When I was young, I was never that kid who ran up to cats in my neighborhood and said, “Awww, look at the cute little kitty!” I was often friends with those kids, though, and would just hang back, waiting patiently for their “oohs” and “ahhs” to subside so we could go about playing.
As a child, I also cat-sat for my neighbors’ calico, Tasha, while they were away on vacation. Even that experience didn’t spur a love of cats. I’d simply fill her food and water dish and sink down into their comfy recliner, glancing up at Tasha between pages in my book. Tasha would stare back at me with her piercing green eyes. Frankly, I thought she was pretty creepy. Definitely no signs of becoming a future cat lover. I didn’t hate them — I was just indifferent!
A few years later, when my brother and I started to beg my parents for a pet, I’d only consider dogs. Granted, I knew my mom was allergic to cats, but the thought of an adorable little kitten didn’t even enter my mind. A dog seemed like the only logical choice. Given the circumstances, we got a dog, albeit a wonderful Beagle named Ginger, but once again my future love of cats was delayed.
It wasn’t until a few years ago when I wanted to adopt my own pet that a great friend of mine suggested a cat, and I actually began to consider it. The moment I saw Tulip in the shelter, I knew she’d be mine forever, feline traits and all.
It didn’t take long to fall in love with her and begin what I’d like to call my cat-conversion process. Are you cat convert, too? Look for the signs:
My next door neighbor has a Beagle, who he likes to leave out on the deck. Great, he’s getting fresh air and sunshine! However, this Vitamin D-blessed Beagle chooses to bark at 5 a.m. daily, as well as late into the evening.
This infuriates me, yet if Tulip comes into my room to ask for food early, I simply roll over and drag myself out of bed, blindly pouring her food into her dish while petting her simultaneously. Yes, I may be slightly annoyed, but the barking just seems so much more obnoxious than a few meek hunger meows.
You know what I’m talking about: the witty bumper stickers, T-shirts, mugs with your cat’s face on them, etc. I didn’t think I’d ever become one of “those people.” It seemed just a little too cheesy, a little too “cat lady.”
However, I am now the proud owner of a lovely magnet that says “Cattitude,” a T-shirt that reads “Proud Cat Lady,” and assorted figurines. I also may have purchased my friend a mug with her cat’s photo on it, and I may be debating the purchase of one for Tulip. But come on, it’s almost her third birthday!
I used to do everything in my power to avoid being coined a cat person. Yes, I do realize writing for a cat magazine may not have been the wisest way to avoid that. But I would always think, “I only have one cat! I’m not a cat person!” or “I like dogs, too, so I’m not really a cat person.”
Guess what? Regardless of the aforementioned, I’m a cat person. Now I see a cat, I talk to it. I see a cat, I pet it. I see a cat, I love it. Cat person. And, frankly, I don’t care! If someone deems me a cat person, now I just smile and nod.
Cat litter is pretty repulsive. There’s no getting around its dusty, sticky, clumpy nastiness. However, I think my nose has developed an adaptation, which allows me to clean litter boxes quickly and without issue. I feel like I don’t even smell it half the time. It’s gross when I find litter on the floor, but I just sigh, pick it up, and throw it in the garbage.
I do still occasionally think about how Tulip walks in her own feces and then sleeps in my bed, but for some reason, it just doesn’t bother me all that much.
Over the three years I’ve had Tulip, she’s met a variety of dogs. Some she’s meshed really well with, such as my family’s Beagle, Gadget. She’ll curl up with him on the couch and nap for hours. Others, she has cowered from in fear or purposely tried to annoy to the best of her ability. I still do love dogs and want one someday, but I am legitimately concerned about finding the perfect dog match for my cat.
If three or more of the preceding five statements apply to you, I think you have to seriously consider the prospect that you may be a cat convert. Don’t be ashamed. I’m one, too!
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About the author: Kate E. Lyle is a teacher by day, fitness enthusiast by night, and is forever trying to catch up on the ever-growing stack of books on her nightstand. Her precious cat, Tulip, can be found curled up next to her as she sips Pinot and scours the internet for the next travel adventure she can’t afford. A New England native, Kate is a proud cat connoisseur of Connecticut.