When I first started talking to my best friend about the guy from Las Vegas that I had begun talking to she had an important question for me.
“Does he like cats?”
I practically squealed a yes in reply. You see, in the past I had seemingly been cursed with boyfriend after boyfriend who had less than zero interest in cats. One was even allergic. Having grown up in a household with at least one to two cats at any given time I was almost certain that I never wanted to be without one of my own. When I first moved out of my parents place I lasted just over a year before adopting a kitten of my own, Simcoe. It would have been sooner but I lived the first seven months of that year with a boyfriend who – surprise, surprise – was not a cat person. When I adopted my little, crazy black cat I was living on my own and really loved the companionship and the more time we spent together the more I yearned for a man who could love her as well.
My best friend knew not long after our first conversation about Mr. Vegas that he was the guy for me. Actually, she knew even before I did, and was the one who really pushed me towards giving the relationship a second chance after our first meeting/weekend together left a little to be desired; but that’s a whole other story. In those first months of our long distance relationship (he was in Las Vegas, Nevada and I lived in Ontario, Canada) he did a great job of convincing me that he did in fact like my cat. I constantly caught him running around the apartment with her string following after him. We laughed about her horrible timing when it came to using her litter box. And he shared in my annoyance when she would wake us by scratching at the bedroom door at seven in the morning, but things between Simcoe, D and myself were hovering somewhere close to perfection. We were a happy family.
When I moved to Las Vegas in January 2011 my parents took over care of Simcoe until it came time to fly out for our wedding in April. I was just as happy to see my little kitty, scared but excited in her crate, as I was to see my parents and family that had flown in. I was ecstatic to be reunited with Simcoe and even less bothered by her usual crazy cat antics that began only a few days after her arrival in the U.S.
My new husband, it turned out, was a damn good actor because suddenly living with a cat 24/7 brought out his true colors.
It started with the couch: “no cats on the couch,” and grew to include beds, the side chairs, kitchen chairs, and the office chairs. Soon she wasn’t allowed into the office at all, and then before I knew it all of the doors in the house were to remain closed save for the bathroom containing her litter box. All of this had the result of leaving the bedrooms with a sort of musty smell during the hot months that we couldn’t leave the slider doors open; but that’s another story for another time.
With all of these places that Simcoe wasn’t allowed to get in her twenty hours of sleep a day she had to get creative. For a while she settled on the stairs, which drove D crazy because the light carpet seemed to be a magnet for her dark fur. When I purchased padded chairs for the counter bar she made that her new spot, which drove D nuts as well. I could keep listing on her sleeping places and I promise you that they all resulted in D shooing her away and aggressively wiping at the surface upon which she had previously been occupying.
One day, a few months into our family time, my father in law arrived with a homemade scratching post, and I’m happy to announce that Simcoe took to it immediately; and it meant that the cats hair was now limited to one area, a fact that greatly put D at ease.
All was well for a while, until we came home one evening to find that the cat had been sick on the stairwell landing. D was completely disgusted and went on a rant. I was the epitome of calm as I cleaned up her mess, but inside I was fuming – not with the cat, no - but with my husband for getting so upset over something that neither of us had any control over.
“Pets get sick just like people do.” I was exasperated.
“I just don’t get pet ownership.”
There it was. The truth.
I wish I could say that it has gotten easier since then, but it hasn’t. He still gets frustrated if she sick or when he catches her on the couch (which I’m happy to report really doesn’t happen anymore), and while he does often pick up a toy and run around the main floor with her I know that he’d still prefer that she not be around.
Sometimes I find myself thinking about that conversation with my best friend and I realize how naive I had been. After six months of marriage it is painfully obvious that my husband is definitely not a cat person, but he loves me just enough to pretend that he is.