Sunday, March 13, 2011

I shall not be a cat-lady

I am not a cat person.  Not in the least.  

One of my greatest fears is that I’ll end up one of those ‘cat ladies’ that talk obsessively about their cats as if they were humans.  And buy them special meals on Christmas morning.  And project all their own needs onto the unsuspecting target curled up in front of the heater.

Tracing this intense fear of ‘cat attachment’ is something of a Jungian task.  

Because growing up, we had two cats, and they were my best friends.  (I’d say they were my ‘whole world’, but that would be overly dramatic - the point is, to me they were little furry people who I couldn’t be without).  
I had already learnt at a young age that people could let you down, but cats wouldn’t.  But then they both went and died on me, and I learnt that it was probably a safer bet to invest in human relationships, which usually lasted longer.  (I hope it’s not some sort of parabolic curve, and I’ll later realise that I should have stuck with cats after all).

Our first cat, Kiri, died in my final year of high school.  She was almost as old as I was.  In her last days she was always vomiting up her food.  My mum said that if she kept that up, we’d have to put her down.  For her own sake.  Horrified, I spent weeks obsessively following Kiri round the house.  Every time she vomited I was there to clean it up before anyone found out.  In this way, I managed to stretch out her life by a couple of weeks.  Then one fateful day my mum came across me cleaning up her sick in the laundry.  When I got home from school the next day, Kiri was dead.  Major trauma.

Our other cat was Cleo.  She was taken from this world too soon, while I was in Japan for my gap year.  I cried for three days (I was nineteen years old).  

Since then, I’ve never much liked cats.  

But then there is Molly.  Whiter than the cold driven snow, bearer of differently-coloured eyes.  She has lived at my flat longer than I have, so I have to respect that.  And when I started drawing pictures of her today, I realised that somewhere deep inside I harbour some sort of affection for this bizarre creature.

But I’m still not a cat person.  Not in the least.

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