At some point in my life, I decided I wanted a cat. I got Jenkins in college (named for Third Eye Blind lead singer Stephan Jenkins, used to date Charlize Theron, leads a semi-charmed life), and then I somehow ended up with Kane (named for Blackhawks superstar Patrick Kane, #88, wears his hair in a curly mullet, maybe possibly allegedly assaulted a cab driver back when he was a rookie), and then I somehow ended up with Braddigan (named for Brad Corrigan, Dispatch guitarist, frequently visits Managua, Nicaragua, which is one of my favorite places on the planet).
People always talk about how cats are so low-maintenance. You just gotta scoop their shit and piss out of the litter box every few days, feed them, and … that’s it. That’s all it takes. Maybe throw them in the car and take them to the vet if they stop moving, but that’s optional. Encouraged, but optional.
THIS PREMISE IS A BOLD- OR MAYBE BALD-FACED LIE (which is it though, for real?). The next time someone at the pet store or on Facebook or at the mall or whatever tries to convince you to take that cute little kitten home? Say no. Run. Run away, run fast, do not look back. Because…
1. Cats piss and shit in your house.
Cats don’t go outside to do their business like dogs do. They don’t do their business in toilets and flush it down into sewer systems, never to be seen again, like humans do. They just do it in a box, right there in your home, and sometimes they half-assedly scoop some odor-neutralizing gray sprinkles over top of the turds, but not always. And…
2. Sometimes cats don’t even piss and shit in the litter box!
Sometimes their humans leave for an important trip like, I dunno, a honeymoon, and the cats get all stressed out because a DIFFERENT human comes into the house each day to feed them, and this apparently stresses them out so much that they just shit and piss right there on the floor like goddamn animals.
3. Cats cannot be relied upon to be cute.
When you’re on the internet, you see all these cats being cute and adorable and photogenic and jumping into the arms of U.S. veterans or being grumpy in a super likable meme-tastic way. This is just a conspiracy to sell cats to you. And your lonely friends. And your closest family members. Really anybody with a high-speed internet connection. Here’s the part of the story they aren’t telling you: cats are not actually cute. They lick their own assholes (or forget to, and then jump up on your couch with piss mud caked to their shaggy ass cheeks), puke up clumps of their own hair (occasionally mixed with packing tape), shed on/in everything (think that glass of wine you’re drinking is cat hair free? Think again), and their breath? My god. Hot doggie breath is but a warm cloud of comfort compared to the horrors of cat breath.
It’s not all shark costumes and Roombas, people.
4. Cats force you to subscribe to the good ol’ boy system you’ve railed so hard against.
Braddigan is a bully. If he was a human being, he’d be that guy you know with gorgeous hair and chiseled cheekbones who makes fun of fat people and the elderly. He sits around the house waiting for Kane to put himself into a vulnerable position, like using the litter box, and then he pounces. Meanwhile, Kane spends his days tiptoeing through the house, avoiding narrow spaces, and taking the hastiest shits imaginable to avoid being brutally attacked by the bully.
You, as a sensible person against bullying in all forms (student, cyber, and feline), want desperately to stand up for the victim and rehabilitate the aggressor, but unfortunately no B-list celebrity PSA has been developed yet for cat-on-cat violence. The more you know. Instead, you begrudgingly accept that boys will be boys and pour yourself another glass of wine.
5. Cats are why you can’t have nice things.
Cats have razor-sharp daggers on each paw. And they have four paws. So if you do the math, that means they have lots of razor-sharp daggers, and they’re just struttin’ around your house with those things on their feet like it’s no big deal. Just jumping on your chair and your couch and your bed and your dresser and scratching the shit out of everything in the process. Sean and I went furniture shopping yesterday and let me tell you, finding a dining set with 1) no fabric, 2) no cushions, 3) no leather, and 4) no wicker anywhere on the chairs or table isn’t easy.
In the meantime, I can count on zero hands the pieces of furniture Arlo has ruined since we brought him home.
But you can have them declawed! You might be thinking. Yes, yes you can. You can take your cat to some veterinarians (some refuse to do it nowadays) and get their little fingers chopped off to save your furniture, but then you’d feel shitty about yourself because you just had pieces of your cat’s body surgically removed so that he would stop scratching the $219 chair you bought from TJMaxx. And that guilt will eat you alive. So you don’t get your cats declawed, allowing your cats to remain whole while your chair does not, and you regrettably chalk that $219 up to the cost of doing business.
6. Cats are thieves.
Guess what Arlo does when we leave something sitting out on the counter? Nothing. He does nothing. If it’s an especially tempting food item, maybe he’ll sniff the air nearby and drool a little bit.
The cats, on the other hand, are like little fuzzy Robin Hood wannabes, except they don’t turn around and give their loot to the less fortunate. They just keep it for themselves like goddamn animals. Kane steals rubber bands, wine bottle corks, packing tape, masking tape, Scotch tape (really just anything with an adhesive on one side), plastic, and absolutely any type of food or anything that once came into contact with a food item. Oh, this little bag has fresh broccoli in it? Even though I’m a cat who likes to eat meat and wanting to steal this broccoli makes no sense whatsoever, I think I’ll haul it away to my secret hiding spot in the bathroom, devour it, and puke it up later for you to find! I’ll even puke up a little bit of blood, too, to give you an extra special panic attack. It’s just how I show my love.
In conclusion, there are some benefits to having cats. They are small, so even though they want to eat you, it’d be tough for them to actually do it (unless you die in the house and they can feed off your corpse for a few days). They can also kill things for you, like mice or birds or bats, which I think we can all agree are way worse than cats. But really, if you’re considering a new pet, get a dog. Or a painted turtle.