One of my biggest fears is that having three cats makes me completely un-date-able. When I meet a potentially interesting fellow, I generally try to avoid the topic of pets all together in an attempt to avoid this conversation:
Potentially Interesting Fellow: So, any pets or anything? Dogs? Cats? Beta?
Me: I have cats. How about you? Any pets?
Potentially Interesting Fellow: Cats, huh? How many?
Me: Three. Do you have any pets?
Potentially Interesting Fellow: Three?! Is that a handful?
Me: Sometimes. What about you? Do you have a dog or anything? A parakeet? A trained monkey?
Potentially Interesting Fellow: Hm. Three cats. Do you live with a boyfriend? A roommate?
Me: Nope. I live alone. Do you have a roommate?
Potentially Interesting Fellow: Alone. With three cats?
Me: ~Sigh~ Yes. Well, it was nice talking to you. Have a nice day.
Various versions of the above conversation happen to me ALL THE TIME. I often want to scream, “I’m not wearing a mumu and I don’t smell like cat piss!” I’ve even considered lying about my cats and letting a potentially interesting fellow get to know me before mentally marking me as the Crazy Cat Lady, but what’s the point? If three cats are a problem initially, they’ll always be a problem. (Anecdotally, when approached by decidedly uninteresting fellows, I tried to bring up the cats right away, hoping to end an impending miserable interaction before it began. However, each time I tried that tactic, it backfired and brought on a barrage of questions about my wonderful cats.)
So, dear reader, when taking into consideration the above disappointments, I’m sure you can understand my excitement when I found myself languishing in blissful post-coital exhaustion next to a man I considered to be brilliant, caring, charismatic, and just generally perfect for me. While I listened to his breathing become regular as he drifted off to sleep, I let my guard down and allowed myself to think all the silly little thoughts I try to pretend I never think: “Did that really just happen? Is he really that interested in me? Oh god, I can’t believe he’s here. That might have been the best sex I’ve ever had. Shit, he’s cute when he’s sleeping. I wonder if he could be it? If he’s not, is this the kind of guy I get to look forward to being with? Is it time for morning sex yet? I mustn’t appear too eager. I really hope this turns into something amazing.” Etcetera.
Such was my mental state when my stream of girlish reverie was interrupted by the unmistakable heaving that precedes an enormous heap of cat barf. My heart stopped. I crossed my fingers, hoping it was a false alarm. No luck.
Fatty heaved. Fatty hacked. And then…Fatty puked.
Very carefully, I turned my head to look at the man lying next to me. He appeared to still be asleep. Or he was too polite to acknowledge that my cat just vomited loudly. Shit! Where did Fatty puke? For a fleeting moment, I hypocritically reverted to Catholicism and prayed, Please, God, don’t let it be in his shoe! Slowly, I crept out of bed, barely breathing, as if holding my breath would keep him from waking. Whether God heard me or Fatty just didn’t feel like puking in his shoe, I’ll never know, but I managed to clean up the mess (out of my shoe) and return to bed without notice.
That particular time I was very lucky, but that’s rarely the case. Usually, all three of my cats are able to put me in strange and awkward social situations. Lately, whenever inviting someone into my home, I find myself apologizing in advance. “The big black one over there, that’s Fatty. He barfs a lot, so I’m sorry for anything embarrassing he’s likely to do. Min is the fluffy one who is rubbing all over your ankles. She doesn’t understand boundaries and will probably walk across your testicles at some point this evening. Sorry about that. Oh, and the flash of fur that just ran by is Roxie. She’s super shy and you won’t see much of her. She’s like this with everyone, don’t take it personally.”
Dear reader, after reading this, you may well wonder how it’s even worth it for me to have three cats. Sometimes, in frustration, I wonder the same thing. But the truth is that I can’t imagine my life another way. The vast majority of my evenings are not spent lying next to someone I’m dying to love. Generally, I am alone, reclined on my couch with a book. Alone, that is, except for Fatty at my side, Min on my stomach, and Roxie curled up beneath my knees. My cats are non-negotiable fixtures in my life. Old friends disappear to make way for new friends and men who are interested today inevitably leave tomorrow. But no matter who rotates through my life, I can dependably go home to three furry little friends whose only demands are food and affection.