On Embracing “Cat Lady” (but not actually embracing it at all)

Two years ago today, I went to the animal shelter in Chicago with my friend Becky just to take a look at the animals.

Two hours later, I walked out with a very grumpy pit bull-panther mix (I believe we should shorten that to  “pitther” or “panbull” or “pittpan” – all ring equally of faux-pretension and violence, which suits him perfectly).  At that time, he was named York, but he would later spend nearly half a year being called simply Cat (put your best Borat accent on it and you’ve got it halfway right). And now he is Carlos, AKA Mr. Beast. That cat adoption was simultaneously the stupidest decision I’ve ever made and also the best. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

My two favorite things about Carlos (besides his eyeballs) are his half ear and his snaggletooth. Adorable!

But honestly, I have a cat with as much personality as me, and that’s not something you find every single day. We’re a good match and I hope that the life he lives now is so much better than the life he had before. They told me he’d never survive a major surgery (at the time, it was a selling point) but he’s gone through two and come out no worse for the wear. He’s tough as nails. He’s fiercely protective and insanely ballsy – I wish I had a video of him attacking Ely’s golden retriever, Archie. (Archie was okay in the end, just a little scared.) He’s also a wonderful snuggler, a serious investigator, a lover of shower curtains and clean sheets, and usually very hungry.

My favorite stories are the butter story, the glass of water, and the night before I moved away from Chicago.

Quickly, because I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s nearly impossible for anyone who doesn’t own that particular cat to love it and therefore none of you care (I don’t like any of my friends’ cats; I don’t like any cats I see on the street; I just like Carlos):

The night before I left Chicago, we had people over. At the end of the night, I opened the back door that led to our back  porch and down the back stairs and there was Carlos, sitting patiently outside the door. I have no idea how he got out. I have no idea why he didn’t run. But I am eternally grateful for the fact that I got to bring him back to Denver with me the next day. Let me tell you, cats love spending 18 hours in a car. Just love it.

John always used to have a water glass with him. When he’d come visit, he’d leave his glass on my desk. Carlos loves to explore – there’s nothing you can bring into a house that he doesn’t want to investigate. So he had his nose in the water glass and John yelled at him to get away. Carlos looked directly at John, and then swirled his paw around in the water, shook the paw off, and walked away. It was brilliant.

And there you go.

I’m going to be stuck with this small monster for a very long time, and I’m okay with that. He’s the best.

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