This is a question I’ve been asking myself a lot lately.
I’ve had a few pet cats and, until recently, was the proud ‘mother’ of two beautiful girls who – by my own admission – I spoiled rotten. For two years we enjoyed cat-selfie heaven in a house on the edge of the woods. They ate a luxury diet, roamed the great outdoors, slept in comfort and had more toys than most toddlers. And in demonstration of their gratitude they kept my lap warm, endured hours of pandering and baby talk, fetched me gifts and never scratched a single piece of furniture. They were the final stop on my journey to crazy-cat-lady-ville and the main reason I now receive feline gifts every birthday and Christmas.
When I moved house recently I was devastated to find myself at the mercy of flat rental boundaries and had no option but to say goodbye to my ‘babies’. I’m not ashamed to say I cried for a good hour when they went…but luckily they were adopted by a fellow crazy cat lady, who has given them a wonderful home and has been sending me regular updates to prove it!
The problem is…despite no longer owning any cats, I can’t seem to shake off some of my cat owner habits. I seek out the neighbourhood kitties, walking up and down the road making funny noises, waiting for them to gather around me like a feline Pied Piper. I’ve already picked out my favourites and memorised their preferred hiding places, and subconsciously I find my route home from work takes me past each and every one. A particularly friendly ginger tom now gets regular cuddles and I’m fairly certain his real owners are keeping watch out of the window in case I try to lure him back to my flat.
All I need now is a pocket full of cat treats and a paw print emblazoned jumper and I could find myself earning a local reputation…
Reading this you’d probably be surprised to learn that until five years ago I thought cats were tiny little devils with a strategy for world domination. Their slitted eyes looked at me with malevolence and cunning. I considered them supercilious and faithless, I didn’t like the way their fur moulted and every time I visited a cat-person’s house I sat in fear of imminent scratching. I just didn’t see the appeal.
Until one day, visiting the local rescue centre with a friend, I fell utterly and instantly in love with a little ball of white and black fluff. His name was Pusscat (not for long, I couldn’t stomach the name Pusscat) and he was a three-month old rejected member of a litter. The rest of the cats in the centre sat indifferent as I walked along the corridor, daring me to show any interest in their future happiness, but Pusscat positioned himself at the very front of his room, meowing an increasingly desperate call the closer I got before sticking his little paw through a gap when I reached him – as if he wanted to shake my hand. It’s rude not to accept a handshake, and I’m a sucker for politeness, so I obliged. He had gigantic eyes and tiny little legs and I immediately decided he was mine. A week later I picked him up and for eighteen months – before he was devastatingly run over by a car – he showed me that everything I’d ever assumed about cats was complete hooey.
I’ve loved cats ever since and if, in thirty years’ time, I find myself single and surrounded by a dozen of them…I think I’d be just fine! But for now I’ll just have to maintain my addiction by befriending other people’s pets. It may not make me a bona fide crazy cat lady, but perhaps it’ll do for now!