The kids thought they got a cat for Christmas. It turns out they got another dog.
Over the holidays, Santa Claus added to our little petting zoo. We now have 19 fish, two dogs, two guinea pigs and a hamster. Add that cat into the mix, and we have 25 animals for five people.
You can mark me down as not interested in the cat, named Buddy by our youngest in honor of the main character in the “Elf” movie.
For starters, I’m allergic to cats. We confirmed this when I came into my wife’s life a decade ago. Years later, she eventually gave away that cat when we found our middle daughter was also allergic to cats. It turns out our 7-year-old grew out of that allergy. I, however, have not.
Aside from the allergy, I’m just not a cat person. I don’t wish to degrade those who love cats. They’re a fine friend, if you don’t mind cleaning up their poop from a specific box, listen to the constant meowing and only want it to express affection at the worst possible times.
Over the years, a series of cats gave me other reasons not to like them. I awoke one morning with a cat cutting off my breathing by laying atop my mouth. Another cat decided it liked my scalp more than its scratching post. In both cases, cat people told me the felines were just playing.
I’ll be the first to admit Buddy started with a couple strikes against him. The longer he’s here, the more I question if he’s really a cat or just a miniature dog.
He begs for table scraps. He sits by the front door when people walk by, making a bark-like noise. He likes to lay at the foot of the bed. He likes to be carried around like he’s Paris Hilton’s dog. He plays fetch with his favorite toy.
The girls even sing a song about him. We realized the lyrics of “The Cat’s Meow” from “Barbie Princess and the Pauper” apply to Buddy, as they describe a “doggish cat.”
Perhaps most strangely, I haven’t sneezed since he arrived in our home, although I suspect the cold I’ve been fighting might really be allergies. Then again, I intentionally avoid contact with it, for fear of causing a reaction.
I try to reinforce his cat-dom whenever he’s walking alongside me like a seeing-eye cat. Whenever he nearly trips me, I refuse to use his name and just yell “cat,” usually with some colorful adjectives.
He doesn’t seem to get the idea that I’m trying not to like him. He follows me around like a lost puppy. He’s getting the hint about as well as a 13-year-old boy might be when his first love tells him to buzz off.
I have to admit, his dogged perseverance is chipping away at my disdain. I might not become a cat person, but I might be able to tolerate a doggish cat.