"I’m sick of her meowing,” my husband said. “I’m sick of her wrecking stuff. I’m sick of her in general."
"I’m gonna quote you on that," I told him.
It’s the kind of conversation that happens so often it’s practically scripted, and ends predictably, with Ghost Cat curled up on my husband’s lap.
That’s how it works. He pretends not to love her, she annoys him (maybe on purpose), I step in, and then they snuggle. The relationship between my husband and Ghost Cat is a complicated game of emotions, and I am the referee.
Now, before people start thinking that I forced my husband to live with Ghost Cat, you should know that it was he who turned to me that fateful Saturday and suggested we head to the SPCA to finally pick our pet (if only after years of whining, pining and bargaining on my part).
He has been an active pet parent since day one. He has researched, tested and retrofitted kitty litter boxes. He plays with, walks and has even bathed Ghost Cat. My husband denies his affection for her, or qualifies it ("I only like her when she’s quiet and still," he says), but his actions contradict his silly denials. He loves our little Ghosty.
Sometimes, though, that adorable nickname isn’t what he calls her. Sometimes the names out of his mouth are less cute and more cursing. Especially when she seems to rebel against the automated living situation he’s worked so hard to arrange for her. She no longer has a fancy demand water feeder, because she would wait until I left for work and then knock it over, just to watch it glug out all over the floor. My husband would clean up the mess, while Ghost Cat cried for new water. To end this battle of wills I had to get her a new, less tippy water dish.
She also insists on knocking the food bowl out of her automatic feeder, so that her kibble spills straight onto the floor. The problem is, she won’t eat it off of the floor, so she cries until one of us puts it all back in the bowl so she can eat like a lady. My husband is from the tough love camp. He will leave that kibble on the floor just to teach Ghosty a lesson. I, however, am a big softy, and will always pick it at the first sad little meow.
Not all of Ghost Cat’s meows are demands for something. Sometimes, she’s just chatting to chat. She’s been especially vocal since we’ve moved into our new house. I totally get that, because I sing and chat to her pretty much all day long. My husband, on the other hand, does not appreciate the nuances of kitty cat conversation.
"You have water, you have food, we took you outside — what are you whining about?" he’ll ask her, frustrated.
"Meow," she’ll reply, as if to say, "Nothing."
My husband would say that their relationship is akin to Uncle Phil and Will from the Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Big Willie was known to irritate Uncle Phil and often drive him to rage, but when the chips were down, Uncle Phil was always there for Will and loved him like a son.
Nothing captures that for me quite like when my husband took me into a storage room in our new house and showed me the drawbridges he’d made for Ghost Cat, connecting shelving units so that she could climb and explore in her own private space. That’s why I don’t mind if my guy pretends to be at war with Ghost Cat; his actions proves she’s already won the battle for his heart.
Does anyone in your household deny their obvious cat love? Have you ever had a significant other who truly didn’t get along with your kitty? Tell us your story in the comments!
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