Apparently I need to clear the air about something.
Yes. I made a Facebook photo album of my last roommate's cat.
But he was a strange, strange cat. Who liked to jump on my shoulders and lick my face.
However, people have gotten the impression that I am some insane cat person. Just because I wrote a blog post about how they're great and just because I want to fly to Greece solely for CATS EVERYWHERE and just because I fantasize of being covered by a box of kittens and just because ON OCCASION I make inaudible squeals at Purina commercials.
The thing is, I just got my own first cat, and she is as low key as my microbrew-drinking, potluck-tv-watching 7-hours-of-sleep lifestyle. And people are SHOCKED that I haven't gushed about her with a million pictures and stories. JUST BECAUSE I have a Facebook photo album dedicated to a grey tabby who was not mine and SOMETIMES threw in a few pictures of my family's cat for good measure does not mean that I am thinking about pictures of cats 24/7. It's not that I'm against talking about her, obv. But these things take TIME, people. I lived with Charlie for a year and a half and was home most of that time due to The Troubles. Now I have had Regina for only a few weeks, I only spend a few hours with her, and she spends most of that time laying sweetly nearby. There's just not that much to tell, except for the fact that she yells at me whenever I'm mobile and does a hilarious thing with her leg (picture once I capture it...it really is awesome, though, I promise.)
Of course, the day we got her was a bit of a story.
We went to this amazing shelter in Chicago (I won't say the name here because I don't want them to read this but if you are looking for a good one, email me and I will tell you.) that has cage-free, free-range, cats.
We got to the shelter, which has a doorbell you have to ring to get in. I announced that I wanted to adopt a cat and the girl led me upstairs. Once upstairs, amongst the cats laying around, there was a woman who looked like she had seen more than a couple Jimmy Buffet concerts. She had a flowy shirt, long necklaces (plural) and blue-tinted prescription glasses. She was scowling at a young gentleman and clearly unhappy with him. The boy seemed perfectly nice. I was being talked to (and also in a room full of cats) so I was distracted, but the only thing I caught from their conversation was that he wanted to adopt a kitten, but was possibly not fully prepared to do so. I put my purse on the floor and immediately, a calico cat sat on it. I tried to pet her, but she hissed. This was not Regina Phalange.
The girl who had led us up the stairs handed me a 3-page form to fill out. It included my employer name, what kind of food I planned to get my cat, what I would do with my cat if I moved, what kind of voice I was planning on giving my cat, etc etc. Five hours later, I was done filling out the form and the ill-prepared guy had been ushered out, cat-less. Hand shaking, I handed the form to the woman. Still frowning she looked over it.
"You live in Printer's Row?"
But as she looked through my list, the woman became more and more excited with each step. I'd lived with so many cats, I had to add extra lines. I didn't want to declaw. I didn't want a kitten. I had a job. I had my landlord's name and phone number. I was prepared. Oh, was I. By the time we were done going through the form, the woman practically swooped Joe and I up into her arms and gave us one giant bear hug.
She led us around to the different cats, pointing out which ones were friendly (which I had said on the form was what I wanted.) The first one she led us to was Bubblegum, who was sleeping on a pillow on a high shelf. She was black and white. Seriously? A black and white cat named Bubblegum? REALLY? Joe and I held out our hands for her to smell, and she started licking our fingers and nuzzling us. Good start, cat. Good start. THIS was Regina Phalange.
The woman led us to other cats, knowing each of their names and personalities, and with anecdotes about the cats they've had in the past, and other cats she had at home. "You know I had a cat just like this one at home. Her name was Stormy and she had just gotten ringworm...." Smile and nod, Emily. Smile and nod.
Occasionally, I'd stop and pet the kittens and she'd frown. "Kittens are overrated. Let me show you Snickerdoodle. She's sixteen. OH! Patsy! OH PATSY! She is 45 pounds but she is JUST the SWEETEST THING you've ever seen. OH PATSY IS JUST THE BEST."
We walked on through, pet a lot of cats, but eventually came back to the first room where Bubblegum had been. I pet her again. She nuzzled. They explained that Bubblegum was a solitary cat who didn't really like other cats, but loved people and just needed a good home away from the others. A kitten cams sauntering over like he owned the place and, sure enough, Bubblegum had a bit of a tizzy. Joe and I hemmed and hawed...came seriously close to stealing all four of the little mini tiny little baby little snookem kittens, but eventually decided that Bubblegum was just perfect. The woman, and the two volunteers started cheering and clapping. I think there might have been tears in their eyes. They said the poor thing just needed a good home. And that perhaps her off-centered push-broom mustache had deterred people.
Finally came all the paperwork and signing and contracts and everything. MAN there are a lot of contracts involved in getting a cat. Including one which said that the people from this shelter (I.E. the hippie cat lady) were allowed to make house calls. "I like red wine," she told us. Joe and I laughed nervously. We THINK that they would only do that if there was a problem with the cat. We THINK.
Finally we had everything ready to go. Litter box, toy, food, Jewel bag of clean litter...oh, and a cat. We brought her home, let her explore little by little, and that was that.
She's a good cat. She is currently watching me from a pillow on top of our fireplace.
Here she is, on her first day home, sleeping on a pillow on my lap (PS, she likes pillows.)
And now that I have finally told you guys about her and the experience I went through, I ask that you think of the woman we interacted with, and consider exactly how much of a crazy cat lady I am. (Insert "OH EMILY. THERE'S STILL TIME" joke here. HAAAAR.)