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Day 4 – How To Learn To Love Cats…

Not everyone is a cat person.  I know because I’m not really one myself.  We always had dogs growing up and I loved them a ton.  So when I moved out on my own in my last couple years of college, I really missed having an animal in the house.  There’s just something about having that little face that is so happy to see you when you get home.  So off I went to adopt a new fur ball.  My first kitty’s name is Rio, after the Duran Duran song that was playing in the car on the first ride home with her, and a couple years later, I adopted another baby in order for Rio to have some company and named him Simba (although my brother in law insists on calling him De Janeiro as in Rio De Janeiro, he things he’s funny).  They generally get along, although Rio I think just barely tolerates Simba’s presence as he tries to be her best friend in the whole world.  I swear if he could sing, he would sound like Alan from The Hangover and be singing “We’re the two best friends that anyone ever had”…

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Do I love my two cats?  Yes, with all my heart.  Will I get more cats after these two take a trip over the rainbow bridge?  Fuck no.  However, I have learned a lot about these quirky beings in my 10 or so years of owning them that may help you learn to love this crazy feline species…

  1. Recognize that they are not dogs –  I think one of the biggest mistakes some people make is thinking that a cat will be like having a dog.  It’s a whole other world completely.  Dogs love you because you are there.  They love you because you feed them and play with them and have a ball and wore a blue shirt.  You don’t realize how stupid dogs are until you have a cat.  I love dogs, I can’t wait to get one.  But in comparison to cats, they are the beauty queens at a Mensa conference.  Cats are smart and require their owners to be able to tolerate that.  They will not just love you because you are there.  You have to work for it.
  2. Accept that they love on their terms and in their own time –  What this really means is that while you were hoping for cute little head buts like you see in those cat food commercials or warm cuddles on the couch, they have now decided that they are going to sleep on your face at night.  I can’t tell you how many times it took me to throw the cat, that I woke up basically wearing as a hat ,off the bed before he started to get that I was not going to allow him equal rights to my pillow.  It’s times like these that you will want to kill them.  However, on the heels of those moments, there are these little moments when they curl up next to you and gently paw your hand or rub their noses against your cheek that make you forget that they were trying to suffocate you an hour ago.  When a cat is showing you they love you, it’s special.
  3. Come to terms with the fact that they are not always nice –  I’m putting it right out there.  Cats are complete assholes.  If you want a calm night with them quietly cuddling next to you on the couch, they will decide that instead, there is some kind of diabolical plotting monster under the blanket that must be destroyed.  In all reality, it’s your foot or leg, which now has puncture marks welling up all over it.  A flight of stairs becomes a death trap, and god forbid you have not fed them when they have half empty bowls…they are convinced you are trying to starve them out and will meow until the situation is rectified.  They also like to tip over drinks in order to taste test your beverage choice and will lick the condensation off a cold glass of anything.  You must move beyond these things.  They are just the way it is, and cats will not change.  They also don’t give a shit that you think they are assholes.  They actually prefer it that way.
  4. Learn to get to know them. –  They really do have their own personalities.  My two cats are completely different.  Rio is aloof and caring and very perceptive.  She senses if things are wrong and will come over to be with you if you are having a bad day, but doesn’t always allow cuddling.  Also, as much as she pretends to hate Simba, she worries about him when he goes outside in the yard, just like a normal brother/sister relationship!  20140726_082528Simba is a big oaf, 25 lbs to be exact.  I’m convinced he thinks he is a dog and he just constantly wants attention, and petting, and love.  Hence the sleeping on my face thing.  He just wants to be where you are.  20140806_072728It really blows the cliche that cats are all the same out of the water.
  5. Eventually acknowledge that they are worth it –  Even though I want to kill them sometimes, and I think they are trying to kill ME at other times, I would never take back deciding to get these two fur balls.  Having them around is such great company, you talk to them, you learn their little quirks, you find out what they like and even get to know their little facial expressions.  In return, they keep your feet warm at night, gently lower your blood pressure with their quiet purring and show you just how special it is to own a pet.

Cats may not play fetch, lick your face, or take long walks with you, but they are great companions and will challenge you and love you just as much as their slobbery counterparts.  So if you are on the fence about felines, take a little leap of faith and make them a part of your family.  You’ll be glad you did, and so will they, even though they might try to show it by weaving in and out of your feet while you climb the basement stairs…

 

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