I used to judge people who openly were compulsively obsessed with their furry friends. I judged them because I had no idea how you could completely lose yourself to an animal in that way.
Then, one day, in April 2019 a woman left a little kitten with me to foster while she found him a permanent home. I was clear with her: I could only keep him for 2 months at the most. I had plans and flights booked and furry beings didn’t fit into those. I gave him a home, named him Danger Zone, googled about kitty-litter and cat-development and played with him knowing that I’d have to give him up soon.
At 2 months when I hadn’t heard anything from his original owner I contacted her “How’s the forever-home search going?” She never replied. And then literally disappeared. I half-heartedly began to reach out and search for someone who could take him, convincing myself that it was best for him (and me). In the meantime I found cat-sitters to stay in my home while I went on my trips.
But something had happened… Somewhere along the way, I have become one of those people. I’m completely obsessed with my cat. He pre-occupies my mind all the time and I miss him when we are apart for more than 8 hours.
It’s the way he reaches out his paws to touch my toes when I’m standing by the basin to do my makeup or at the sink to wash the dishes or hold my hand when I’m working and the way he throws his entire body onto mine so as much of us is touching whenever I am still long enough, and the way he rests his little head on one ankle and stretches his back paws out to touch the other while I’m sleeping, and the way he cries at the door when he hears me coming home, and the way he looks at me, with this deeply devoted love when I kiss his little nose, and the way he nips me when I’ve gone away too long, to let me know that he’s not pleased… Somewhere in there, he has completely captured every piece of my heart and wrapped it around his silky little paws.
On my last return, things changed. I made one final attempt to find him another home. And found myself completely depressed and in tears the entire time. I surrendered to this new love of mine and completely accepted that he is to be part of my life from now on. And it changed everything.
There’s science behind this inexplicable obsession with my cat.
Cats are, by nature wild and a product of natural and not artificial, selection — they domesticated themselves — choosing humans to live with. Unlike dogs, cats aren’t programmed to please people. They choose you which explains why cat people seem to have an incredibly deep bond with their pets. It means that when cats give and receive affection, it’s not necessarily in exchange for food or because their DNA is hardwired to do so. It’s because, like humans, they feel inspired to express it.
I have always known it but now am not afraid to proudly say, I am 100% a cat person. A renowned study by psychologist Samuel Gosling examined personality traits of people who label themselves “dog people” and “cat people,” and found that cat-lovers tended to be less cooperative, compassionate, and outgoing than those who dig dogs and tended toward more anxiety and depression. Cat people were also found to be more artistic and intellectually curious than dog people.
Danger has taught me so much about life and love. I see him as a divine teacher. “The Egyptians looked at the cat the same way they looked at everything, as a way to explain and personify the universe,” explains Egyptologist Melinda Hartwig. They saw cats as spiritual protectors of the astral plane and powerful healers.
Also, he’s magical. Since ancient times, cats have been a vital part of the magical arts and have left their mark on the world of divination, folk healing, and occult sciences. So much so that all over Europe across the 11th century, the Catholic Church tortured and executed cat owners for witchery.
And so I find myself in a curious position where my life has expanded to hold both of us. Next year we are moving together, a journey that heightens my anxiety as I navigate the challenges that bringing and Mexican cat to Europe entails and worry that he will hate this journey with the hope that he survives it. His flights are booked, the airline-specific cat-crate purchased and lined with sheepskin, his pet-passport is on the way and micro-chip and rabies vaccine soon to be inserted. All this extra effort because my heart has been stretched wide with a new obsessive kind of love.