Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Catwoman in Dogtown

I’ve always been a cat person. I identify with their inherent hunger for individuality, their effortless cool, their blasé attitude towards humanity. Also, they have really cute tummies and ears.

Growing up, our household was sans feline because my father was deathly allergic to them. He made jokes about strangling kittens with his bare hands or tossing them in gunny sacks and sending them down a river. As a sensitive eight year-old, I failed to see the humor. His teasing and my indignant silence created an emotional chasm between us. My mother, who also longed for a housecat, among other things, exploited my ill feelings towards cat-hating Daddy to fool herself into believing I‘d be cool with her leaving him.

“Wouldn’t you just love to live in a little house with a sun porch and a kitty?” she would ask.

”Yes!” I exclaimed. Having a sun porch was only second to cats on my list of things I was deprived of as a child.

“But, what about daddy?” I queried.

“He wouldn’t come. But you’d get a kitty!” she countered.

”Can we name it Dangermouse?!?!”

Dirty pool, Mom! Anyway, they divorced (surprising, huh?) and I got the kitty I was promised. A giant Maine Coon. Mom named her Cleo, after my great-grandmother, which was fine. Cleo didn’t really look like a Dangermouse anyway.

At 19 I got my very first apartment on my own, which meant I could get my own cats and name them whatever I wanted. My mother’s cat had a litter, and I picked out a boy and a girl. The brother was a tabby I christened Cletus the Slack-tailed Kitty (he was born with a crook in his tail). Cletus’ sister was a tortoiseshell calico beauty called Stella Marie You’re My Star (I was going through a PJ Harvey phase). They were my bestest buds. Cletus was like, obsessed with me. He watched me shower. He spooned me. He wrapped his little orange paws around my neck and massaged my shoulders. Best boyfriend ever.

Ten years later, Stella’s in kitty cat heaven, Cletus is someone else’s boyfriend, and I’m petless. Strange feelings are stirring inside me. Urges I've never felt before. Puppy urges.

Dogs represent everything I’m against. They’re born with an innate sense of co-dependency, a blind love towards humanity, a dorky disposition that reeks of desperation, and a tendency to eat shoes and dirty underwear. Yeah, okay, they have really cute tummies and ears, but still, not even the cutest lil’ puppers can make up for all that slobbering neediness. Right?

I’m not so sure. I see some pretty cute little buggers messing our Manhattan sidewalks. I wave at them as they’re walked by. Terriers, Labradors, Poodles, Labradoodles. My friend Chris from back home in Kansas City sent me a photo of his brand new beagle puppy Blossom, and my head nearly exploded because she’s so g’damned adorable.


(Photo by Angie McDaniel)

My father, who’s since remarried, lives in Massachusetts with the rest of my family, including a miniature dachshund I named Klaus. My dad loves Klaus. Even if he gets a little sneezy around him, he is not compelled to send Klaus down the river in a gunny sack. I love Klaus too, mostly because the little bugger’s more feline-acting than your average dog.

So, why this newfound interest in newfoundlands and their brethren? Is it because I’m fast approaching 30, meaning I only have like 10 years max to get a baby in me before I’m all dried up?

In my sexually reckless early-to-mid 20s, I never really thought about biological clocks ticking and all of that, aside from the occasional pregnancy scare (thank gawd for Plan B!). Now I realize time’s passing me by, and if I want to make sure at least one living creature will love and need me as long as she shall live, I better get preggers. Or a dog.

And since I haven’t met a dude I want to share a meal with, let alone a child, looks like this cat lady just might do it up doggy style. Yeah, I went there.

–Megan Metzger

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

awesome!!

linskykitty said...

I feel like I'm reading about my life here...I, too, was deprived of pets as a child. When I was 19 I adopted my first cat, then my second, a few months later there was a third, and then a year later a fourth. The youngest is now 13, very old and grumpy! Though I have a whole new crop of cats, thanks to working at the animal hospital for three years, I have also become a Dog Person, as well. I enjoy cats; and believe me, some of them can be just as needy as a dog. I value the interaction with both species. Dogs fill a different sort of need, and provide you with more social activities to participate in. Taking your dog for a walk, or stopping to talk to another dog owner about your dogs, is good for you physically, mentally, and socially. And the dog loves it, as well. In the last few years, my lifestyle has gone from spending many nights in bars drinking, to spending days doing dog stuff and networking with people who also do those things. It may sound corny, or dramatic, but truly, adopting a dog saved my life, and helped give me a sense of purpose and direction, as well as sense of responsibility. I've heard rumors over the years that there are cats that walk on leashes and enjoy car rides, but I have never met those elusive creatures. And it was always easy to just put food out, clean the litterbox and go with a cat; where a dog needs more attention.
I, too, was sexually reckless in my 20's, and I'm now approaching 35. My friends are having babies, and I've noticed in the last year I'm starting to think babies are especailly adorable...Biological clock, maybe. A dog is a good start though...and perhaps, while you're out with your dog, you may meet another dog person who is worthy of sharing a meal with, if not a baby. For now, I'm happy with my dogs and cats...I suppose there's always adoption if my eggs dry up before I'm ready for a child!

Anonymous said...

i also wave at puppies

Crystal K. said...

Scooby is all about you getting a dog!! But I've actually been experiencing the opposite thing since adopting Luxor the Tigercat a few months ago. I'm totally falling for kittehs.