Well, it’s official. At 27 years of age, roughly 33 years ahead of schedule, I’m a cat lady. That is to say, I am a single, non-deformed woman under 60 with no roommates and more than one cat. Sound the alarms! Send me my gift bag!
I decided to take the plunge into Old Maid territory because of Sandra Dee (aka Sandy, pictured), a one-year-old female cat rescued during the eponymous hurricane. I first heard about Sandy through Twitter—it’s worth noting that I got my first cat, Godzilla, through Craigslist, so this is something of a pattern—but was pretty much a goner once I met her. Did I mention she’s missing a paw? Also she’s missing a paw.
I realize of course that cats, however cute and resilient, have little to do with books, other than their storied history of laying on or around them. But the truth is that so much of what resonates with me emotionally comes from growing up with pets, and learning to appreciate the unique experience of caring for something that is almost entirely dependent on your goodwill. This is of course true for dogs and horses and birds and iguanas as well, but cats—ever-brooding ever-plotting ever-sleeping sass machines that they are—have always been the species closest to my heart.
Animals teach us compassion. They help us understand selflessness, and empathy, some of the same traits that enable us to relate to a tragic story or a great character in literature. Ultimately, I think animals make people better people.
In any case, the main reason for this diatribe is to issue an official Internet thank you, to a good Samaritan for rescuing Sandy in the first place, to Infinite Hope/Hope Veterinary Clinic in Brooklyn for getting her healthy, to her foster parent in the Bronx for providing a temporary home, and to Godzilla for not punishing me for this decision by peeing in my shoes. If this rant resonated even slightly with you, do me a favor and look up an animal shelter in your neighborhood. Trust me, they’re there (and if they’re not, Infinite Hope is). I’m not saying go adopt a pet, but a $20, $10 or even $5 donation is just a small way to help out an organization that’s doing a lot of good.
And if this rant didn’t resonate with you, well, maybe you’re just a dog person.