If you’re dating me, you’re basically dating my kitty, Cleo, as well. You’d better love (or at least tolerate) cats, not be allergic (or pop Benadryl), and brace yourself for cute cat pics and anecdotes galore. So what would happen if I maxed out the crazy cat lady factor in my Match.com profile? I found out — and even found a cat-loving boyfriend.
I pumped my Match profile fields full of cat references like it was a feline version of Lance Armstrong’s biceps. Some guys were intrigued, others never responded to my enthusiastic questions about their own cat-ified profiles. I ended up with three good prospects.
For my first date with Sam, an English professor currently working on his dissertation, I did some cat-eye makeup, put on my cat cameo necklace, and smacked on some flamingo-pink lip stain (hey, they don’t make cat-colored lipstick … yet). I was lookin’ GOOOOD. I got to my favorite bar and realized he wasn’t as cute as I’d expected, so I immediately felt the Hot Person Advantage.
Sam seemed friendly and charming until he insisted I wasn’t enough of a crazy cat lady. WTF? I pointed out cat-eye makeup and necklace and protested that my clothes were covered in a thin film of cat hair, but he wasn’t buying it. (Maybe I should’ve shown him all the cat pictures on my phone?)
Apparently a cat-lady connoisseur, Sam professed his preference for cat women over dog ladies. “You can’t be as spontaneous with a dog woman," he explained. "You know she’s gonna have to go home at 9 p.m. and walk it. You can’t just have fun and see where the night takes you." Into your bed, I added mentally, wondering how many cat ladies Sam had bedded.
"What’s best is cats that act like dogs, you know?" he continued. "They’re excited to see you when you get home. Some cats don’t even care if you’re there.” I agreed, asserting honestly that MY cat is the preferred friendly, dog-like cat that greets me loudly upon my arrival.
We talked for three hours, with him memorably uttering the line “herpes biscotti,” which made me laugh til I got teary. He seemed smart and unusually self-aware for a 31-year-old guy, and his social skills were off the chain. But he seemed to only tolerate, not love, cats (he never asked my cat’s name or wanted to see a photo, for instance).
I felt pretty sick and almost canceled on Henry, but I bucked up, smudged on a teal cat-eye, and head out to meet him. He was 6’3″ and skinny with dark hair and glasses — so on the surface, my soulmate. But his admitted ADHD was the kiss of death: He talked NONSTOP. I manage to squeeze in a few questions about cats after hearing all about his call center job and the tiny flying marsupials he kept in his hoodie pocket in high school.
Turns out Henry had several cats in his day, including a blue Russian that had been shot with a .22 (the vet pulled the bullet out of her). He mentions a friend who’s a crazy cat lady and asks if I sing to my cat. “Do I sing to my cat?” I mused out loud. “I guess, if I have to drive her to the vet and I want to calm her down, you know?”
“Well, Cassie will sing to her cat about everything, like, ‘Now I’m gonna feed you some FOOD,'” he crooned, “and she always wiggles her butt while she does it.” I’m not sure if he means the friend or the cat. “Cats LOVE my feet,” he continued. “They just like to smell my shoes and roll around with their nose in ’em.”
“Oh really?” I asked. “What do your feet smell like?”
“I don’t know, but they smell BAD,” he answered.
I met Dean IRL and had gone on a few dates with him during my Match.com experiment. He was a professed cat fan and dog hater, so obviously I approved. The first time he came over to my place, he stretched out his long, tan, bicyclist legs on my coffee table as we watched a movie, and Cleo curled right up on his calves. Aw!
So I thought she approved — until the night things progressed into the bedroom, and she meowed loudly and insistently while we were getting it on. What’s wrong? I wondered. Was she expressing her disapproval? Concerned about the strange noises coming from my bed? Just feeling neglected? No idea.
So a few weeks later, I didn’t expect things to be any different. Dean came over and made me stir-fry, and we vegged out in front of some Netflix. When we headed to the bedroom, I drowsily wondered if Cleo would sound her alarm again … but she didn’t! Lying next to Dean later, he asked nervously, “So what do you think about trying the whole ‘girlfriend’ thing?” It was irresistibly endearing. I said yes. And Cleo seems not to mind too much.
*Names have been changed.
About the author: Holly is a freelance writer who loves cats, words, and glitter. She lives in Portland, Oregon, with her cat, Cleocatra, and writes at hollyrichmond.com. Find her on Twitter: @hrichmofo.
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