I’m excited to announce that today’s Cat Woman Wednesday is written by none-other than my ex-roomie and friend, Christina Schmid. Christina was my very last roommate after which I finally began living like the 30-something I was. In the bedroom of my 1-bedroom apartment rather than the living room!
The Ancient Egyptians Had it Right.
In today’s world, adopting a cat is tantamount to joining the high-school Mathletes instead of the cheerleading squad (sorry, Mathletes). Allow me to explain.
I grew up in a household full of cats. They were my world. So much so that I would call home from college and ask – much to the chagrin of my father – how the cats were doing before asking how he was doing. So, when a fast-moving baby rat decided to pay me several late-night visits in my NYC apartment, it didn’t take long before I was sold on the idea of adopting a cat.
I sent a quick email to some friends asking what they thought of my plan. Predictably, the responses ranged from “No! You are a jet-setter! You don’t want to be tied down!” to “Kittens grow up to be cats, you know,” and “But where would you even fit a litter box in your studio?” (That last one was actually a valid point).
Not one to shy away from adversity, I forged ahead with my unpopular adoption scheme. One Saturday afternoon in October, after a margarita-fueled night, I headed to Animal Care & Control (ACC) in NYC and endured what will forever be remembered as one of the most heart-wrenching afternoons of my life. But that is a story for another time . . .
I went to the shelter that day intending to adopt one – and only one – kitten.
I like to blame my severe hangover for what happened next, but the reality is that when you are at a kill-shelter and face-to-face with so many helpless and homeless animals, all bets are off. So when I saw a litter of 5-week old babies piled on top of one another, I told the volunteer that I would take two.
I left that day with two sisters – “Fanny”, a little tabby, and “Pearl”, a solid black kitty. I quickly got rid of the ridiculous shelter names; and so Fanny became Piper, and Pearl became Prue (any “Charmed” fans out there?).
It’s a good thing that I didn’t have a gender preference because two days later at the vet’s office, I found out that Prue was a boy! Way to be thorough, ACC . . . And thus, Prue is now my little guy Leo. (Truth be told, this came as little surprise. In fact, until the vet’s revelation, I felt bad that he was the ugly sister!).
The next few weeks were rough. I felt like a new mother, except my babies were not confined to their cribs. I remember lying awake at 3 a.m. listening to what can only be described as a full-force stampede and wondering how two 1.2 lb kittens could make such a racket. Heavy vases were shattered, curtains torn and electrical cords severed. The toilet paper never stood a chance and gone were any aspirations with respect to hand-modeling.
Two and a half years later, I have upgraded (slightly) from my tiny studio, but not much else has changed. My BlackBerry charger continues to live in peril given Piper’s affinity for cords. And after my Christmas décor was swiftly assassinated by Leo, I took Tamar’s advice and invested in some Quake Putty.
But the kitties continue to be the best of friends. I like to think I had something to do with this adorable behavior since I raised them, but the reality is that I just happened to adopt two very sweet babies from the shelter that fateful day.
Adopting a cat (or two) was not the easy or popular choice. We live in a dog’s world, where cats are inexplicably second-class citizens. For some reason, having a dog adds an instant cool-factor, whereas having a cat requires explanation.
When someone in the elevator sees me carrying a package from Wag.com or Foster Smith, they light up and say, “Oh, do you have a dog?” When I respond that I have two cats, I’m met with a disappointed and disheartened “Oh.”
I knew this going in and was very close to adopting a puppy that day at the ACC. To be clear, I love dogs just as much and prefer to think of myself as an “animal person” rather than simply a “cat person.” But, as a singleton living in a studio apartment with an unpredictable work schedule, I made the right choice at the time. And I have no regrets.
Long gone are the days of ancient Egypt, where cats were exalted and deified. Today we live in a society that, sadly, does not appreciate the awesomeness of the feline. But I do. Piper and Leo may keep me up all night, but they also keep me positively entertained. And the fact that I do not need to take them out in the pouring rain or frigid snow to use the bathroom makes me love them even more!