By Joey Mills
I am a dog person. I always have been. By that I do not mean I am some sort of mutant canine-human hybrid barking in eternal terror while trying to comprehend the complex emotions of our existence. I mean that for as long as I can remember I have always favoured dogs over cats.
It has been conditioned in me from birth. Not only did we have Charlie the Caen terrier running around the house for almost as long as I can remember, but television leaned heavily towards the bark over the meow. Catwoman was the villain in Batman’s adventures, Garfield spent his life sarcastically tormenting the endlessly cheerful Odie while whatever Jerry had done to Tom, the feline’s constant attempts to murder his furry foe seemed excessive in the extreme. On the other side of the fence, Scooby Doo solved mysteries, Snoopy was the coolest friend any budding Charlie Brown could ask for and even Superman himself, the hero of heroes, was aided and abetted by Krypto the Superdog. See to my young eyes dogs were not just good pets, they were super.
So when it was put to me by my lovely partner that we should get a cat I was understandably sceptical. Not only did we already have a dog, albeit one whose superpower appeared to be destroying household items and urinating on furniture, but I had never trusted cats. “What if it tries to hit me with a mallet?” I cried, to no avail. “What if he eats all our lasagne and calls our dog names?” I pleaded. I even played the “I’m allergic to cats” card, which was in fact no lie. Whenever I was around my ex-girlfriend’s house and I would see the cat my nose would run, I’d be sneezing three times a second and my eyes would run chronically. After I broke up with her I realised that probably wasn’t the cat’s fault, but I digress.
As my new love’s desire for a cat grew she took to showing me pictures of kittens. I kind of nodded along, acknowledged their cuteness and thought nothing of it until the day I returned home from work to find a travel case on our ironing board. I peeked inside and I melted. Not literally, I wasn’t quite that allergic. But the tiny little ball of white and black fur that squinted back at me strummed at my heartstrings straight away. I put my finger out and said something like “So we’ve got a cat. When were you going tell me? You know we don’t have room for OH MY GOD SHES HOLDING MY HAND IN HER PAWS!” That was it. A 26-year old man who could not have been more of a dog person if he’d been saved from a mineshaft collapse by Lassie was utterly in love with a four-week old kitten who would become known as Mystery.
I’m not going to say there weren’t obstacles to my new-found status as a cat lover. A healthy dose of HayMax was needed to overcome the pangs of my allergy to the feline brethren. It turns out no matter how cute they are, I am still allergic to cats. And I certainly never stopped being a dog person, despite my occasionally overwhelming urge to leave our dog outside someone’s house overnight with a note saying “I hope you have waterproof furniture and more patience than I do”. But Mystery has become a wonderful part of our lives.
Her meow is a sweet little note, smaller than Leonardo Di Caprio’s Oscar collection but rewarding to hear. And I will never cease to become a cooing, blithering mess every time she wraps her tail around herself when she is cold. If you have ever owned a cat you will know exactly what I’m talking about. If not then I would heartily recommend it. Even if like me you need a bit of HayMaxTM to stop you sneezing every time you curl up with the little treasure.