I wrote this when I was in law school. I always kind of liked it as a piece of writing. I also think it remains a perfectly sound theory…
BoingBoing has a post about an author of a book on parasites, which explains, among other things, that there is a parasite in cat feces that can affect humans – making women more friendly and men into jerks.
Perhaps that’s why my August 2000 turned out the way it did. I had been living, catlessly, with my boyfriend for 13 months. He really wanted to get a cat, but I resisted. It’s not that I object to the concept of a cat, but I am not comfortable with their logistical realities: smelly input and output, and the long-term commitment any house pet requires. How could we go places? How could we travel? Having a cat would seem to instill a burdensome complexity in our lives that I thought we were better off without.
Still, I wasn’t anti-cat, per se. Just like everyone else I thought the stray kitten we found frolicking at the bottom of the stairs of our garden apartment was incredibly cute and charming. To the point that I tossed and turned all night worrying about what would happen to it. It was not an idle concern: we discovered later that the cat had been living across the street — a four-lane street, which was hardly conducive to safe cat crossing! But she and her two brothers were all strays that a neighbor had been leaving some food out for. And that was about to end as her husband insisted that they be taken to the humane society. Word had it though that if they ended up there, after three days they’d all be put down. But this little calico seemed way too sweet and friendly to allow that to happen to.
So we brought her home — temporarily. Some friends of mine at my job worked with a cat rescue organization, and as a favor to me agreed to take her and get her adopted out. But they couldn’t do that right away so we took her in for a couple of days.
We named her Bovina because her calico spots made her look like a cow. She wasn’t too young — my boyfriend thought she was the equivalent of a teenager — but lots of things were new to her and she seemed to enjoy exploring our apartment. For this brief period I didn’t mind having a pet. She was very affectionate and nice to pet and I genuinely cared about what happened to her. But I knew I couldn’t commit to taking care of her, so instead I did what I could to find her a nice home elsewhere.
Soon my friends came to take the cat away and get her ready for adoption. Shortly thereafter, my boyfriend also moved out. We’d been having issues, but the move-out came as a surprise to me: I came home from work one day to find half the furniture gone! I was not thrilled with him, to say the least. But now I understand – perhaps this assholishness was caused by the parasite! He obviously couldn’t help himself — the cat made him do it!
It did seem bitterly ironic that within less than a month, I’d managed to lose both a cat and a partner. The apartment had rapidly gone from very crowded to very empty. But I do think it was all for the best. Look at my life now: I travel the world hither and yon, having all sorts of adventures. How could I do all that if I were tied down by a long-term commitment?
And what would I have done with the cat?