Like most little girls, I grew up under the assumption that I loved cats. I believed this so much that I bought books about cats, hung posters of them in my room and even spent a good chunk of time cross-stitching and framing images of them for my my bedroom. The fact that my dad wouldn't allow me to have a cat was a source of great consternation and disappointment to me. 

As soon as I was out on my own and found a place that was cat-friendly, I set about finding my very own, very longed-for cat. 

Mind you, I knew nothing about caring for a cat. I'd only ever had a dog. But, I felt this was sufficient preparation for caring for a cat. I loved my dog. I wasn't afraid of her and would bathe her and check her teeth and trim her claws/nails and all that. So, I felt I was pretty well set to begin life as a cat owner.

I. Was. Wrong.

If Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus, then Dogs are from Earth and Cats are from a Galaxy Far, Far Away. An aloof, at times angry Galaxy. They just aren't even in the same class of creature as dogs. The two have nothing in common whatsoever. Sure, they both, technically, have fur and claws and teeth and tails. But one is normal and the other is alien, possibly homicidal. I'll explain more later. But, first, let's talk about how I found my cat.

I was looking for a cat that was pre-owned and used to being home alone during the day. So, I hit the classifieds. This was back before Craigslist was a thing, so I grabbed an actual paper and got my fingers black searching for cats that matched my needs. 

I found one. 

The owner was going to be traveling a lot for work and needed to find a new, loving home for her precious pet. He had been neutered, de-clawed in the front, was litter box trained and would come with all of the necessary accoutrement. (I like saying that instead of "stuff". It makes me feel fancy. You should read "accoutrement" in a very bad french accent, by the way.)

It seemed like the perfect set up to me! 

The next day, I drove into the City to meet this cat and his soon-to-be former owner. 

She lived in a very high-class part of town and was also former Miss Louisiana (she also later became Mrs. Louisiana) and was super nice. The cat seemed nice, too. He came right out to say "hello" and rubbed on my legs and purred and performed tricks on command for his Beauty Queen owner.

Actual Beauty Queen. Not a simulation.

Oh, and his name was George, which I thought was funny.

"I'll hug him and squeeze him and call him George.", I thought.

He was, by no means, a kitten and was, in fact, very large. Miss Louisiana told me he was at least part Maine Coon. Now, I don't know if you know anything about Maine Coons (I certainly didn't at the time) but, they are one of the largest domestic cat breeds. To give you an idea as to size, here are a few photos.

Bigger than a Toddler.

Large and definitely in charge.

There's a human back there somewhere.

See? HUGE!

Now, George wasn't quite as big as the cats pictured above, but he was big enough. He was also free and nice (or so I thought) and house-broken and used to being home by himself. So, Miss Louisiana and I shook hands, and I headed out of her fancy apartment with my new cat.

As I drove home, I talked to George. I assured him he would like his new home and would be happy there. I imagined cuddling on the sofa watching TV with him after we got settled.  And, the thought of having someone/thing to come home to and say "good morning" and "good night" to made me smile.

SPOILER ALERT: That's not what happened. 

Once I got George and all of his "accoutrement" in my apartment, I opened his crate expecting him to look around and come over to me for some assurance or security.

He didn't.

He hissed and ran as far away from me as he could, eventually hiding under my bed. Well, you see, I forgot to let him know on our chat during the drive back that my bedroom was going to be off-limits. #mybad But, under my bed was where he wanted to be...and the stage was set for our first battle of the wills.

Helpful tip: Never go into a battle of wills with a cat without one of those chainmail suits divers use to swim with sharks.

It took approximately 2 hours of coaxing and hissing and scratching and finally a broomstick gently applied to his bottom to get George out from under my bed. By that time we were both frustrated and exhausted and done with each other. When George finally came out from the bed, he again ran as far away from me as possible and hid somewhere else. I didn't know where and I didn't care. I just wanted to vacuum my room free of what would turn out to be impossible to remove hair and go to bed.

