In July, my little baby kitty face, Ava, turned five years old. Five. Years. Old. I don’t want to alarm people, but I’m incredibly proud of myself for helping another living creature survive for five years. And in completely unrelated news, as of this blog post, I will now be available as a babysitter for all parents looking to continue the existence of their children.
I grew up with cats a child, but being a child, I did absolutely nothing for them aside from pet them until I/they got bored. At some point in my adolescence, I developed an allergy to cats, which has almost entirely disappeared somehow. I believe that I mostly willed my allergies out of existence, but maybe I just haven’t met the right/wrong cat to upset that balance again. And then I decided I needed a furry friend to cuddle with, and Craigslist brought me to Ava.
The world is pretty depressing and grim lately, getting to a point where I’ve almost disabled my Facebook account just to get away from it all for a bit. So here’s some lighthearted silliness: In honor of Ava’s birthday, these are five things I’ve encountered as a cat owner, some of which I was not expecting at all.
- Cat hair. Everywhere. This isn’t an exaggeration, and there’s a reason it’s number one on my list. Ava is a maine coon, meaning she’s extra adorable but also extra furry. And sooner or later that fur has got to go somewhere, almost always ending up in my mouth. Every single meal that I cook or eat has cat fur in it. All of my clothes, blankets, pillows, curtains, carpets, desk tops, and basically every other surface in my apartment has had cat fur on it at one point or another. Especially the ceiling fans—it is mildly disturbing how much of her fur latches onto my fans and then coats the walls whenever I turn them on.
- Cats are stalkers. I can’t turn around without almost stepping on Ava’s tail; she’s either super clingy (she is.), or she has a serious case of FOMO. If I go to the bathroom to wash my hands, she’s bounding down the hallway behind me with her big eyes lit up and yipping in excitement. If I dare to close the bathroom door behind me, then I fall victim to her gentle yet incessant scratching. I officially have a small cat-shaped shadow whenever I’m home.
- Sometimes cats purr so hard they drool. Haven’t you ever gotten so happy and been so content in life that you drooled all over yourself? In one sense, I’m thrilled that Ava is so happy that she purrs to the point of transforming her salivary glands into a flowing river. Yet on the other hand, she sits on chest and drools on my face a bit too often.
- Some cats revenge-vomit. This is a theory, but I have a lot of evidence to back it up. If I leave my apartment for more than a day, despite leaving enough food, toys, and a clean litter box behind, I can be sure to find cat vomit all over my comforter or somewhere in the living room. It isn’t like she’s alone—my roommate often takes care of her if I’m not around. It’s as if Ava fears abandonment so much that it literally makes her sick, or she just wants me to learn a lesson and never leave her alone for more than nine-hour stretches.
- Cats can be allergic to fleas. I’m of the opinion that almost every cat will have fleas at least once in their life, but maybe this is because Ava—my strictly indoor cat—has had multiple already. Ava had a flea infestation when she was a kitten; the biggest kicker being that I gave her the fleas. It’s a disturbing moment when you’re holding your cat and see a bug crawl over her pink belly, burrowing itself into her fur as she purrs away without a clue that you almost just catapulted her across the room. It only got worse when I discovered that Ava is allergic to flea bites and flea saliva. Her entire back, tail, and neck were covered in hives for three months, and the only thing my vet could do to help her was reluctantly prescribe her steroids. Luckily it kicked the allergy back into submission, but I’m hyper aware of fleas now because I felt so bad for my itchy little baby cat.