This story was submitted by IHC reader Rena about her Cat Man husband David.
When I met David in 1981 he was not a cat person. He’d had a dog growing up – good old Laddie – but remained petless until an ex-girlfriend moved out and left her black cat, Baldrick, behind. David liked Baldrick well enough when the cat was not spraying his book collection, that is. It was a tenuous relationship.
But then he met me, born a cat lover never without one in my life. My cat at that time was Max, an amazing, “tall” black and brown tabby with a crooked tail, white feet and a black dot on his white muzzle that made him look like he was sneering at everything and everyone.
The truth, though, is that Max was the sweetest, funniest and most endearing boy. He loved to play fetch and was my constant companion when I was ill or sad. For the sake of getting to know me (a real honor, of course), David decided to tolerate Max.
One weekend, during a period when the flea population in San Francisco seemed to have gone mad, I decided it was time to give Max a flea bath. David helped me. Poor Max was so unhappy and scared, a big wet cat shivering in the bathtub. Then suddenly, the water at is feet turned yellow with his urine. That was the moment when David’s heart melted.
Somehow, he related to being so scared and miserable that a guy might pee his pants. In Max’s case, of course, there were no pants, but the feelings were the same. David and Max became buddies after that and remained so until the day Max died in 1989 at the age of 17.
Since then here have been Tigger, Rosie, Molly, Ralph and the three who share our home now – Joey, Audrey and Phoebe. Early on, David worried a lot about the vet bills. As much as he loved Max, he told me that if the bill were more than $500 we would not save the cat (remember, this was in 1982 dollars). In my heart I knew he didn’t mean it, and of course we shelled out much more than that many times over the years.
Then along came Joey. Being a flame point, he has some of the quirks of the typical Asian cat: When he wants something instead of meowing to alert us, he shreds paper. If the shredding doesn’t get our attention, then he starts knocking things off shelves.
But he has one habit that David loves. Joey climbs on David’s back every morning (and sometimes again in the evening), lies down and starts purring up a storm. He’ll stay there indefinitely and David will walk around the house bent at the waist so that Joey can stay on him. Joey does this with no one else but David. I’ve tried to coax him onto my back, but he’ll have none of it.
The first thing Joey does when David returns from a trip (once he’s given him the cold shoulder for a while, that is) is to get on David’s back for some male bonding. Which brings me to the title of this story.
One day David said to me, after a walk through the house with Joey on his back, “Remember how I used to say that I didn’t want to pay more than a certain amount at the vet?” “I replied that I did. “Well,” he said, “I love Joey so much that if someone offered me $50,000 for him, I wouldn’t take it.” If that is not the statement of a confirmed “Cat Man,” then I don’t know what is.
I love being married to my Cat Man. It’s wonderful to have someone who shares in the joy that cats bring into our lives. And he’s not ashamed to show his love for cats, even stopping on the street to pet the cats he meets on his daily walk.
ARE YOU A CAT MAN? DO YOU HAVE CAT MAN IN YOUR LIFE? You/he could be IHC’s next Monday Man Cat! Tell us how you/he came to love cats, how they’ve enriched your/his life, and share stories of your/his cats (past or present). Email photos and a post for consideration to ihavecat (at) gmail (dot) com.