How I became a cat person

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Disclaimer: No pets die in this column (but they sometimes smell like they did).

As I write, I’m trying to relax in my recliner on a cold winter’s day next to a roaring fire, yet my feet are freezing because a large, semi-elderly cat named “Missy” – AKA “The Loaf” – is lounging on the fireplace hearth directly in front of the firebox and hogging all of the heat. “How did I reach this state?” you might wonder. So do I.

When my middle daughter was six years old, she looked up at me with her big, manipulative green eyes and said, “All I ever wanted was a baby Siamese.”

Unfortunately, I’ve never been a “cat person.” Most cats shed like middle-aged hippies, so if you spend any amount of time with them, you wind up looking like a body double for Chewbacca. Then there’s that special feline/surly teenager personality. If only they could roll their eyes and call you “bruh!”

Due to my lack of a backbone, however, I found myself on a quest to locate a Siamese kitten. Luckily, the search didn’t take long, and I didn’t have to go to Siam. I found Missy through a local rescue operation that was undoubtedly laughing at me as I drove away.

Life with Missy is all about HER. Unlike many cats, Missy actually enjoys a limited amount of petting. I think she considers it a type of massage therapy. When I pet Missy, I feel like I’m performing a service and should be tipped afterward.

During daytime hours, her signal that she wishes to make an appointment to be petted is that she flops onto her side, just out of reach. She demands that I come to her, and it’s often at the most inconvenient time imaginable – like when I’m sitting on the toilet. If I refuse her reluctant advances, she saunters away (giving me the high-tailed, one-eyed salute) and looks for the perfect rug to barf on.

A few days ago, I actually found myself leaning over her to operate my laptop to avoid disturbing her while she napped in my computer chair. Something is clearly amiss. I didn’t want a cat in the first place, and now I can’t go to the bathroom or buy underwear on eBay without feline interference!

But the true test of my pet tolerance came one evening when we were startled by the sound of glass shattering in the master bathroom, followed by the entrance into the living room of a bleeding (on the carpet, of course) and limping Missy. Scooping her up, I saw that she had a serious laceration on her forearm.

About an hour after I had rushed her to the local emergency vet clinic/cash vaporizer, Missy came out of surgery with assurances from the vet that she would be fine – and a recommendation that I carefully store all breakable items in my home (or sell them to help pay for the vet bill).

Missy is now 13 years old, which, in human years, is approximately 4,745 litter-box scoops. Since acquiring “Missy,” we’ve also adopted two small doglets that Missy mainly ignores like tacky pieces of home decor.

The consolation to life with Missy is that my three daughters love her dearly and she makes them happy. And I kind of like her, too. I guess I see her as a challenge, and after all these years, I’m still determined to make her understand who’s in charge.

Now excuse me while I lean over Missy to search eBay for a second computer chair.

Copyright 2024 Jase Graves distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Graves is an award-winning humor columnist from East Texas. His columns have been featured in Texas Escapes magazine, The Shreveport Times, The Longview News Journal, and The Kilgore News Herald. Contact Graves at [email protected].

Jase Graves is an award-winning humor columnist from East Texas. His columns have been featured in Texas Escapes magazine, The Shreveport Times, The Longview News Journal, and The Kilgore News Herald. He is also a frequent contributor to The Erma Bombeck Writer's Workshop, which named him Writer of the Month for June of 2017, and he has served as a judge in the Erma Bombeck/Anna Lefler Humorist in Residence program.

The National Society of Newspaper Columnists says, "Whether he's breaking down the common types of yard sale denizens ('The Lingerer . . .she was here so long, I'll probably be able to claim her on my next tax return') or sharing cautionary tales of mattress shopping, Jason flays suburban life with a sharp wit. Shopping for his daughter's swimsuits, he wonders if he has 'strayed into the first aid section and . . .was looking at a new line of colorful ACE bandages.'"

Other than writing, his hobbies include berating the television when the Texas A&M Aggie football team is playing and sleeping as late as possible.