In Malaysia, cats are pests. They wander the streets, get underfoot at the mamak or chinese restaurants, and are generally regarded as irritating creatures (by me, anyway). I was a die-hard dog lover. I was terrified of large dogs (phobias are irrational, alright?) but would go running to any dog with paws smaller than my hand. When cats furled their fuzzy tails around my legs at a mamak stall, I would recoil. I wasn’t past climbing onto the table to get away from the damned things!
Here I am, living in New Zealand, and a proud cat owner. Not only do I own a cat, despite being extremely allergic, but I absolutely adore her. I won’t lie – the first month was brutal. I was permanently drugged up on anti-histamines, and even then I would wake up with my eyes swollen shut and my skin itching and my nose running. We banned her from our bedroom, in the hopes that I would have a safe haven away from her sniffle inducing fur while I slept. It didn’t help. I was miserable. On top of all of this, she was (and still is, now that I think about it) in her hyper kitten phase. Which meant scratches. Lots, and lots, and lots of scratches. Along with a few bites. For a normal person, this would mean a scratch and maybe even some blood. For me, it meant scratches, a bit of blood, and instantly welted up skin that itched like crazy.
Like I said, brutal.
But then the symptoms started receding. My eyes would be slightly less swollen each day, and the scratches wouldn’t stay welted up for as long. Eventually I stopped waking up feeling like death every morning. We started letting her back into our bedroom, and I began nuzzling my face into her fur without fear. Now she sleeps with us at night (on me. All night. If I roll over, she hops off the bed and watches me, waiting until I stop moving again and then climbs right back onto me.) and it’s all a good time.
And I love her so, so much.
She has busted every preconception I ever had about cats. She isn’t standoffish, or arrogant, or anti-cuddles. In fact, she often comes up to me and meows and meows until I pick her up and give her a cuddle. She is not clean and tidy, the way people seems to insist all the time – she leaves paw marks everywhere and drags in so many leaves and bugs and has destroyed so many dishes. She’s warm and comforting, often following me around and watching me while I cook, or internet. She curls up somewhere on my person every chance she gets, and answers to her name (I think it’s the way I wriggle the treats packet at her every time I do, but still).
Every time I tell a dog lover that I own a cat, I get the inevitable ‘Oh, I’m more of a dog person, myself,’ and it confuses me so much that they don’t see how you can be both. I am both. I love me a good puppy cuddle. I also adore cats. Look at me, multitasking like some kind of Dr. Doolittle.
So yeah. Cats. Great things. Get one. You won’t regret it. In fact, in a few months you’ll look back at today and wonder how you ever lived without your furry little bestie. I cannot imagine my life without Eevee now, and she completes our little family. ❤