You just might be a cat person if ...

December 30, 1998|By Liz Douglas

There are certain facts of life when you own a cat.

[cont. from lifestyle]

* Cat hair-enhanced fabrics will be part of your "look."

* You'll be more popular with your felines as the weather gets colder.

* Food is a cat's only motivator.

The more cats you have, the more this is true.

Just an update on my personal cat situation since my husband and I merged cat households: Louie, No. 1 cat, is once again a happy kitty now that Billie, one of my husband's cats and Louie's lookalike, has gone to Ringgold to live with Grandma Gwen, my mother-in-law. At the same time, Billie, who definitely did not like being a stepcat and expressed it by coming out of hiding only to leave unpleasant gifts in the kitchen, is loving being top cat and earning his keep catching mousies in her very old house.

Cats No. 2 and 3, Rufus and Moe, have barely noticed the difference since Billie left. Rufus is refining the game of jumping into whatever seat was most recently vacated moments before the person who vacated it returns. Moe, on the other hand, has been taken off catnip after going on a bender and breaking a favorite wedding present.


Stepcat Jeffrey the Unflappable continues to be so. We anticipated some separation anxiety after his litter-mate Billie, from whom he hadn't been apart for his entire eight years, was sent to the minors, but his primary reaction seems to be, "Billie who?"

Some other cat person truisms:

* Try as you might to do otherwise, you find yourself with an enormous collection of cat-related stuff - calendars, knickknacks, pillows, T-shirts, etc. And it starts to take over. You start to stop at any kind of decoration with pointy ears and whiskers and go, "Aaww."

* It's fascinating to watch a cat do nothing. Of course, they like to watch you, too. And they always win a staring contest.

We're certain, by the way, that Rufus is not really a cat, but some alien being who took on cat form as a way to observe humans. He has spooky "X-Files"-type eyes, spends an inordinate amount of time watching out the window - a big cat trait, I realize - and does other un-catlike things. I dismissed my husband's Close Encounter claims until the day Rufus jumped on the table and broke a glass. When I scolded him, he jumped down and went to the corner, where he sat facing the wall in obvious shame. It was an eerie sight.

The key? Cats feel no shame. Moe would have followed his scolding by next knocking off the table the crystal salt shaker - which is shaped like a cat, of course.

You know you're a cat person when:

* You can manage to avoid the grocery store until the refrigerator has nothing but a jar of pickle brine and some mustard packets from McDonald's, but you'll fight through a driving sleet storm when you reach that last can of Friskies.

* You decide that cat hair makes a nice garnish with lasagna.

* You start signing the kitties' names to your Christmas cards.

As anyone with pets knows, they really become a part of your family, but, I have to admit, it was really nice of the 1996 Polk Hagerstown City Directory to acknowledge that fact.

Imagine my glee when, checking out my name - think Steve Martin in "The Jerk": "The new phone books are here! The new phone books are here. I am somebody." - Ifind Douglas, Elizabeth, editor Harold Mail, and below it, Douglas, Louie, same address and phone number, no apparent occupation.

Liz Douglas is Assistant Lifestyle Editor. Louie Douglas is a cat.

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