I didn’t get my first dog until I was 35-years old. My dad wasn’t what you’d call a pet kind of guy. Now, it’s true that we did have a couple of cats over the years when I was kid, but a dog was simply out of the question. Whenever I begged for a puppy, he’d remind me that our yard wasn’t fenced and he didn’t want the responsibilities that came with a dog – the walks, the vets, the food. He knew (rightly so) that after a couple gleeful romps with me or my brother through the neighborhood, the task of exercising the dog would fall to my mom.
As for the cats, first Spook and then Sam, well, they were a testament to just how much my dad adored my mom. My father hated cats and never really trusted them. His entire side of the family firmly believed that cats kill babies by stealing the kid’s breath. I kid you not – killer kitties.
Of course, my mom always thought that was charmingly ridiculous, as did all of us kids. So, naturally, the jokes flowed like beer at Octoberfest when, a couple years after my dad passed away, my sister got our mom a cat for her birthday. Keep the kids away from the new cat, she’ll murder them in a New York minute!
Sophie is an older rescue. She sleeps most of the time, and runs that house like a boss cat should. Everyone really likes her. Well, everyone but me. That came as a surprise to everyone because I dig cats. I frequently remind my boys and husband that Athena, our cat, is my favorite member of our family.
So, what’s my issue with Sophie? Well, first of all she terrorized our dog Skeelo on their one and only meeting. He’s the sweetest dog ever and she freaked him out by nearly kicking the snot out of him. He had to hide behind me for safety. There’s that, and the fact that she’s homophobic.
It’s true. She has no issue with any of my brothers petting her, but if Kelly or I move a hand in her general direction, she hisses and bites at us. She actually has growled at me for just walking into the same room as her.
I know what you’re thinking, she smells Skeelo on us. But she has no problem with the boys petting her – and he’s their dog too! And consider this: she hisses at me over the phone. See, I call my mom every day and during our conversations I am frequently asked if I’d like to talk with Sophie, who is cuddled up next to my mom, curiously rubbing against the phone.
Look, I never want to talk to any animal on the phone for the same reason I never talk to babies on the phone: they can’t talk back. But like all crazy cat ladies, my mom holds the receiver to Sophie’s ear and says, “Say hi to Chris, Sophie.” And Sophie promptly hisses.
You read that correctly, the cat hisses when she hears my name. I’m pretty sure she’s calling me every name in the book, or spouting hate speech that would make the Westboro Baptist crowd blush.
But I’ve decided to love Sophie for who she is. If my mom loves that cat, that’s good enough for me. After all, if my mom can love Kelly for 31 years simply because I love him, the least I can do is try to work it out with Sophie.
But be warned, cat: try to steal my breath and all bets are off!