The dear hearts out there who know me know that I definitely qualify for the moniker of Crazy Cat Lady. I have five of the critters and would take on more if I could afford it. In fact, at one point I had fourteen of them! Maybe I’m so crazy about cats because I couldn’t have one when I was growing up because the uncle who raised me was so allergic to cats, if one walked by, he would go into a life-threatening attack of asthma. My first attempt at having a cat nearly cost me the ability to sit down. I was in the fifth grade. A stray cat had wondered onto the school playground. Our teacher asked if it belonged to anyone in class, and if not, it would be sent to the pound. I just couldn’t have that happen, so I said it was mine and took it home after school. Our landlady had a barn and chicken coop behind her house, and I thought the chicken coop would be a great place for my new pet to sleep where no one would ever find her. Little did I know, my new pet was about to introduce six more little pets and our landlady confronted my aunt and uncle wanting to know if they had any idea how cats wound up in her chicken coop. Knowing me, my uncle gave me his “truth or die” look, so I fessed up to what I had done and why. The cats disappeared and I got my bottom blistered. So, I grew up with a pony, dogs, birds, turtles, fish, and a hamster, promising myself that someday I would have a cat.
I got my first cat legitimately after I got married. My husband was in the military, and we lived in a tiny trailer in an empty lot behind an abandoned gas station. While I was making breakfast one morning, I noticed my husband lying on the floor on his stomach, half hanging out the door. Seems he was feeding his breakfast to a mom cat and her kittens that had taken refuse under our trailer. We took the bunch to a shelter and kept one of the kittens which we lovingly just called “Cat.” This was the beginning of my CCL syndrome. When our boys were little, we always had cats and/or dogs around the house. Children should always have pets to love.
I have always had cats around since “Cat.” In fact, cats are like potato chips; you can’t have just one. I’ve always had at least two or three running around my ankles and couldn’t have loved them more if I had given birth to them.
I must admit that there are some downsides to having cats. But you can also say that about dogs and kids! For instance, if you let them sleep with you, you will soon discover that they would rather sleep ON you than beside you. This is great if you live in Minnesota in January and your electricity goes off. You will also learn that your sleep pattern is determined by their feeding schedule. You don’t need an alarm clock because they will remind you when 5:00 a.m. rolls around. They will accomplish this by a chorus of meows and whiskers under your nose. You will also notice that everything in your wardrobe has changed to 30% of the original fabric plus 70% cat fur. You start telling everyone who notices it that cat fur is your new way of accessorizing. Kitties, like all of us, will occasionally get an upset tummy. I have noticed that they, by nature, cannot relieve this problem on surfaces like tile or linoleum. The deposit must be made on absorbent materials such as carpeting or furniture fabric, white or light beige color being preferable. There is also what has become known as the Crazy Cat Lady Gait. Most people think you’ve been hitting the “sauce” too hard, but you’ve developed this walk by constantly having to sidestep cats. Just pray you don’t get stopped by a cop and he asks you to “walk a straight line.”
Becoming a CCL also changes your relationship with other people. I have a sign on my office wall that reads, “The more I get to know people, the more I like my cats.” In fact, if you don’t like cats, then you probably won’t like me, which suits me just fine. After numerous years of life, I have discovered that my most trusted and loyal friends have all had four paws and fur. This is understandable when you consider a quote by novelist Elle Newmark which states, “I realized that cats make a perfect audience. They don’t laugh at you, they never contradict you, there’s no need to impress them, and they will never divulge your secrets.”
Science will probably never find a vaccine or cure for CCLS, but I think it would help relieve the symptoms if we were to all do what we can to help and promote APR shelter, visit when we can and while there, launch a great big love attack on all the critters.