I'm not a cat person. Well, of course I'm not a half-cat half-human monster of the David Bowie / late-night horror movie variety. But I am also not one of those people who are "into" cats.
Nothing against cats. They're adorable. They purr and mew and slink around. They comfort and nuzzle. They're furry and fuzzy and make great Internet fodder. But I am not, nor do I think I ever will be, one of those people who, say, buys cat-related attire, or a small porcelain army of feline figurines. You won't see me with my "I LOVE MY KITTY" bumper sticker rolling to the store to buy some more catnip mice or sticks with feathers on them or extensive carpeted walkways to encircle the entire house so my cat can watch me from above, everywhere I go, waiting patiently for the day when he takes over. Nope.
I have a cat. I like him. He's cool. His name is Jim Traficant - Jimbo for short. I was later reminded that, to be truly clever, I should have named him Jim Trafi-cat. D'oh! But Jimbo is fine; there's enough Chairman Meows in the world.
Jimbo came one day when a friend and I were getting ready to get into my car and go someplace. He came out from the bushes, an all-black small, skinny kitten, and just jumped into my car as if to say "let's roll." I rolled right to Sparkle to get some basic kitty supplies, and that was eight years ago. He grew from a little fuzzy kitten into a bigger, fuzzier cat. Maybe a little too big.
We get along well. Jimbo chills while I'm at work, I feed him and give him water, he poops, we watch TV together at the end of the night, he keeps my feet warm. We play, we pet, we scritch behind the ears. He liked his toys a lot more when he was little, but now they just collect dust, forgotten under the couch or fridge until I clean. Nowadays, he gets excited by them for about 10 seconds, then forgets about them for another six months.
Jimbo can be really cool. He can scurry all over chasing a hair tie or a ball like a lunatic. He will sit contentedly on the windowsill all regal-like. He loves getting his throat rubbed. He sings along with me when I belt out a song while doing dishes. He's pretty handsome. He cuddles with a select few of my friends and even me if he's in the mood.
But Jimbo also does all the stereotypical annoying cat stuff: lays in the center of the bed so you have to contort around him painfully, hacks hairballs or cat puke right where I'm sure to step in it, claws and shreds every piece of furniture I have, rubs his hair onto every piece of white fabric he can. He's killed a bird before, and possibly a rat. He licks my feet while I brush my teeth every morning (ugh). He bites my friends. He rips gashes in my friends. He ruins pantyhose. Basically, he will find a way to bring you a world of pain.
I've tried training and scolding, but who am I to quell this beast? It's his nature, I guess. Cats seem like they will always be rogue, like they would just as soon be back out in the wild, stalking stuff. Half the time I feel like I'm just interrupting his naptime. The whole "you have to earn their loyalty and affection" thing is true, and definitely an argument in the whole cats vs. dogs war. Sorry, Jimbo, I love you and have cherished our adventures together, but I'm going on record as being a dog person.
I grew up with two dogs. When I look at my arms, I don't see any claw-scars from them. They seem to enjoy my company and anticipate my visit for more than just getting food. They like to play and go on adventures. I know that pets don't owe me anything, that I am to accept them for their nature. But my dogs have never gone tinkle in my basket of clean laundry before, so therefore I must give them the edge.
That is, until the other day when I heard that someone around here is a hedgehog breeder. Sorry, cats and dogs, but you may soon be bumped down a peg in the pet world. If I do somehow manage to get my hands on a hedgehog (the new reigning Internet video animal, btw), Jimbo, please, don't kill it.