Saturday, June 6, 2009

I Own a Cat...

I have been warned repeatedly by my friends not to talk/write about my cat. This advice has surfaced often in conversations pertaining to first dates, facebook profiles and framed photos on my office desk.

However, this month’s Oprah magazine - devoted to humans’ love for animals – featured several articles about people talking about their pets. This included a brief article by senior editor and fellow cat owner, Jessica Winter, who owns a cat that looks and acts much like my darling Peaches.

So if Oprah and her senior editor can espouse their love for their pets, I feel I can buck the wisdom of my friends and take a moment to express my deep affection for my darling Peaches.

Especially since I am the most unlikely person to love a cat.

I grew up severely allergic to the two cats that took up residence in our home – both rescues that recognized my aversion to their place in my house and treated me accordingly. But my mom and sister loved them – and they needed good homes! - so really I had no choice. I blamed them for just about everything including my perpetual stuffy nose, the occasional smell of cat pee, and not being able to wear black.

I thought I would forever be “not a cat person” - until two summers ago – and three months to day that my ex-boyfriend moved out of my apartment - when a gorgeous little kitty began camping out in my apartment complex.

I was struck by her size – so small, but not a kitten – and her beauty: she is truly the prettiest cat I had ever seen. The entire apartment complex was taken with her and everyone tried to take her in. But she had a little issue getting along with other animals – she actually tried to attack them- and as the only non-pet owner, she obviously considered me her last hope for a good home.

She arrived at my porch, hungry and meowing, and being the over-nurturing person that I am, I fed her tuna – everyone needs to eat! – and wished her all the best at finding a home. But a couple nights later, feeling a little lonely, I left the door open and left our relationship to fate. Two minutes later she was sitting on my couch purring uncontrollably – and she’s been there ever since.

She hasn’t been the easiest cat to love – in addition to a fierce attitude, she has liver and heart conditions that require two daily medications and annual EKGs, she pees in the plants when she’s mad, and refuses to be held for more than a few seconds. But when I come home, she greets me at the door with a loud hello, sits with me while I eat dinner and brings a presence to my house that makes it feel like a home.

So although I sometimes wish that Peaches would conform to the traditional cat roles of curling up in my lap, playing nicely with other pets and sleeping for most of the day, I actually appreciate her more because she refuses to do so. She lives and loves in her own terms.

Which kind of reminds me of someone else I know... funny how animals seem to find owners of the same breed.


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