I recently came to terms that I’m going to have to give up my cat Pantaloons.
My girlfriend is allergic. She’s a good sport when she visits and takes a Benadryl which clears up her symptoms. But how long am I going to make her pop meds to be comfortable?
We’re only six months into our relationship. Neither of us has gone ring shopping or started practicing the Viennese waltz for our first dance. This partnership is healthy and progressing at a normal clip. We both have our own homes and see each other a few times a week. That’s plenty.
This is the healthiest relationship I’ve experienced. Part of it is choosing the most compatible woman for my craziness. The other part is all the work I’ve done to minimize my craziness. While we just crossed the half-year mark in the relationship, I just passed the five-year relationship mark with my therapist. I work on stuff.
My cat is important to my well-being. She’s coming up on six years and has been a loving companion. When I arrive home from work she runs over and brushes up against my leg. Pantaloons is affectionate without being needy.
She’s also in love with the dog.
You already know that I bring my dog to work in a backpack that I take on the subway. After greeting me she rushes over to the backpack and waits for it to be unzipped. The dog springs free and the cat follows her and starts to rub her head against the dog’s body. They sleep together, too. Pantaloons is actually much bigger than Meepers the chihuahua. The often curl up together next to my body while we all pass out. I’ve noticed that their sleep cycles are synced – within seven minutes of falling asleep (I’ve timed this) they start dreaming simultaneously and have paw, nose, and eye twitches. It’s wild to see them shaking together.
There’s a ritual that happens every night before we drift off. The dog, since she’s the alpha, walks over to Pantaloons and extends her neck in front of the cat’s face. The dog is then groomed, first with the neck, then moving down to her shoulders and back, by the cat’s tongue. She licks the dog for five minutes. Since cats have that sandpaper tongue thing, I imagine the dog likes the sensation. Pantaloons is purring wildly during the entire cleaning.
Now, many cats are stinkers. We’ve all met some. Your grandmother’s, for example. Standoffish and stoic, these unholy terrors bite and scratch anyone who dares come near. For these felines, drowning them in a river would not be unjust. So, it’s not like I’m a de facto cat lover.
But mine is solid. Sure she spees on anything I leave on the floor, and I don’t trust her not to soil the bedspread in my second bedroom, but other than the urination thing, she’s great.
The cat also loves my girlfriend, Beth. Even though Beth cannot touch her due to allergies, Pantaloons is crazy for her. She constantly brushes up against her while sitting on the couch and tries to sit in Beth’s lap. The cat never even sits in my lap, for chrissakes. Also, when we sleep Beth will wake up with Pantaloons perched atop her belly, purring loudly.
The reality is, though, that you can’t marry a broad who is allergic to cats and have a cat. It’s unfair.
Last week I started to come out of the denial that we would all live together. I’m sure if Beth and I were to take the next step it would be at least a year away. That means I have some good time left with Pantaloons. It’s sad to look at her and realize that she won’t be with me forever. I know this horrible inevitability that she doesn’t.
Once it happens I’ll be sad and then get over it with time. Loss has a predictable grief cycle. However, I’m wondering if now isn’t the hardest part. To stay with the discomfort of a future loss is not easy for me. There’s no solution for this pain except to celebrate the cat as often as I can.
Now, if you excuse me I have to go beat the shit out of her for missing the litter box. AGAIN.
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