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It’s Me, the Cat: Stella Devises Her Valentine List

Our interviewer explains the difference between affection and loving, say, a plate of food.

Michael Leaverton  |  Feb 8th 2016


Editor’s note: This story originally appeared in the March/April 2015 issue of Catster print magazine. Click here to subscribe to Catster magazine.

It’s common knowledge that cats don’t give out valentines. But why? Is it because of the stamps? Is it because envelopes are tricky? Or is it because of some deep, cat-like inability to properly express love — or even find a target for it?

I asked my cat, Stella, if she wanted to send out valentines this year.

Me: It’s almost Feb. 14, Stella! Is there anyone you’d like to send a valentine to?

Stella: What’s a valentine?

It’s a love note you send on Valentine’s Day.

Okay, let’s send one to the chickens.

What chickens?

I don’t know. The ones at the store. What’s that brand I love with the char marks?

"I love you, delicious little tree rat." Cats watch squirrel by Shutterstock

“I love you, delicious little tree rat.” Cats watch squirrel by Shutterstock

You want to send a valentine to Foster Farms?

Yeah, let’s do that.

You can’t do that.

But I love chickens.

You don’t send valentines to things you want to eat, Stella.

Well, how about those squirrels in the backyard? I don’t eat them.

Well, no … but you want to hunt them, don’t you?

Oh, I would love to.

You don’t send valentines to things you want to hunt, Stella.

But I said I would LOVE to hunt them. I’m all about LOVING to hunt them.

Not good enough for Valentine’s Day.

Sending valentines is hard work. Are you sure it’s worth it?

Frankly, I’m not sure anymore.

I know! I can send a valentine to the mail carrier.

But you hiss at him every time he comes near the house. It seems like you hate him.

It’s complicated.

"Hmm, I don't think YOU deserve a valentine." (Photo of Stella by Gina Cioli/i-5 Studios.)

“Hmm, I don’t think YOU deserve a valentine.” Photo of Stella by Gina Cioli/i-5 Studios

Okay, let’s send a valentine to the mail carrier.

Great. Tell him to stop coming near the house. Tell him I would LOVE it if I never saw him again.

Okay, let’s not send a valentine to the mail carrier.

It’s your call.

Surely there must be someone else you’d like to send one to? Someone who lives with you? Someone who comforts you? Hmm?

My cat bed!

Oh.

Tell my cat bed I love it but that in four days I’m going to suddenly decide that I hate it and will refuse to go anywhere near it for approximately four months, no matter where you move it or what treats you use to entice me to sleep there again.

Okay. That should be a great valentine.

It’ll have to do. Love is hard.

Anyone else? Maybe you’d like to give a valentine to the rug in the living room you always manage to throw up on?

Wow, can I?!

No.

Spoilsport.

Let’s recap. We’ve got a valentine going out to … your cat bed. Is that it?

Yep, that should cover it. Oh, and give yourself a valentine, too.

Aw, Stella, thanks. What should I write in it?

Just make something up. I’m running late for a nap.

About the author: Catster.com contributing editor Michael Leaverton has written a wide variety of articles in the last 10 years, very few of which after consulting with his cat. That ends here. Stella is a 10-year-old Bengal with a firm editorial grip on her handler, whom she rescued from an alt weekly in San Francisco many meals ago. She likes it when he writes about chicken. They currently live in San Diego.