I learned that I was getting a cat a few years ago when my then-boyfriend hurriedly texted me one afternoon.
Getting a cab. Can you pick up food and stuff?
Then, a correction.
Ugh! Not a cab! C A T.
Followed by this:
A cat! I’m getting us a cat! Yay!
Here’s the thing: I didn’t share the “yay.” I grew up with a glorious beast of a Rottweiler who was my baby. My limited interaction with cats convinced me that cats and I were too similar, and that cats hated me. I watched the thread of confusing texts roll in. A cat? I wished we were getting a cab.
So as I wandered around the pet store looking for “food and stuff” I thought of a trick I use with my nine-year-old nephew: “Buy Him Things Until He Loves Me.” Horrible parenting advice it may be, but I live across the country from him, and I plan to sink my sharp, Auntie Laura claws into his life as best I can. I adopted a similar attitude for my soon-to-be pet cat. I would attempt to bribe her into loving me. I eventually settled on a stuffed turtle — an overpriced, little turtle — and set home to meet my new daughter.
Looking back, it’s clear. I wish I had known not to be so anxious about my upcoming adoption. Surprise, surprise, my cat who I ended up loving and caring for didn’t hate me in return. And the stuffed turtle?
There are only a few things in my apartment that genuinely interest the cat, Katze, and not one of them is a damn turtle. Nor are they her laser pointer, her catnip ball, or her scratching post. Here are the things that interest Katze most.
Believe it or not, I picked these curtains out at a store. I didn’t fish them out of the garbage, and I spent a fair amount of money on them.
“These are so stupid,” I, a confident woman, said to myself inside a Macy’s when I saw them. “My cat would tear these to shreds in no time.”
And then …
“These are actually the same curtains that Gwyneth Paltrow has in her house,” an attractive salesperson whispered to me.
“Real-ly?” I, a sucker, asked.
Cut to three years later.
The curtains are so filled with Katze’s claw marks that I can see my outdoor recycling bins from inside my bedroom. I’m still not Gwenyth Paltrow. Weird.
If I ever go missing, just follow the path of bobby pins and hairbands that I trail behind me like I’m some narcissistic version of Hansel and Gretel. It’s annoying for my roommate, whom I assume would love to live in a place without half a salon on the floor, but great for Katze, who is obsessed with the hairbands in particular. I’m not sure whether it’s the buoyant texture of the elastic, the leftover smell of my hair, or some strange combination of the two — but absolutely nothing else in the house holds her attention like one of these bad boys. My poor roommate used to pick them up — but now we just let them live on the floor where they will be appreciated.
The cool thing about being a borderline hoarder is that your entire home is filled with potential. You might wonder why I keep a box of old papers in my closet, and I would in turn wonder why you’re an uncreative loser who hates turning expired bank statements into paper airplanes. One of my favorite Boxes of Crap contains fix-it type materials. I have a 7-inch decorative nail that will come in handy when any sort of blacksmith role-playing opportunity arises. I have a few rolls of colored wires that on their own probably aren’t long enough to do anything with — but together could potentially be used to create some sort of Slinky toy for mice. (I look forward to that.) Also in this box are about a half dozen rolls of tape. Duct tape? Check. Packing tape? Si. Need painters tape? Me neither. I’ve never painted a room in my life. But I sure have the tape for it!
Lots of tape adhesives are made with animal products, so it’s really no wonder that my little carnivore is attracted to it. But. Come On. If I try to remove a roll from Katze’s desperate paws, she whines as if I’m stealing her firstborn. I try to distract her with that turtle. But nothing doing.
Hardy har. Just kidding. She doesn’t care about me. To her, I’m a sofa — but an annoying sofa who sometimes shifts around and says things like, “Hey little lady, do you mind, you know, getting your butt out of my face?” Sure, I pay for her food, clean her litter box, and scratch her little, spotted ears, but if she had to pick between living with me or living with a roll of tape, I’m not too confident that I would come out on top.
What about you? What does your cat find fascinating?