For a while I shared a psychic bond with a big fluffy orange cat named Hank. He was one of the neighbor’s cats, and I’d see him during my biannual trips to the Northern California city of Alameda (once in the summer and again in the winter, to stay with my then-boyfriend’s family). With large paws and a robust coat, Hank leisurely roamed the neighborhood, sauntering through open doors to make himself at home in anyone’s house.
During a walk with my then-boyfriend, he observed, “You know who I haven’t seen around much? Hank the cat.”
“Hank!” I called sweetly, “Come out, Hank!”
And from the bushes appeared the big tom, purring as he wrapped himself around my legs. I picked him up for a great, big hug, and then released him, my shirt covered in his luxurious fur. He meowed and followed us along the rest of our walk.
He must have been able to sense the five things about me that might mean I am a cat.
I’m from Southern California, the land of Eternally Perfect Weather. Since moving to San Francisco, I’ve had to learn to dress in layers for weather as unpredictable as my mood (more on this later). Lately I’ve found myself reminiscing about long hot days on the beach or driving around with all the windows open through the heart of Hollywood. I cry when my tan fades. I love the sunshine. I too would chase sun puddles as they drift across the room.
When the sun hasn’t shined in a few days I begin to …
Maybe it’s because I am the oldest of four kids, and we were all born within about 16 months of each other, but I grew up pitching fits to earn my parents’ very divided attention. Did I mention I have two sisters? And that we were all teenage girls at the same time? The screaming matches we had shook the walls of the hallway that divided our rooms. These days my bad moods are relegated to mild pouting, but I have been known to look someone in the eye as I knock baubles from her dresser, followed up by a dismissive yawn a la Teddy the jerk cat.
I’m just grumpy because …
My stomach is growling right now, and oh my cat, I think I am going to die. Imagine me throwing myself on the floor and meowing desperately because the food dish is empty. Guess what I’m thinking about? Food. Guess what I’d much rather be doing right now? Eating. Guess what my favorite sandwich is? Tuna salad. Feed me, feed me now.
When I’m not eating, there’s a good chance you might find me …
It’s a good thing that most cats can’t recognize their own reflections, because you can bet they’d park themselves in front of any mirrored surface if they could gaze upon their own magnificent beauty. They already spend hours licking every tuft of fur into immaculate perfection. Imagine if they could operate beauty tools. Cat scratchers and suede couches and your beautiful shabby chic dresser are all just giant, glorious emery boards in your cat’s eyes. It takes work to look this good, okay?
However, if you spot me at a bar and try to compliment me I will probably become …
“Do you ever pick up your phone?” friends ask me. No, of course not — my personal assistant screens all my calls and forwards your messages to me. Just kidding. I actually have an irrational fear of speaking on the phone. Which is no excuse for the days it sometimes takes me to answer text messages, emails, carrier pigeons, and handwritten letters. Don’t bother me, okay? Someone rearranged the living room furniture so I’m now going to hide under the bed for three days, so no, I will not pick up the phone. I give people a fake name when I meet them. Loud noises scare me. And I do not engage in hugs until I’ve known a person for at least six months to a year.
Oh no, is that rain I hear? This San Francisco weather. Time to hide under the bed again.
I was inspired to dress up like a cat for the sake of, uh, journalistic integrity by Angie Bailey, who tried sleeping like a cat to cure her insomnia, and while I might sometimes knock things off surfaces, at least I won’t push my friends down the stairs. Perhaps our new resident cat behaviorist, Marilyn Krieger, can help me overcome my skittishness.
In what ways do you act like a cat? Post pictures doing your best cat impression — bonus points for ears and makeup!