"My Dad is Not a Cat Guy"
Last week, we talked about "Cat Guys" -- because a New York Times column suggested that straight single men were now increasingly unashamed of proclaiming their love for cats. The jury's still out on the validity of that claim, but what seems to hold true is that when Cat Grrls hook up with "I am not a cat person" guys, the men (selected for their natural gentleness, compassion and respect for living things) become Cat Guys, all the while protesting that they're not. I asked for readers to submit some "Cat Guy" stories and boy, did you deliver!
The first one was from Trisha. Although she's married to a Cat Guy, the subjects of her story are her father and Annie, the feline who insinuated herself into his life:
My dad is "not a cat guy." I had Annie, a feral stray that found us, since I was 11. My dad objected to her in the beginning -- well really the whole time -- but at first he said she could sleep in the garage when it was cold, but definitely not in the house. Well, my mom would sneak her into my room at night until she pretty much just lived with us and my dad didn't understand how it happened.
Annie took to my dad for some reason and couldn't wait to go out with him on Saturdays and work on the cars; she'd hang out underneath with him, sit in the flowerbeds as he washed them - it was her favorite time and he enjoyed it too. On the nights when she didn't want to come home and my mom and I calling for her fell on deaf ears - all my dad had to do was give one "here kitty-kitty-kitty-kitty" and sure enough, she'd come running to him.
As Annie got older, he would of course complain to my mother and I about how much trouble she was, while he would fuss over making sure she got her outside time, get up endlessly to let her in and out and sit gently next to her on the couch to watch TV. If she happened to be in his spot, then he'd find another place to sit - something I never even got. It taught me a lot in life about what to look for in a guy because a guy who doesn't like animals and doesn't treat them well, probably won't respect me much more than that. My husband adores our cats and would go to the ends of the Earth for them, probably even more so than I and they are my fur children.
Annie is being euthanized today, as she can't really walk or take care of herself anymore it was my dad who fought for the mobile vet to come out because Annie hates being in a car and her last moments with them shouldn't be spent in a car. As much as he says he'd be relieved to let her go and not have to take care of her I bet he'll miss her even more and might even leave his warm spot on the couch open for a few days.
My dad called me to say that he's never getting another cat after Annie because he's just not a cat person and while he liked Annie and would always take good care of her, he was just not that attached to her. I reminded him about how she was his buddy, and she trusted him and just always adored him.
He then went home to meet the vet who came to the house to help Annie to the bridge. My mom called me when she was gone and told me that she couldn't bear to be with them when it happened, so she left it to my dad. She said that the vet told her my dad held Annie in his arms and stroked her to sleep as she drifted away. He even teared up - this from a man who didn't shed a single tear when his mother died, prompting my mother to warn him that if he didn't cry at least one tear when she died she would haunt him forever.
When they put her in the box to bury her in her favorite spot in the sun, my father said they should write something on the box and when my mom asked what, he replied "We love you always Annie." Sounds exactly like something someone who is not attached would say, doesn't it?