Feline fanaticism

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NEW WESTMINSTER, B.C. (CUP) – My transformation into a cat person was as unexpected as it was gradual. We've all been exposed to the caricature of the senile cat lady who has more felines than she has fingers, but I always assumed I was safe from sharing a similar fate. After all, I don’t have a vagina and, for the most part, have managed to maintain my mental health. Both of these characteristics are uncommon in crazy cat ladies, yet it would appear that feline fanaticism no longer discriminates against a person’s sex or mental stability.

I’ve lived with cats before, but it wasn’t until about a year ago that I was able to add the title of “Cat Owner” to my make-believe business card. A fateful Craigslist posting led me to a grungy basement suite in North Vancouver, and I was introduced to a kitten smaller than my fist. Two weeks later, I transported said animal across the city in a Build-A-Bear box to her new home. I settled on the name Inspector Ciabatta Lebowski and, with that, my descent into domesticated animal dementia began.

Everyone who met Ciabatta cooed over her cuteness and how feisty the feline was, so I assumed my fascination with her was normal at first. I acquired her during midterms, so that instead of applying myself to my studies, I was able to ignore the textbooks on my desk and spend hours throwing toy mice around the apartment while she chased after them.

My roommate and I began to express our feelings out loud about how much we enjoyed the cat. Showering her with affection and attention when we were alone was one thing, but once we realized how strongly we both felt, the floodgates to our emotions opened.

Not long after that, when leaving my house with a friend, he asked me if I always did that. When I asked what he was referring to, he pointed out that I had said goodbye to the cat. Up until this point, it hadn’t even registered that this was something I did often. I became self-aware.

I mentioned to my roommate how ridiculous it was for me to bid farewell to the cat, and we laughed over how weird some cat owners were – especially the ones who referred to their cats as their children. This naturally led to us calling Ciabatta our daughter, but we quickly realized that our satire was slinking towards reality and immediately ceased such behaviour.

The climax occurred earlier this month when I realized that Ciabatta’s birthday was coming up. I commented on how hilarious it would be if we had a kegger to celebrate her having survived living with us for a year. But this “joking” led to me making a Facebook event and creating a guest list. Friends came over with presents. Someone made a cat food cake with catnip icing. We all got trashed. The cat was freaked out by the number of guests since she wasn’t even aware that many humans existed. I think I had more fun at her birthday party than I’ve had at some of my own.   

Is it weird that when I’m on the bus ride home, I get excited because it means I'll soon be reunited with my cat? I prefer Ciabatta’s company over that of most humans, and if that’s not a red flag, I don’t know what is. So let my story be a warning to the rest of you:when picking out your next pet, get something less adorable and with a shorter lifespan. Like sea monkeys. No one has ever heard of a crazy sea monkey lady.

Jacey Gibb
The Other Press (Douglas College)

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