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Must love cats

A few nights ago, I broke my pledge to not go on a date for the rest of 2008 (after a particularly dispiriting dating experience in January). Don’t know why, but I decided to accept an invitation for drinks and so on the night of the full Harvest moon, I took the dating plunge once again. Since I’m in the process of loading all my previously published columns online, it seemed as good a time as any to load this column about a date I had in September 2006.
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“You’re not one of those crazy cat ladies, are you?” Oh, great. A first date, and he’s already got me pegged as a cat-carrying member of the dreaded single-woman-with-cats cartel. He’s waiting for a reply; a smirk on his face and a forkful of pasta Bolognese paused on a one-way trip to his mouth. I take a sip of wine and think.

Granted, I have not just one, but two cats.

And, to be fair, I had just finished regaling my dinner companion with a humorous but possibly over-long story about my two cats, Einstein and Coco. I had described how that morning at 5 a.m., I had to push Coco off the pillow next to me so I could use it to cover my ears in a vain attempt to muffle the incessant mewing of Einstein, whose caterwauling for breakfast had crescendoed to a megawatt meow-fest.

Hmmm. Two cats, hogging the pillows, waking me up at ungodly hours. It does sound a bit deranged.

I start to answer, “No, not really crazy ….”

“That’s good,” he interrupts, as his fork finishes its travels, “‘Cause that would have had me worried.” “Cats,” he says between chews, “they’re not like dogs, you know.”

Well, duh.

I figure it’s time to let the fur fly.

“Oh, well, I’m perfectly sane,” I say, all wide-eyed innocence, “that is, unless you think it’s crazy that I talk to them?”

My date blinks at me from across the table. He stops chewing. “Talk to them?” he parrots.

I nod my head. “Mostly in French, of course,” I explain, pausing, before delivering the coup de crazy with a sweet smile: “They’re bilingual.”

His eyebrows arch so high up on his forehead it looks like his hairline has returned. He slowly resumes chewing but I can almost hear him thinking, “She probably thinks they answer her too.”

The truth is I am kind of a crazy cat chick, but not the kind he’s worried about.

It’s not like I’m going to ask for a kitty-bag when we leave. Or meow at the moon on the way home. Or maybe he’s afraid I’ll hiss and scratch if he gets too close?

I just happen to think a woman can learn a lot about life, and relationships, from the study of feline philosophy.

Cats know what’s really important in life: Sleep. Gobs and gobs of sleep, except when the human you let live with you is bone-tired. Then, of course, cats know it’s critical to the continuation of cat-kind that they be fed right then and there, no matter that it’s 3:30 a.m.

Racing through the living room like your tail’s on fire, lying down fetchingly across the newspaper your housemate is trying to read, walking back and forth in front of the computer monitor when the person who pays the bills is on deadline.

All essential behaviors for nine lives well-lived.

And cats are patient judges of character. They’re not unfriendly; they just won’t curl up next to someone until they’ve got that person figured out.

Sitting still as statues, giving you the hard stare, cats are busily assessing character: Is this someone who will patiently clean up the fur balls I conveniently leave in the path of bare feet? Is this someone who will slip me a little catnip when I’m feeling mousy?

Eyes half-closed, tails twitching languorously back and forth, cats are internally debating fundamental questions of existence: Is this someone who will leave me alone when I’m cranky, and scratch my ears nonstop when I’m not? Is this someone who will never, ever ask me to act like a dog when he knows damn well I’m a cat?

As my date signals for the check, I’m pretty sure he won’t be calling again. Maybe he’s right. Maybe I am a little cat crazy. And maybe that’s not such a bad thing.

After all, cats are wicked independent and self-reliant. They can catch their own mice for dinner and land on their feet after a fall. And besides, maybe I can learn something from their secret felinosophy, which boils down to these simple words:

Treat yourself like you’re the cat’s meow, and the rest of the world will too.

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Posted on November 16th, 2008Comments RSS Feed
4 Responses to Must love cats
  1. Remember MC..Just say NO to Perkins…… While a great guy he has 3 dogs …………did you say you did not date FUR 10 months??????Capt.ask her out for real and treat her with respect…..Cat got your tongue??????:-)

    Reply
  2. Meow.. (translation: I like my belly scratched)

    Reply
  3. Oye Vei..translation..Oye Vei

    Reply
  4. […] some time ago in a print column — you can scan the snippets below or read the piece here: Must Love Cats. Einstein … thinking up her sequel to the theory of feline relativity. Coco at the keyboard … I […]

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