Relationships: Lovers and Pets. Especially Cats.

This post was meant to be the first in a series of fashion commentary on the benefits of wearing clothing tailored for men. Instead it will be a discourse on cats, and next week we will begin discussing clothes.

The change happens because–like many authors of the world–I have cats, have grown up with cats and have always loved their bitter stares and flagrant disapproval of rules. Despite their string eating, ankle-biting, allergy-incurring habits, I still love having their fluffy little feet pitter-patter-crashing through my house at all hours of the night. The only reason they aren’t allowed to sleep in my room is because they have this annoying way of sleeping between my head and Jamie’s, thus eliminating many late-night cuddles. This, of course, is unacceptable.

I pity the couple who is so mismatched in their affection for animals that they cannot compromise on pets. Allergies are tough, but someone who refuses to enjoy pets misses out on all the good chemicals that sooth the brain after a good cuddle from a willing participant of the furry variety. The Egyptions worshipped cats–especially black ones, if the heiroglyphs are to be believed. Further proof they should be loved and rescued.

The true measure of my affection for the wisened devils is evidenced by a story from six years ago, ish. Back in early August of 20007, Jamie and I had been together for a couple of years and she was already tugging on my sleeve and asking me to find a way to acquisition us a child. Aside from knocking over a stork, I was having a hard time figuring out a way to pay for a baby on the black market on the meager salary of a field engineer on a retail pay scale. I made $17/hr at the time, and it seemed like a lot until you figured the cost of a newborn child into the mix.

So I did what any sane furparent would… I found a kitten to distract Jamie for a while. It was like the Universe had it in for me, because I was visiting a frequent client to fix her AOL email (again) when she revealed to me that her neighbor’s cat had died, leaving behind 3 homeless kittens who were barely old enough to be force-weaned. I went in to meet them, ever a sucker for cats, and delightedly chose the one that attacked my shoelaces. Little did I know that would be the defining moment of my relationship with that little black cat.

I brought her home as a surprise for Jamie, who instantly fell in love. Our little ball of evil terror developed into an only slightly bigger ball of evil terror named Sheydan–it means Love, apparently. Luna was too geeky. She was shorthaired, brown with yellow eyes, and in her early years she took great joy out of leaping onto my bare leg with her claws out. I may or may not have screamed and launched her across the room. And Jamie may or may not have found me with blood pouring down my thigh, and asked me why I went straight from the shower to the computer chair…

Ahem. Anyway. The battle of wills between the two of us persisted until one day, three years later, when we adopted her little big sister, Bailey. We also went and got them fixed at the same time, which may have had a little bit to do with Sheydan’s mellowing out. Or maybe she was jealous because Bailey would cuddle for hours. Regardless, a family was knit. When Aubri came along a year later, the evil ball of fur softened into a puddle of overprotective mommy kitty. If the baby so much as cried the cat would be there checking on her. When Aubri was big enough to attack cats in her toddler way, Sheydan just took it like a tolerant parent. Aubri learned how to be gentle and how to be a kitty because our cranky “old” 5-year-old miniature black hair let Aubri cuddle, tug, kiss, squash, and generally adore her.

Until one day she didn’t. And that one cat scratch should have been our warning, but it wasn’t. It took bad breath to tip us off, and by then the tummy tumor growing inside her has reached a capacity too large for her stomach to handle. Our poor sweet black familiar is starving. So tomorrow my longsuffering (and very puffy-eyed, at this point) must take our first shared child to enter the long dream sleep.

But we have lots of adorable pictures of her. Her antics in shoes and hats and attacking my pant leg. Pictures of her checking on Aubri. Her fiery little spirit has inspired us, and while it will be a little while before we open our hearts to another tiny black cat… we will remember her with all the joy that laughter prompted by demon kitty claws can provide.

And so I offer to you our dedication to Sheydan. Thanks to Marc Gunn – Black is the Color (of My Cat’s Fur).

The following is NOT OUR CAT, but I wanted you to be able to hear the song: