Before Tara, I’d only ever lived with dogs, fish, and gerbils. The gerbils were in childhood, the last of my 3 fish died just after college, and the dogs were my roommates in my working adult life. So living with a cat has been different. I knew and loved the feeling of walking with a dog, being greeted at the door, and I still love to surprise Addie and watch her bound toward me, wiggling with excitement.
While watching a friend’s two dogs and my roommate’s dog for the weekend, I enjoyed a small pack. I felt powerful and fun, with all these well-trained dogs who were so happy just to be near me, tumbling over each other to press against my legs as we navigated to the door and played in the yard. However, coming down the stairs the other day with Tara, who’d slipped inside to hide in the shadows of the upper landing, I realized that this is how being a cat lady feels. This sly, silent little kitty wants to be near me, will get into mischief and then follow me back out of it. With her tail in the air and her nimble paws on the steps, I felt trusted and graceful and capable.
I like being a cat lady. When writing recently, Tyler brought Tara in to see me. Without speaking, he released her in the hallway and she came silently into the room, leaped up onto my lap, and stepped on my keyboard. I’ve heard writer friends describe this very scenario so many times, and now it was happening to me. I hoisted Tara up onto my desk and watched her explore it. When taking a long nap the other day, Tyler brought a sleeping Tara to lay on my blanket with me, a curled up comfort. And when he’d had a stressful day at work, I brought him out to Tara to cheer him up.
Cat lady life agrees with me. I like being inside, like writing and reading and watching movies, like cuddling and napping. All of these things can lend themselves to life with a dog, but in my experience, the dogs get bored with me, and then I feel guilty for not being more fun. And I’ve enjoyed doing these things outside with Tara. No, I don’t enjoy the scratches of bites when Tara gets overstimulated (she is teething), but I’ve felt the tiny daggers of puppy teeth and taken my share of scratches from excited, bouncing dogs. I know that cats can be trained, much as dogs can.
And, of course, Tara is adorable. Her latest game is to hide under my the full-length skirts before bounding out to attack a nearby toy. This game is similar to one she likes to play behind the curtains on the porch. Tiny but growing, she’s cuddly and pretty patient considering the number of times Tyler and I try to pick her up and cuddle with her. She’s got moxie, pushing against us to get down when she’s had enough without using her claws. Yesterday, she spent over ten minutes determinedly pulling a wand toy from her basket, then cheerfully dragged it around the room for another ten. She’s loving and gentle in surprising ways. She’s also stubborn, but that just means she’s part of the family.
I love my cat, and I love being a cat lady.