I’m a cat lady.
I wasn’t always. I had dogs growing up, the kind that rode unrestrained in cars, heads out the side window, ears flattened back in the breeze. I like the routine of walks, and the sociability of dog people chatting in the park. I like the way dogs demand an engagement with the urban environment: the slow, ponderous walks around the neighbourhood visiting this, this and that light post, those trees, that special spot on the curb. I like that dogs just want to hang with you, wherever, whenever. The best definition I’ve ever heard of a successful small business is one in which your dog accompanies you to work.
Until now, I’ve thought of myself as a dog person who just happens to love a cat. A stupid, devoted dog kind of love, but I assure you: she’s a very special cat. One night last week, another cat was outside my front door meowing pitifully, anxious to get inside. I live in fear of Henry being lost, so I quickly called the number on the visitor’s tag, and his person came to fetch him. At the door, she explained that they’d just moved to the next street, and it was only the second time he’d been out. She was terribly grateful I’d called and, as she pointed to my chest, she told me gravely “You’re a real cat lady.” Looking down, I realised I was wearing this beautiful new brooch my friend Emily gave me last week, a mirrored perspex silhouette of a cat.