I like to post pictures of my cat. She’s a cute cat and can often take a lot of funny pictures too. Some might say it’s weird for a guy to post so many pictures of a cat, but I can’t help it. I might lose some of that fabled “man credit” by posting like a crazy menopausal lady, but um…I don’t really care if it’s not “manly.” Zoe is totes adorbs and I am going to share it with everyone
And if you see us, she’s very attached to her “cat-daddy.” This term comes from a girl I dated for a hot second. She liked that I was a good “cat-daddy.” Zoe likes to rub her face on my beard, and stays pretty close. When my sister moved in with me this past summer, she wasn’t exactly in favor of a roommate let alone two other cats creeping on our style. Our style being just the two of us in an old apartment that I would realize after I left smelled a bit like balls. She’s getting used to it, slowly, but I spoiled her quite a bit over the past few years. She knows how to get what she wants from me. I can’t help it.
But Zoe didn’t always love me, and she has a reason to have trust issues. She didn’t have the best kitten years. I wasn’t her dad until she was already a year old. I’m not sure how this is possible, but the people who owned her before me did not show her much love, and they saw the kitten version of her! She’s still cute at 5 years old, how could she not have been maddeningly adorable as a kitten? But apparently, that wasn’t enough.
The first time I ever heard of Zoe was when a friend of mine found her on the street. She was starving and dirty, but had a tag on her. So, my friend, Anne, and her kids cleaned her and fed her and looked for her owners, but she had called me to see if I might have been interested in taking her in case they couldn’t. But at the time I was renting a townhome with two others and one had a cat allergy, so that wouldn’t have been possible anyway. And they found the owners, who were on vacation, and claimed they hired someone who didn’t do their job well.
But Zoe kept returning to Anne’s house for food and comfort. Zoe’s owners hardly let her inside (and she was tiny at this point. Less than a year old). And then one day, the neighbors asked Anne if she could watch Zoe for a week while they were on vacation.
And then they moved. Yeah. They essentially put Zoe in a basket, rang Anne’s doorbell, and got the hell out of town. And Anne would have taken her, but she already had a dog and three cats. Poor Zoe had nowhere to go.
But my situation had changed. I got my first apartment on my own and was making a decent living. Anne asked if I would be interested, and convinced me to go an meet her. So I did. On the way to the bathroom they were keeping Zoe in (she was too scared to be around the other animals), Anne’s young daughter asked if I would give Zoe a home. If I could help her. I have to say, sic’ing her daughter on me was brilliant. How can you say no to a 10 year old worried about an abandoned cat?
We got to the bathroom. Zoe was trying to hide in the back of the tub. We sat there and talked and Zoe shook at the sight of me. Another human she was unsure of. Anne and her kids were the first kind people she had met at that point, but it was a house with a lot of animals and noises. I reached out to her, she sniffed my hand and swatted at me and then tried to somehow get closer to the wall. With a fresh new scratch and a look of fear and hated from a 6 pound ball of fur, I turned to Anne and said “Yeah, I’ll take her.” She was hurting, she was afraid, and she had trust issues, and she didn’t like me much. And I couldn’t possibly say no.
For the first two nights, Zoe sat at my window and cried, and barely ate. And if I went near her, she hissed and swiped at me. So at 3AM on the second night, I went down to the Wawa at the end of my block, back when they sold meat by the pound, and got some turkey, ham, and roast beef. She ate a little turkey, then cried at the window. She ate some roast beef, and cried at the window. Then she had a piece of ham, and curled up on a towell and went to sleep purring. I found my secret weapon to her heart. Ham. Even now, I can get her to forgive me for anything with a piece of ham.
At the end of the first week, I sat on my floor and let her sniff at me. She circled me, rubbed her face against my legs, then got on my knee, sniffed my face. I was preparing for her to scratch my face or bite me. Instead, she rubbed her nose right into my beard. Then she backed up, sniffed again, and rand the other side of her face against my beard. And then she kept at it. Later that night, she jumped onto my bed, rubbed her face on my beard, and curled up next to me. I gave her a belly rub and I found my second secret weapon. Belly Rubs. This became the norm. Beard and belly rubs. And she loved me.
We’ve been together for a while now. I’m an introvert, I prefer being alone, but even introverts can sometimes feel lonely. Get a cat. Zoe never lets me feel lonely. She’ll jump on me and rub her face on my beard. If I am stressed at work, same thing. She takes care of me in her own way. I don’t date much. I kind of hate dating, but when a date’s gone badly, or a short lived romance ended, she’d know. She’d sit on me, purr, and remind me that I had her. And I’d give her ham. It’s a good relationship.
I’m not dating anyone right now. Sure, there might be some people I know that might be nice to go on a date with, but I’ve just never been big on dating (I’m awesome at relationships, just not on the dating part). This Valentine’s Day, I’ll feel sorry for myself for the obligated ten seconds, like all single people are obligated to do, and then Zoe will rub her face on my beard, I’ll pet her belly, we’ll play a little bit, and she’ll fall sleep on my office chair, which is basically hers now anyway. Would I like a significant other? At some point, that would be nice. But for now, Zoe is my Valentine, and I’m perfectly happy with that.