I’ve Become An Old Cat “Gay-dy” – Dear God
To use old song lyrics (firmly creating in everyone’s mind who is reading this that I am gayer than gay), “They made me love them, I didn’t want to do it. I didn’t want to do it.” Growing up we had one pet. It was a small dog that was bought when my brother’s asthma made it impossible for him to continue to ride horses. We had some fish but the dog was the bribe for him having to give up his love of riding horses. Those were the only pets I ever knew about. During the course of knowing my spouse (over some twenty years) it is clear that not only did he have several pets while he was growing up but he’s the six foot black version of Doctor Doolittle. So four years ago when two stray kittens came into our open patio door (a brother and sister) who slept with their paws around one another we upped the ante on our gay stereotype by not only adopting them but by giving them musical theatre names from the Broadway show, Wicked (Elphaba and Fiyero). I knew I was not equipped for the transformation that was about to take place in my life and an event that took place the other day confirmed for me that I’ve become an old cat “gay-dy” – Dear God – Don’t Get Me Started!
Let me just say that our cats have everything any cat could ever want. They have the electronic kitty litter box, they have the electric water fountain, run of anything but the furniture or tables/countertops (gross) well, when we’re home anyway but basically every time they walk into the room we go nuts over them like that classic Carol Burnett sketch from her show featuring the Mama’s Family characters as they ignore Roddy McDowell for their little dog in the other room. And if perchance we’re out of town (my spouse is often gone for long stretches for business and I travel for work as well at times), they get a sitter who comes in and feeds them and makes a big fuss over them. Nuts, I know. And no, I never thought that this would be me. All of the above I’ve grown to understand is just who I am now, I’m embracing the cat person I’ve become though I roll their fur off (with the adhesive rollers cat owners with any sense buy stock in) of everything before I leave the house and I have no “Beware of Attack Cat” signs or cat crocheted pillows anywhere about my home.
This is one of those times when my spouse has been away for a few months and I have been both Daddy and Daddy (just threw up a little in my mouth) to our cats. While I try to consider myself a relatively sane person who knows that they are pets, the event that occurred the other day had me reeling so badly I had to go sit down and mentally talk myself off a high and very slick ledge of sanity. Pets are amazing in many ways and the whole Pavlovian response thing boggles my mind. I remember that our dog (Apollo Skylab – my brother loved the space program obviously) loved M&Ms. I know, I know, chocolate is poison for dogs but we didn’t know it at the time and neither did he and like someone who smokes and drinks their whole life yet lives to be a ripe old age, so was the same with Apollo. When we would pour the M&Ms into the candy dish he would come a-running. To this day whenever anyone in my family pours M&Ms into a dish they do it as quietly as possible and still look to see if Apollo (who has been dead for almost twenty-five years) is coming for his fix. The same can be said for my cats with anything that requires the can opener. Even though it’s a manual can opener and we use the pop top cans of cat food now, they hear the metal touch the metal and no matter where they are they come out like the Munchkins (after Glinda tells them it’s okay).
So the other day I’m making some tuna salad for myself for lunch. Stealthily I touch the can opener to the can. I twist the knob and then look over my shoulder – no cats. I twist again and look each time repeating the twist and look technique. As I put the tuna into a bowl to start adding the additional mixings, I leave a little in the can for I know in my heart of hearts they will be in the kitchen very…what? How did they get there? How did they sneak past me? There they were, looking up at me with eyes that could make you “donate” faster than watching those infomercials for the starving children in Africa in the middle of the night. And that’s when it happened, I heard myself saying, “Some for Dad, some for Elphaba and some for Fiyero.” And with the same fork I doled out everyone’s portion like I might see Donna Reed do on her show for her children. I clutched my imaginary pearls (Donna had real ones) around my neck, not believing that I had just said that in that way in a house that only had me and two cats in it. I had been reduced to talking to my cats, talking to them as if they were my children and I had the sudden need for a Xanax and therapy. Crazy cat lady…table for one?
I realize I’ve gone overboard with the cats but never had I crossed this line before, the whole talking to them in a sort of baby talk way while almost feeding them ala a mother bird, regurgitating food into their mouths. Now I know a lot of people reading this are going to see nothing wrong with this but for me, it was too much. Way too much. I imagined those hoarders of cats that you see on Animal Planet. I thought of all the old cat ladies, of the older gay man stereotypes. Sitting on their chintz sofas petting the cats on their lap with a hand that was old and at the same time had the largest ring in recorded history on the index finger all the while the smells from a swirling cloud of Armais cologne and kitty litter hanging in the air. And as I sat there eating my tuna salad sandwich I said a little prayer to the heavens above that it wasn’t true and that like Jimmy Stewart in “It’s A Wonderful Life” that I still had time to change. Maybe I can, I know I’ll try (and I’m so glad my spouse comes home tomorrow) because dear God, I don’t want to be an old cat “gay-dy.” Don’t Get Me Started!
Read More Scott @ www.somelikeitscott.com
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