Back in September 2008, I began developing a theory:
After Satan took the form of a serpent in the Garden of Eden and blew his cover, he needed a new, less conspicuous animal vessel and decided on cats. Have you ever noticed that both venomous snakes and cats have vertical pupils? I’m just saying.
While I was bringing my parents’ cat Max out of the rain, he bit me and gave me an aggressive infection called Bartonella. This theory seemed especially plausible when I was released from the hospital after spending two nights hooked up to an antibiotic drip. My medical bills cost my parents in the ballpark of $3000, and I felt justified in writing a post about why I hate cats.
Has Max repented of his wicked ways?
Of course not. He’s a cat. He has no conscience or moral grounding. He enjoys evil because it isn’t evil to him. He practices no restraint than children eating candy on Halloween. If my parents don’t let him out of the house the very instant his tiny Cat Will determines to be outside, he claws the closest bare patch of flesh.
My parents had to find some way to subdue the monster, so they filled an empty Windex bottle with water and labeled it “Max’s Refreshment.” If he is acting like his normal, capricious self, he gets sprayed in the face.
In my first piece for modern ink mag, “I’m Not a Pet Lover,” I recounted a few of Max’s ambushes and senseless violence and made an important realization: if Max were a person, his rap sheet would be several pages long. He would be a convicted felon behind bars.
Some people swear by cats: Cats don’t require walks; they do their business in a litter box. If the owners leave for a weekend, they can leave out food and water for the cat, and it will take care of itself. Dogs need either a sitter or boarding.
Cats also tend to be cleaner than dogs. They have that endearing quality of licking themselves and regurgitating hairballs, and, as a general rule, they shed less. They expect no entertainment and stare out the window all day like widows. Okay, bad simile.
On the other hand, cats have the emotional volatility of a 7th grade girl. They love you, or they hate you. They can’t live without you, or they’ll draw blood with the slightest provocation. Every cat on earth is a murderer to the core, to the tip of every whisker.
Dogs just want your attention and affection. Though I have no personal experience with beating a dog, I know this much to be true: you can kick a dog, and it will still love you forever. It will creep back over to the perpetrator with its tail between its legs, lick his hand, and say with wet eyes full of sadness, “I forgive you.”
Make amends with a few good scratchings and ball throwings, and the dog will forget his owner’s cruelty altogether.
Cats don’t forget; they wait. They bide their time, and when the moment is right, they strike with furious fang and claw.
Most dogs respond when you call their names. They make eye contact. Cats usually ignore you, but if they do deign to glance in your direction, their haughty look says: “Oh, it’s you. The help. More salmon please.”
Dogs look at everything and say, “Thank you!” Cats look at everything say, “Mine.”
I have been a proud and outspoken advocate of feline scarcity for so long that what I’m about to say may shock you:
On Tuesday, I got Megan a kitten.
She helped with the hair and styling for a modern ink photo shoot on Monday, and a woman in another office in the same building had two kittens which had been found on a farm. Megan sent me pictures and left a voicemail.
The message was clear: I want a kitty.
Now, you should understand something about my wife. Every cat is a kitty. Every dog is a puppy, and every child is a baby. I might look at a cat with three legs and one eye missing and think, “Ouch!” She would think, “Ooh! Kitty!”
I have been staunchly anti-pet since we got married. We have done quite a bit of traveling, and I didn’t want the extra hassle of finding someone to take care of our animals—not to mention that pets get injured and sick the same way as humans. I didn’t want to find myself in the position of paying thousands of dollars for a desperate surgery to save Fluffy’s liver and try to keep my wife happy.
Can you tell I’m a grouch sometimes?
Megan wanted this kitten with tabby markings and an M on its forehead. It had a white chest, paws, and belly. It was soooooo cute. Could we have it, please?
We’re thinking about buying the house where we’re living, which our friends own, and with the housing situation still up in the air, I didn’t like the prospect of trying to find an apartment if the house didn’t work out and limiting our choices with a animal in tow.
I meet regularly with a group of men to pray, and on Monday night, we got on the subject of making sacrifices. Apparently, sacrifice is what marriage is all about. Go figure. My friend Travis pointed out that sacrifice might take the form of a kitten for me.
Thanks for nothing, Travis.
Would a sacrifice in the form of a kitten make my wife happy? Yes. Very.
The next morning, I sneaked over to the building where the shoot took place and inquired about the kitten. Of course it was still available. There’s never a lack of disgustingly cute kittens.
Megan had told me that the cat had already been dewormed, and I must admit that was a major selling point for this particular kitten: low initial buy-in. However, when Laura from the animal rescue center showed up with the kitten, she informed me that the little bundle of joy would need two more rounds of deworming shots.
And vaccinations in two weeks.
And the kitten had been having diarrhea so a high-fiber diet of soft food out of cans would be ideal.
We put the kitten in a empty copy paper box, and I took the rascal home.
He smelled like a horse barn, so I gave him a bath.
You can watch the video to see how I surprised Megan.
Meet Hemingway. Potty training is still in process.
You know you’re married when you watch an kitten have a bowel movement and go tell your wife about it. I did refuse to put the Petsmart “PetPerks” loyalty card on my keychain though. A man must have his principles.