My cat, who is named Fang, is fat and round, neurotic, a little retarded, cuddly and dog-like. My cat Fang is the greatest of all cats. He is the platonic ideal of cats, and without him I would never get any work done because he sits and supervises very carefully and puts his paw in my face if he senses I am slacking off, or if he wants to put his paw in my face.
I lucked out in the cat lottery, and because of that I am not afraid to sing the praises of my sweet little man, to acknowledge that I am a Cat Person, possibly verging on Crazy and Lady, if I’m going to be honest with you. I am crazy—about my cat (see what I did there?), to the point where I will talk about him on the internet without shame, and I will tell you also that he worries me.
He is not independent and brave and strong; he does not prefer the solitude of his own company and greet me as a tolerated interloper when I return. In fact, he gets very lonely, my sweet cat. He yells a lot. He tells me how sad he was and begs me never to leave again. He is a tragic figure, all big yellow eyes and sad round head. And then he grooms my nose until it is red and raw and I don’t know if I am being loved hard or punished roundly.
For the longest time I thought that the solution would be to get him a friend. I don’t want my fat little buddy to be lonely without me—I want him to be happy and fulfilled and Captain Purrs Contentedly of the Happiness and Tuna Brigade. Since his preferred solution is off the table—sometimes I need to shower and experience unfiltered daylight under the sky—I thought mine was a reasonable compromise. A kitten! A little pal who is fun to be with! Someone he can teach and mentor and love and cherish and cuddle and boss around and talk to! Someone to keep him occupied and alert and active! I am a genius.
Somehow I never got around to getting a kitten, because it involves a lot of planning and responsibility and an upturning of established routines and it is kind of expensive, a kitten. And what if I got a kitten and they didn’t get along? That is what stopped me from snatching up and hosing down the stray that appeared next to E’s house last year. What if it was a really bad idea? You’re not going to believe this, but sometimes I have really bad ideas.
When Jayrad asked if I could babysit his friend’s kitten while he went away on a romantic mountain biking weekend with his buddy, I said okay! Because I am a good person who likes to help, and because I thought trial kitten! A kitten trial! Fang is going to be so excited!
Fang was the least excited I have ever seen him. Fang was, in fact, the unhappiest cat you’ve ever seen. From the moment tiny, beautiful little Zoe the Glamour Cat entered his life, he considered it entirely over. He paced the length of the apartment mowing. Mow, mow, mow, mow, mow mow. I am unhappy. I am still unhappy. I CONTINUE TO BE UNHAPPY WHAT IS THIS TINY ORANGE THING I CANNOT EAT I AM UNHAPPY.
Zoe was unconcerned. Zoe was a tiny sweet kitten who rolled over and exposed her belly for love at the slightest opportunity. Zoe was made of love and cuteness. Zoe wanted to be your friend and my friend, Fang’s friend and the couch’s friend and the friend to everyone everywhere. Zoe was a Love Cat and Fang was unimpressed, and something inside me did not care because HOLY CRAP KITTEN.
Kittens are cute, you guys. They have big eyes and tiny paws and you want to eat them on a stick. They bounce! They play! They are in love with the world, and you, viewing the world through their big, wide eyes, fall in love with it all over again! Suddenly I understand May-December romance, and am ashamed.
I returned Zoecakes to her rightful owner last night, and Fang is as happy as if the Kitten Interlude had never happened. He is lying on my forearm as I type, making it difficult to hit the shift key. He will soon roll over and put his feet in my face, and then fall backwards, recover ungracefully and groom my nose studiously and with great concentration. We will neither of us discuss the kitten, because it is better that way. And also he doesn’t remember five minutes ago, let alone last evening.