I was a cat in a past life. All the signs are there: I nap on my back with my wrists limp as I dream of chasing birds. I like to sit at my living room window and swat the Venetian blind cords. I’m picky as hell with food (except for fish), friends, friends of friends, lovers. People call me a snob and a loner. The other day, my roommate made a quip about me being that guy at a party who hides in the master bedroom to play with the house cat.
I love cats. And I blame this bizarre obsession on my childhood. Growing up, all we had were cats. We had so many at one point that we stopped naming them. Instead, we used variations on the word “cat”: kitty, kitten, kits — you get the idea. I presently don’t own a cat because my apartment doesn’t allow pets, but thankfully I live in a neighbourhood that purrs with cats.
As a student, my proximity to cats is a golden distraction from schoolwork. I’ve even used the “cat ate my homework” excuse.
I won’t tell you where I live for two reasons: 1) because people tend to either love or hate the feline species, and I wouldn’t want any readers maliciously stalking these unsuspecting pussies; and 2) because as a writer, I want to enjoy their aloof company all by myself. All I have to do is walk for a couple blocks and I’m in furball heaven. I’ve even mastered a high-pitched noise to call them from miles away. My teeth and tongue start to chatter in a strange tuk tuk tuk sound, and all the neighbourhood cats flock toward me. One day, when my illusion of making it as a famous writer finally breaks, I’ll live in the sewers and declare myself King of the Cats. Just imagine the crazy pigeon lady from Home Alone 2, only not as shabby.
I get more emotional over a dead animal in a movie or TV show than I do when a person gets blown up, thrown off a building, eaten by zombies, etc. (Ever seen Hocus Pocus? I still howl like a kitten in pain when Binx the cat gets flattened by a truck.) I figure I probably care more about animals than I do about people. (I’ll say “probably” here to avoid coming across as entirely apathetic toward the human species and, ergo, a potential mass murderer.)
I should make a public plea to anyone who sees me chasing cats: please alert the local authorities, or at least the owners. I’ve stopped thinking like a human, you see, and all I want to do when I spot a fellow feline is roll on the ground and play. And if you happen to attend the same gathering as me, please ensure I don’t enter random bedrooms in search of four-footed creatures. I’m only just beginning my career as a writer — I don’t want to be known as “crazy cat guy” who shows up at readings with a furry friend on a leash, or worse yet, balanced on my shoulder.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, someone is shining a laser pen onto the wall beside me, and I must puncture that tiny red dot.