On this blog, Sir Winston Purrchill has been variously described as a traitor, a spoiled brat and an unkillable demon. He is a mauler of extremities. He’s clearly on a mission to spread an even layer of litter — fresh or otherwise — throughout the house. His favorite hobby is staring you dead in the eye while you’re trying to pee.
For some reason, I like him anyway. Maybe it’s the midnight face smooches. Maybe it’s the perpetually annoyed expression. Whatever it is, he’s got me wrapped around his little… foot pad. I was even late for work this morning because he was feeling cuddly and I didn’t have it in me to dump him on the floor.
I love that furry little guy — he’s changed me. I’m just not totally sure it’s for the better. Ever since becoming a cat owner, I’ve noticed myself getting progressively crazier.
Things I Can No Longer Do Since Meeting Winston
- Read anything online pertaining to animals. When I was 9 or 10, I came out of a two-day crying jag caused by “Where the Red Fern Grows” and swore on Old Dan’s soul that I would never, ever read another book or see another movie about animals again. Since owning Winston, I’ve had to be very careful online, too. I’ve blocked three of my older female Facebook friends for sharing Hallmarky, cornball posts about the last days of pets that probably never existed. Last week, BuzzFeed tricked me with a list of famous authors who loved cats. I thought it was going to be cute. Oh no. Almost all the entries include heart-wrenching things they wrote after their favorite cats died that will haunt me in the dead of night. UGH. FEELINGS.
- Eat meat without overthinking it. I come from a family of carnivores. Both of my grandfathers raised cattle. We’re a meat-eating people and there’s no getting away from it. But since I’ve started hanging out with an animal, I’m getting all conflicted about hamburgers. Gone are the days I could pretend that steaks are grown in labs and that chicken nuggets are collected from beneath nugget trees during the harvest. I’m starting to ask uncomfortable questions about where meat came from, and how the livestock was treated beforehand. The whole time I’m looking guiltily at my turkey sandwich, Winston is mercilessly eating entire families of bugs and slurping up beef shreds without a care in the world.
- Exist without overthinking it. Feeling conflicted about meat makes perfect sense. But as soon as I started thinking about livestock’s feelings, I started thinking about the feelings of things that most sane people agree probably have no feelings. This afternoon, I got teary-eyed when I saw a butterfly because I realized that a totally different butterfly I saw in early June was likely dead. This maudlin crap is becoming run-of-the-mill. I ate a potato last week and thought, How sure are scientists that plants don’t have feelings? As if science had anything to do with it. Do potatoes have souls? At this rate I’m going to starve to death.
Things I Can Do Too Well Since Meeting Winston
- Get totally wrapped up in crazy New Agey feelings about the interconnectivity of organisms and the universe.
- Watch endless cat videos and gifs online. Last spring I found a gif that had me in inexplicable tears at work. No one else thought it was funny. I still watch it sometimes.
- Fly into fits of rage when thinking about animal abuse. It doesn’t even have to be real animal abuse. I read “Anna Karenina” this summer and Vronsky permanently lost all my sympathy during the horse-racing scene. Go ahead and ruin Anna’s life, but know this: Frou Frou was too good for you, scumbag.
- Convince myself that adopting all the cats is a really good idea. I read about a shelter in Marin County where someone has been anonymously dropping off two dozen tuxedo cats at a time. The shelter has more than 100 cats now. My house is about a thousand square feet. I’m not good at math, but I see this working out. I am partial to those little tuxedos.
- Talk myself into buying prints of Winston in a space suit. Last year I would have looked at this website and thought, “Wow. What kind of crazy person would spend that much money on such a stupid first-world purchase?” This year, I looked at it and thought, “Yes please I need this how much!!!!!!”
- “Joke” about being a crazy cat lady. I keep laughing about how I’m going to take Winston into Sears for a family portrait. One of those shots where I’m wearing a turtleneck sweater and holding him too closely, and above us there’s another, semi-transparent picture of his head in profile. I’m laughing, but it’s like, “Ha ha I should totally do that ha ha ha I AM GOING TO DO THAT. TRY AND STOP ME.”
My parents are both veterinarians and I’ve seen people who are too invested in their pets. I’ve pitied those people. I know that this is not the way my brain should be. I know I’m nuts. I really am going to start reigning it in before I freak everybody out.
But for now, I am going to Google driving directions to Marin County. They’re waiving adoption fees, people!