My father-in-law’s girlfriend is a wonderful woman. She’s outgoing and caring, warm and sincere. She’s one of those people who would do absolutely anything in the world for you. Truly, she’s a lovely person. She just has one flaw: She doesn’t like cats.
Actually, it’s not that she doesn’t like them. It’s more that she doesn’t feel anything toward them (or my dogs) one way or another. It’s fascinating, as a huge animal-lover, to watch her not be drawn in by their furry heads and big eyes, to simply ignore my pets as they ask for attention. And of course they ask for lots of attention from her because, you know, no human is more interesting to an animal than one who ignores them.
When she first started visiting, I would try to shoo our pets away. Now I don’t bother. I figure she knows what she’s getting into when she comes to my house. and she does an admirable job of just pretending they’re not there. So everyone’s happy.
But an interesting thing started happening with each visit. I began to see my cats and my house through her eyes. And I started realizing there are probably things about both that could really gross out non-cat lovers.
I would say that there is no cat guardian in the world who LOVES kitty litter or the litter box. I mean, cats poop and pee in it. Inside your home. Where you eat and sleep. Not only that but there are usually several litter boxes throughout the house, especially if you have multiple cats. And stepping in scattered litter in your bare feet is enough to give anyone the heebie-jeebies. So all of us — cat lovers and non-lovers alike — can agree that the litter box is, by its very nature, gross.
But the thing is, I hardly give the litter boxes a second thought. They’re as much a part of my house as my couch or the pictures on the walls. I scoop them each day, wash them out on a regular basis and make sure they have clean litter. However, from a non-cat person’s standpoint, the litter box (and its contents) must be really disgusting and they have to wonder how we can bear to live with such filth.
(By the way, I’m sparing you a picture of a litter box. You’re welcome.)
Many moons ago, when we first became cat parents, I had grand dreams of not allowing them on the counters or table. That lasted all of about 52 seconds. I know some people have trained their cats to stay off these surfaces (or think they have), but I’m apparently much too lazy to do this. I used to at least make a half-hearted attempt but when my husband started sharing his meals at the table with our cat Ripley, I just gave up. When we adopted our first dog, I even started feeding the cats on the table to keep their food out of the dog’s reach.
I get that this probably isn’t the most sanitary thing in the world, so I honestly try to pay extra attention to these areas in our kitchen. But it seems that no matter how diligently I wipe down the table, I still find bits and pieces of their food when it’s time for us to sit down to eat. And of course, those same little feet walking around on the table have also been walking around in the litter box (see above). So sometimes it’s best not to think about these things too much.
I once saw a plaque that read, “Everything tastes better with cat hair in it.” While we cat people can nod our heads in agreement and laugh that off, imagine how disgusting it must be for a non-cat lover. You’re sitting down for a meal at a table that the cats have just walked on. Said meal was prepared on a counter the aforementioned cats have also walked on. Presumably, these same cats have also used the litter box within the last few hours.
Trying to be a gracious guest, you push all of that out of your mind and prepare to compliment your hostess on a lovely meal. Then you see it … a little tuft of cat hair adorning your steak like a garnish. Frantically, you try to decide what to do. Do you pick it off? Cut around that section? Feign a heart attack and leave at once? Yes, it must be very hard to be a dinner guest in our house if you’re not a cat lover.
Those feet that have just been walking around in a litter box? Yeah, those. I love to kiss them. I can’t help it. The soft little tufts of hair poking out between their jellybean toes are simply irresistible to me. I scoop up Smudge (since Abby will have none of that nonsense), hold him like a baby and then smooch the bottoms of those little tuxie tootsies while he purrs away. I don’t think about where those feet have been. I just think about how ridiculously lucky I am to share my home with cats.
So, yeah, I get it. In the eyes of non-cat people, I’m a lunatic living in a house of horrors and any day, I’m liable to drop dead from choking on cat hair. But hey, in my world, there would be no better way to go.
Your turn: What do you think non-cat-lovers find horrifying about us feline aficionados? Tell us in the comments!
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About the Author: Amber Carlton is owned by two cats and two dogs (all rescues), and is affectionately (?) known as the crazy pet lady amongst her friends and family. She and her husband (the crazy pet man) live in colorful Colorado where they enjoy hiking, biking and camping. Amber is a freelance copywriter and blogger for hire and also acts as the typist and interpreter for her dog’s musings at Mayzie’s Dog Blog. She encourages other crazy pet people to connect with her at her business website, on Twitter or on Facebook.