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We’ve been wrong about single women with cats. I know the old narrative about the cat woman: She dates a bunch of guys, none of them work out, her friends seemingly have an easy time finding guys, they move on with their marriages and babies and picket fences. Now, an older woman is left single and alone and wearing big ugly coats. So she buys a cat to fill the space in her life. She looks at this cat one day and thinks, “I can barely smell the cat pee,” and buys her next cat. Then another. Then another. Years later she looks around her apartment, magazines stacked up to the ceilings, ugly coats strewn about the floor, no daylight, and she realizes one of the cats is missing. It’s quite possible that cat has actually died. She asks her cat Wendy if she’s seen Walter because she knows they’re kind of a “thing” and Wendy looks up and nods her head. The woman says, “Of course I know The View is on! That’s why I’m calling Walter! He loves this show!” She looks by the litter box (the one she rarely cleans because, “The kids don’t like it too clean”) and all she finds is her oldest cat, Bilbo. She says, “Bilbo, where could Walter have gone?” At that moment she realizes Walter isn’t a cat, it was her last boyfriend. They’d gone on a couple dates and he never answered her calls after they had sex. She cries out, “WALTER! WHY?!” And drops to her knees crying. Yes, we all know that old narrative. And that person might (probably) exist. But I’m here to say, it’s not fair.
I once dated a girl with a cat who held back that information. I guess it was because of the word association that we do for single girl with cat. It always leads us to alone, pathetic, sad, and, for me, heavy coats. And believe me, I made fun of her for having the cat. I’d never dated a cat girl and brought up the sad stuff just mentioned and then I’d calm her down by saying, “Don’t worry, I love pussy!” Which was even more fun. But what I came to find out is that a cat is the best preparation for a boyfriend. The cat doesn’t just come to you when called. He comes to you on his own terms, when he’s ready. That cat eats when he’s hungry, listens until the story goes too long, and fucks with you whenever it’s going to be funny. That cat will wake you up in the middle of the night because he’s a little horny and just can’t sleep. And he’s not even subtle about it. That cat was like meeting myself. He wasn’t a bad omen, he was a future boyfriend drill instructor.
If anything, we men should fear the single girl with a dog. That relationship is a setup for disaster. Purchasing a dog is like obtaining the perfect boyfriend. He comes when he’s beckoned, he’s always excited to see you, he kisses you even after he masturbates. A dog only takes a girl down the path of disappointment. It’s an exercise in dominance that involves no compromise and a future of wondering why a guy won’t lay with her on the couch after every fight with a coworker. A fight we know she’s wrong about.
And I’m not even mentioning when she got the dog. That was purchased at a really low point. A moment where the attention of friends and family just weren’t enough. All they’d talk about is “Getting out there” and how she needs to “relax with the texts.” Their solutions didn’t agree with her sitcom style ideas of relationships. She saw that dog in the window. She said hello to him and he immediately agreed with every single one of her gripes about guys and moms and Tinder. She found her best friend. The one that will never tell her she’s wrong. She named him Todd and saw nothing wrong with that at all.
Sometimes cliches are wrong. The single girl with a cat isn’t our enemy. She’s the one who understands moods and moments and space. She’s the one that understands a fight is necessary. She’s the one that kind of gets the refractory period. And maybe this doesn’t make sense right now, but one day it could. The day you’re sitting on a couch in your girlfriend’s apartment. She’s under your numb arm and her dog, Todd, on your leg. You’ll do the math. The fact that she calls Todd her son, her tears when SHE took too long to get ready, her uncanny ability to not like being fucked with. You’ll think back to Jessica, that girl whose cat never let you sleep. You start to get it. You whisper, “Jessica! Why?” And your girlfriend shushes you because she can’t hear the Kardashians..