Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Fur richer or poorer

It’s still strange to me to reconcile the fact that I have, technically, been the (co-)owner of five different cats over the course of the past six years. Two of them succumbed to illness, and three of them are still with us. Of those three, two are kittens and therefore have tons of time left on the clock, and one fully inhabits and embraces the role of grand old kitty dowager and will no doubt outlive us all. So yeah, a parade of felines through my home over the better part of a decade, and no end in sight.

This is weird because I grew up largely indifferent to cats until I became horribly allergic to them in my adolescence, which coincided with discovering the cottage industry of cat-hatred celebration. I owned a well-worn copy of 101 Uses For A Dead Cat in high school, which I found endlessly hilarious, because teenagers are stupid. I could have very likely gone my entire life with cats simply being Not My Thing, but for the fact that I fell in love with and married a veterinarian. And bringing home slightly misfit cats who have nowhere else to go is one of my wife’s occupational hazards, and I’ve accepted that to the point where I don’t even think about it day to day, and then when I do think about it, huh, look at that, it’s not just “my roommate has a cat” or something but “I have a bunch of cats”. I seriously considered cashing in some of my credit card reward points this quarter on a PetSmart gift card because we always seem to be running low on kitten chow.

All of which also leads to a question which is, have you guys seen My Cat From Hell on Animal Planet?

The name, the tats, the facial hair, the fashion sense ... it's like he's terrified of being mistaken for a Crazy Cat Lady for some reason.
Jackson Galaxy is not exactly the Mantracker but he is quite a watchable character nonetheless. It is fairly amusing to watch him go into situations where a cat is terrorizing its humans, and then proceed to tell the humans that it certainly isn’t the cat’s fault, ahem, ahem. (This pushes much the same button as when Jo on Supernanny sits down with the parents and explains that children don’t just spontaneously erupt in full-blown brattiness of their own accord, so the perceived appeal for you in one should indicate how much you’d find in the other.) My Cat From Hell also conveniently falls into the reality-category of “everything turns out fine” so there’s absolutely no tension in any given episode, as you know going into it all the players are going to live happily ever after no matter how many legs they have.

I think my wife enjoys My Cat From Hell because it consistently pushes the message that cats are living creatures who do a fair amount of (their own version of) thinking and feeling, all of which needs to be taken into account and respected for the cat’s own good. This of course stands in contrast to all the clients who come into her clinic looking to have their cats surgically or pharmacologically modified in some way, as if they were electronic appliances that broke at an inconvenient time. If everyone approached pet ownership the way that Jackson Galaxy advocates, my wife’s job would be immensely easier. But we don’t live in a perfect world, so when I’m flipping through the channel guide and see My Cat From Hell, the least I can do is offer my wife another chance to watch.

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