loved each other and they loved us. But, Ryan was their human BFF. Again, my plans foiled. We had tapped into a new-found profession for Ryan. Cat Whisperer. I couldn’t believe it…my sweet Brindle wooed by his charms and then Ginger too???
Maybe she just missed her 5 brothers and liked the masculinity. Whatever it was (and still is) there isn’t a night that goes by where you wont find Brindle and Ginger curled up by his side. I tried to keep myself distracted with traveling and work and planning our wedding. (Which was fabulous by the way) The crazy cat lady stigma was officially over once we tied the knot in front of our family and friends. Married with two cats. Seems reasonable and doable. I mean two cats is kind of normal, ask any cat owner.
Sadly around two months after our wedding, my Nana passed away and I was devastated. As a child and through my college years she was one of my best friends and even though she had been sick for a while her death was one of the saddest moments of my life thus far. I know in my heart she was waiting for me to get married and when she know I was well taken care of she was able to move onto the next phase of her journey. Strangely enough around a week prior to her passing I started nosing around the Craigslist pet community checking out the cats and kittens that needed good homes. I didn’t really have Ryan’s support on this notion…he was constantly shaking his head saying we didn’t NEED another cat…NEED? We don’t NEED anything…jeesh who did he think he was talking to? Did my new husband even KNOW Me!
While we were home with my parents during the time of the funeral I told Ryan that I really wanted a kitten to help me mourn the loss of my Nana and somehow in the mist of his sweet nature he relented and said OK. In retrospect I have a feeling that he was hoping I would move past this “want” after we got back home to our babies. Fortunately or unfortunately that wasn’t the case. Once we got home I nose-dived into the cat ads on Craigslist. The first posting that came up was from a guy who had found a stray sister and brother and was eager to get them adopted to a good home. I emailed and got a picture…OMG…it was love at first sight.
We set up a time to meet and off we went. Ryan was like a line in a Pink Floyd song “Your lips move but I can’t hear what your saying”…all I could hear and see was this sweet striped brown tabby. It was love at first sight – no hesitation just pure joy and excitement. I scooped him up, paid the $100 bucks to Eric (the guy who rescued him) and off we went…Ryan in tow…I think he was saying something like “what are you doing? We don’t need another cat!” but again all lip service. I was totally entranced by this little purr box that was now my very own.
I named him Erwin (aka @thesmerz) after my Poppy (Nana’s husband). He is the sweetest baby with the highest need for attention. And even though he does love his daddy he has an extra sweet spot for me. FINALLY!
So here is my strategy for all you single ladies out there who are ready to be married – with cat(s).
- Gave a sweet cat that likes men
- Meet a man (without allergies) and have your feline sway them to the cat side
- Obtain second cat after the move-in or engagement
- Obtain 3rd cat after knot is tied!
WARNING: If your husband or SO (significant other) has Cat Whispering tendencies like mine – you may feel a bit left out or the need for that new kitten smell every few years, but rest assured your cats do actually love you – you might just move around too much when you sleep, or make too much noise when you walk around the apartment in your fancy boots. But as any cat owner knows the biggest difference between cats and dogs…dogs love you no matter what cats need you to earn their respect and their love but once that happens they are yours for life!
* Keri Blair is a fellow Manhattanite – who writes about “Thoughts, questions, anecdotes…and other random sundries” in her blog Thanks for playing… As the title of this blogsuggests, she and her husband live with three cats – Brindle, Ginger, and Erwin (@thesmerz). Today she recounts the story of how she her cats, converted her dog-loving husband and gives singletons tips on how to get married – with cat(s).