Becoming a Cat Person

becoming a cat person

Animal love.

I’ve never been a cat person. It’s not that I dislike them in any way, but since I considered myself a dog lover, cats were never on my radar––until recently—when a cat came into my life.

A few months ago, my husband adopted a cat from a nearby shelter for his business. His job was to kill the mice and other unwanted critters. Each day, my husband, who, like me, was also indifferent toward felines, would come home and tell the kids and me stories about his four-legged worker. He felt a strange connection to the timid, little animal, who most likely had been living on the streets before he was rescued. It took time for the cat to adjust to the other employees and feel comfortable in his new setting. Presumably, he had spent the first four years of his life devoid of human touch. Once he acclimated to his surroundings, he grew less fearful and more affectionate toward people.

Something was tugging at my husband’s heart, and he felt sorry for his animal employee when he left him alone in the office, so he decided to bring him home to meet our family. At the time, our dog Otis was alive, and of course, our friendly canine welcomed this foreign creature onto his turf. The cat, on the other hand, was not a fan of Otis. He would hiss at him whenever he got close and then run off and hide.

It took the cat well over a month to get used to the kids and me. With every passing day, he would come out of hiding and inch his way toward us, allowing us to pet him on his terms—only. He watched us with a wary eye, studying our moves and making sure we weren’t going to harm him. He also studied how we interacted with Otis, as we cuddled and showered him with love and affection. Then, one day, the cat made his way toward our big, fluffy dog to get a closer look. Realizing that the dog was a kind animal and had no intention of mauling him, he eventually befriended Otis.

I now understand where the term copycat comes from, because the cat liked to copy some of the dog’s mannerisms, mimicking how he would lie down, sprawling his hind legs or front paws. Slowly but surely, the cat started to sleep next to Otis. Jealous that Otis went outside, the cat wanted to follow suit. So we let him. Living in the mountains, we were concerned that he would get eaten by a wild animal. Thankfully, the guy has nine lives, and he always shows up at our front door, asking to come back inside when he’s ready. There were days when he would accompany Otis and me on our walks around the block. A few months living in our home, and we officially had a cat.

The hardest part about our new family member was accepting that we had become cat people. Giving him a name meant there was no turning back; we were keeping him indefinitely. We also couldn’t agree on a name, so we just called him Cat. (By the way, as I write this post, Cat is curled up on my lap, deliciously snoozing on my belly.) No offense to all the cat lovers out there, but sadly, there are a lot of cat haters in the world. Soon after Cat moved in, I discovered that people were prejudiced toward these adorable pets. Friends mocked us, some even jokingly threatened not to come over anymore. My own mother cringes at the thought of a cat. What’s wrong with these ignorant and closed-minded people? They like dogs, but they despise cats. The only logical explanation I can think of is that they don’t know cats, or they want cats to act like dogs. But they’re nothing like dogs. Otis, the Aspen ambassador, would excitedly greet everyone who came toward him. Not the cat. When he meets a new face, he beelines for a hiding spot, and he has rules that we need to follow. For example, cuddling is only allowed when he’s in the mood, and if you need to get up in the middle of a cuddle session, don’t expect to resume the position when you return. Now that I’ve gotten to know him, I have a better sense of how he communicates, and I respect his rules.

As a spiritual person, I always try to understand the greater meaning as to why we attract certain experiences into our lives. For a while, I questioned why Cat had joined our family. Having recently lost Otis, I am far from ready to get another dog. Desperate for animal love, I looked to the cat to console me while I was in mourning. Much to my dismay, I discovered that wasn’t his style. He comes to me when I least expect it, when I’m not needy. I get it. I, too, can’t stand needy people. I find them irritating. To earn Cat’s love, we were forced to be patient, not to ask, but to be open to receiving. As soon as we did what was expected of us, he sauntered onto our laps—and stole our hearts. To all the cat haters out there: I am no longer ashamed to tell the world that I am now a cat person, and I LOVE MY CAT!

About Lori Gurtman
Lori Gurtman is an author living in Aspen, Colorado.


One Response to “Becoming a Cat Person”

  1. Barbara Hartley says:

    Cat is very lucky to have you as his family. I personally find cats to be very sneaky and I admit to not being a cat fan. After reading your beautifully written post, I will make an effort to be open minded.

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