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I Hate Cats

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Ever since I've known my wife she's had a mammal that grew fur in her home. When we first met it was Rat, a gray and white cat that looked like a Virginia Honeyed Ham with four legs, and Tiger, a sleek house cat with a tuxedo coat. Then there was Mr. Piddles (Piddles for short), a rabbit she bought for $25 at a subway station after being told he would be a cute and cuddly dwarf. Besides the allergic reaction she had that swelled her eyes shut, Piddles is now bigger than a basketball and lives a tortured life in a rabbit condo at my mother-in-law's home. Then during a particularly difficult time in our lives there was Harry Potter, a mutt she got from a shelter out in New Jersey who was the apparent offspring of the devil. That dog took a bite out of me, my wife, Tiger and one of her neighbors before she finally gave up hope and returned him to the shelter. Then she added Lucky (the stupidest tabby to walk the earth) to the brood and then Peanut Butter, the best, friendliest most protective mini long-haired Dachshund ever. Before me there were cockateels, other cats and dogs that trace all the way back to when my wife's parents were dating. A few years back even I (during a stint of unemployment when I sank to the point of hopelessness) adopted 2 stray cats. But I had to give them up to neighbors and friends midway through their kitten-hood.

How lovely.

Not really.

I grew up allergic to most things and as I child I was devastated to know that I couldn't own a cat or dog if I didn't want to spend all my time at home sneezing and clawing out my eyeballs. So I was spared the enviable duty of picking up poop after a dog, housebreaking them so they didn't pee on everything, cleaning up kitty litter, going outside at all insane hours of the night or morning no matter the weather so the dog can pee, getting licked in the face by an animal that is completely comfortable with spending the majority of its spare time licking clean its crotch and butt and eating off the floor, and buying food for anyone other than humans. In the eyes of pet owners, my childhood was probably devoid of the charm that comes with having the love of an animal. A lot of these people walk the streets everyday covered with cat fur thinking it's okay that their furniture looks like someone took a weed whacker to it and that their houses smell like mini zoos. But there are those pet owners who are truly on top of their experience. Their houses are spotless. If their animals shed, they maintain their coats, brushing and cleaning them on a regular basis and making sure they are spayed or neutered while they are still virgins.

Until me, my wife was not this latter person.

I have witnessed the births of entire clans of cats and seen furballs the size of tumbleweeds. Oh yeah, and I still have allergies. But I'm a man, and most of us men can attest to the fact that a woman who loves us (other than mom) dismisses any and all physical complaints, health concerns, or ailments without a doctor's note as pure hypochondria on our parts. Sometimes they say lovingly, "You're such a big baby." And then during adverse times they spew, "You're such a $^%&*@! baby!"

When I knew I was allergic to the animal kingdom, my wife (then just my girlfriend) told me that she paid rent and it was her place. To this day I'm still not exactly sure what this had to do with me having allergies. She also suggested that I take medication when I came over. Because I hate pills and because this was a ridiculous request, I simply suffered. I was that whipped. And then came the doctor's note. Guilt soon followed, but things stayed the same. And eventually came baby and like the Johnson & Johnson commercial says, "Everything Changed."

We bet correctly on the probability of my allergies being a part of my daughter's life and began cleaning house. Lucky had to go. Besides being dumb, he was also crazy and suffered some sort of post traumatic meltdown after we moved in together. He screamed all day and all night during the final months of my wife's pregnancy and finally she gave me the go ahead. He was gone by the end of the week. When the baby was born, Peanut Butter, still a puppy, got so excited about the new addition that he didn't sleep, he spent all his time trying to jump into her crib which caused New Daddy (me) to see red. For his safety (from me) we shipped him off to her mother's until he was mature enough to handle the existence of a person roughly his same size. And he truly is a champ...now.

Then there's Tiger, a cat who is extremely possessive of her owner. The two of them have this thing with each other which apparently pales in comparison to my desire to breathe clean air. Read anything on animal dander and you'll be horrified or at least slightly surprised. I swear I catch this cat liking her whosiewhatsit every chance she gets and when she takes a dump it stinks up everything within sight of the litterbox. I've been respectful of the relationship between my wife and her cat, but I recently decided that I hate cats, period. Unlike dogs, they never learn their place and I actually believe because dogs can be trained, they're the smarter animal. If you put food, plastic, rocks, anything down in front of a dog he will lick the bowl clean, a cat decides what it wants to eat. A dog will learn to sleep in it's bed, sleep outside your room, guard the house, carry your slippers, respond to its name, pull sleds, etc. You can yell a cat's name until you turn blue (an impossibility for a person with my complexion) and they will never learn their name. The allergists (my daughter's and mine) have advised to get rid of the cat or at least keep her out of all the bedrooms (my son was recently diagnosed as being allergic as well). I can't count how many times I've been awakened in the middle of the night to the sound of this deranged feline squealing and scratching at my bedroom door trying to get in. In my angered, half-sleep stupor I've launched all out assaults against her, without contacts or light, stumbling and crashing around my apartment like a wild man.

I could go on forever, but I won't. I hate cats. I'm happy that in spite of my love for my wife, I'm no longer riding the fence on what has been in my heart for so long.


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