My cat Agnes sometimes takes a while to warm up to new people. She’s very bonded to me and my roommate and tends to be suspicious of everyone else. There was a time when her life was pretty much the same every day — I was in a serious relationship and spent a lot of time watching Netflix in bed with my girlfriend, and Agnes would find a warm spot and hang out with us. But I’ve been a single lady for about a year now, and Agnes has been forced to tolerate the presence of several new people in her home.
Unlike Agnes, I have a tendency to fall for people fast. Some were around for a month or two, and some were around for what seemed like minutes. Agnes has had feelings about all of them. I wonder, should I trust Agnes’s intuition? If she obviously dislikes someone I bring home, should I listen to her and assume they are just no good? Maybe Agnes actually knows more about what I need than I do. Or maybe she just thinks some people smell funny.
One of the first times I brought someone new over to my apartment, Agnes seemed concerned. It was my third date with Taylor, and we sat on my couch drinking wine. Agnes lay in the middle of the floor, staring and monitoring the situation from a safe distance. Fortunately, Taylor was also a cat person and soon ended up on the floor, too, telling Agnes how beautiful she was. Agnes seemed like she was slowly being won over.
"Wait. Is it bad that I’m talking to your cat more than you? I’m sorry," Taylor said suddenly.
"Are you kidding?" I asked. Someone willing to woo my cat was exactly what I was looking for. I was smitten.
In spite of my crush and Taylor’s apparent crush on my cat, that situation went nowhere. But soon I met someone else who also loved cats as much as I did. On my first date with Lily, after several strong cocktails, I told her the story of how I had recently lost a kitten to a horrible disease. (Dead kittens are great first-date topics, by the way.) She told me how she had lost a kitten in high school, and we both cried at the bar. That had to mean we had some sort of connection, or we were both just very emotional drunks.
On our next date, I invited Lily over to my place. Agnes hissed at her when she walked in the door. She seemed anxious in her presence and would meow angrily at her feet. I assumed Agnes would warm up to Lily if they spent enough time together, but even though we dated for about two months, it never happened. In the back of my mind I wondered, did Agnes know something? And while I think Lily is great and we remain friends, maybe I should have trusted Agnes’s intuition immediately, because we absolutely were not right for each other.
Agnes was also wary of Lucy when I first brought her over, but Lucy was absolutely determined to become friends. She may have been too determined — Agnes doesn’t like to be aggressively pursued. Lucy would pick her up when she obviously didn’t want to be touched. I told her that she would fare better if she let Agnes come to her, and she eventually followed my advice. Over the span of a month, Agnes grew comfortable around her, though she was never exactly excited about her presence. While Agnes got more comfortable, I got less comfortable with the polyamorous situation I found myself involved in and I ended things. Agnes didn’t seem that heartbroken.
Recently I’ve started dating someone new, and just between me and you, I’m pretty into her. She’s hilarious and smart and I decided I liked her pretty much the moment I met her. The weird thing is, Agnes did the same thing. She may have eyed her a little funny as she walked in the door, but within an hour Agnes was climbing all over her lap. Maybe it’s just that this girl doesn’t have a cat of her own, so she doesn’t smell like strange cats. But maybe Agnes is trying to tell me something.
Does it mean something when your cat loves or hates your new love interest? Is it completely random, or are our cats looking out for us? I’m not sure why I assume Agnes might know more about dating than I do — maybe it’s because I feel like I know so little that even a cat could make better decisions. Or maybe cats are intuitive about things that people just aren’t. Until Agnes figures out how to talk, I’ll just have to guess. But I’m definitely hoping Agnes’ wholehearted approval of this new girl is a good sign.
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