I am allergic to cats. Painfully allergic to their saliva, hair and dander. They make my palate itch and line my nerves with bits of glass. Near them my nose runs, my head stuffs up. My eyes fog over and fill with prickly sandpaper. Cats make me sneeze and snort and cough up hair balls. I choke and gag and stagger around with a heavy brown lump where my lungs used to be. Cats do terrible things to me and every feline in the world knows it.
Oh, yes, they know it. More than that, they revel in that knowledge because cats have a nasty sense of humor. Even the tiniest, most innocent little kitten knows that out of a room full of the world's most vulnerable prey, the one optimally capable of squirming in agony and discomfort due to their presence, is the robust, grey haired man doing his damnedest to ignore them. And that's their idea of fun.
Pussycats will pass by almost anything to share their space with me. They have been known to race by succulent food, catnip, furtive mice, dippy woman talking like babies and making kissy sounds; and even attractively decorated litter boxes when their own bladders were bursting - just to rub against my body.
Cats taught the Marquise de Sade how to play the game. People talk about the cruelty of these baby tigers - how they'll catch and torment little creatures. Rubbish! Those are minor distractions for underachieving tabbies. The real fun - the true distinction - is reducing a full grown, normally well-controlled human adult male, to a writhing mass of tormented flesh. Now, that's a kick for a cat!
Still, you've got to appreciate their perversity. If you cherish their presence and long to get close to one, forget it! Calling them, offering delicacies, or any attempt to sweeten their lives with bribery in order to pet them, is usually met with disdain. To really lure one of these creatures to you, you have to pay the price and suffer the pleasures of the damned.
I'd like to think I could outwit the little devils by pretending to want them near. A sham game of "let's be friends." But every fiber of my being knows they would see through this in an instant and punish me by rushing to my side. The funny part is, I really like the little buggers. They've got a “I know you love me, but you’re just not good enough” attitude that’s difficult not to admire. And despite my bitching and moaning, it is thoroughly possible for me to respect and treasure their inimitable character.
I just have to do it from a distance.
Originally from New York, Gene has written short stories and essays, novels and stage and screen plays. He has spent 1000 years creating advertising for clients like Toyota, Princess Cruises, Mazda and many others. His credits range from writing the launch for Lexus, to finding 100 different ways to describe nearly identical groups of horse riders for the Fiesta Bowl Parade. He hasn't made a buck in the last eight years.
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