Not a cat person?
There are stereotypes that go along with being a writer and a (former) librarian. I’m supposed to read a lot (yes), I’m supposed to drink tea (yes), I'm supposed to wear glasses (yes), and I’m supposed to be a cat person.
We have a cat, but I’m not a cat person. I don’t like other people’s cats, but I’ve come to tolerate mine. I’m a reluctant cat owner. Not that I’m a dog person, either. I’m more of a “can it live in a glass box and breathe water” type of pet owner.
We got a kitten when my son was 6. Some how, this child always loved cats and my husband and I thought that a pet would be good for him. Some responsibility, something to love on. I did not want a rodent that would end up lost in a duct. We realized that we had neither the time nor inclination to train a dog. Or walk it when it was below zero in January. So, after making it very clear to my husband that I do not do litter boxes or cat vomit—but I would be in charge of vet appointments—we went to the shelter to pick out a kitten.
I thought I would never notice my son's cat. A cat would be aloof. I’d never have to see it until I had to hunt it down to take to the vet. It would live under my son’s bed and emerge for food. I'd have a pet without feeling like I had a pet! This was the plan.
Well. I was wrong.
My son picked this cat and named her Sprinkles---like what you top your ice cream with---and she is a dog in a cat's body. She does not hide in a dark corner all day long. She wants to be petted, she wants to play, and she wants to be held.
Sprinkles has lived with us for four years and she sleeps at the foot of my son's bed. If he camps out on the basement floor or falls asleep on a couch ... she is there. I mean, like, right there.
She will lie there for ever and let a 10 year old cuddle her. If he's having a bad day, she knows it! She butts her head against him, meows, and snuggles him. She'll lie down at our feet or follow us around the house. At dinner time, she runs up to sit on a chair at the table. She knows when the school bus is about to drop off my son and she sits by the door to wait for him. She must be around someone at all times. And that includes me. The one who was ambivalent about her.
About a month after we got Sprinkles, I started coughing. I had a runny nose that never went away. Yeah. You can guess the rest. It turns out I'm allergic to cats!
By then, my son was attached to this creature. He LOVES this cat. And she loves him. Adores him. Giving her back to the shelter was not an option. So, she can't come into my bedroom... and we had to buy industrial air purifiers for the house!
So, I have a creature in my house who MUST be near me at all times, and who also makes me ill if the power goes out. If I sit, she wants to be in my lap. If my son isn't home, she will follow me and sit or sleep nearby. And if I leave my office and spread out notes to work on the dining room table ... Sprinkles is there.
Usually, I don't mind my first critique partner's company. This little creature just wants to be loved. If I dangle a stick with a ball and a feather, she's over the moon. If I pet her, she tilts up her head and purrs.
Maybe I am a cat person. But I'm only a cat person about this cat.
I just wish she wouldn't sit on my papers and hunt my pen when I'm trying to write.