And with that, I learned my first lesson on how cats are different than dogs: THEY don't really like people. 

When we first brought our dog home, she ONLY wanted to be with us, by us, on us, licking every exposed area of skin and wagging her tail the whole time. When we tried to pick her up, she got even more excited and peed a little. If we were outside of her field of vision, she'd bark (I presume our names) and set off to find us immediately. We were her world and she was there to love us as much as possible. 

Not so much with cats.

The next morning, I found George laying on the back of one of my sofas, looking at me as if to say "How dare you enter my domain."

He did chill out a bit though, eventually, and, at times would come over to rub on my leg and ask for some petting, but it was always on his terms. If I ever tried to spontaneously love on him without first getting express written consent, forget it. Consequently, I couldn't care for him as I needed to or when I planned to. If I had some time and figured he needed a good brushing for that crazy hair and tried to just pick him up and you know, just do it when I was ready, he'd fuss and hiss and try to run away. I'd have to wait until he came to me for attention and hope I had the brush handy...and then I'd only be allowed to brush for a few seconds until he was done with me.

(Author's Note: I got stressed out just typing that.)

Which brings me to lesson #2 on how cats are different than dogs: They couldn't care less about pleasing their humans. 

Sure, you can house train a cat, but don't be mistaken into thinking they are doing it to please you. Nope. You have given them their very own private bathroom and they will use it because it is their right, not to help you out. But, that is as far as "training" generally goes. They will do what they want, when they want and go where they want, no matter how many time you try to dissuade them. For example, George firmly believed he should sleep in my room. 


Every night, he'd paw at my door and meow in a demanding tone, insisting I let him in. One night, in exasperation, I relented. Once in my room, he expected to lay on MY pillow, not at the foot of the bed where I wanted him to lay. Finally, I had to start putting him in the spare room at night so I could get some sleep.

That's when the pouncing started...and Lesson #3 on how cats are different than dogs was learned: They always stay mostly wild.

As I mentioned above, I found my cat to be wholly un-trainable because he couldn't care less about pleasing me. In fact, he firmly believed he was the boss of me and had to beat me, or in this case, pounce me into submission. Randomly, as I was going about my normal routines in MY home, George would become displeased and pounce on my calf, even mock biting me at times. I never knew what I did to provoke him, except, you know, for the general disrespect of turning my back on him when I left the room.

Dude wanted me dead. No doubt. As far as he was concerned, life would be better with me out of it. Period.

So, basically, after a few months I became a prisoner in a home with a mangy, matted cat that didn't allow me to do anything, except his bidding of course and and the only thing I got in return was impossible to remove hair all over the place. 

Enter Lesson #4 on how cats are different from dogs: The hair! 

Now, remember, I had a dog. But,I didn't just have any dog, I had a golden retriever. They are big dogs with two coats of fur. That means they shed a lot. However, while my dog's hair would just sort of lay on the surface of whatever it touched waiting to be swept or vacuumed away, cats hair doesn't. I swear it has the elements essential for velcro or glue or static electricity because it just wouldn't come up.  I really think my vacuuming and lint brushing only served to weave the hair even more firmly into whatever fibers it was on. It was insane! But that wasn't the worst thing...

Which brings me to the final straw and final lesson on how cats are different than dogs: The. Litter. Box. 

Conceivably one of the grossest ideas ever! I don't know who thought "Hey, let's keep a box with a couple of days worth of our pet's poop and pee in the house!" But, they were clearly either complete idiots or unable to smell...possibly from the methane coming off of their litter boxes.

I don't care how often I emptied the box, which is gross enough all by itself, the smell lingered. It hung in the air like the stench of the one guy the waiting room with bad B.O. and seemed to never go away. 

Finally, I had enough of the smell and the hair and the pouncing and the sassing and the having to keep the pet I just wanted to snuggle with on the sofa locked in the guest room for my own protection. So, I decided it was time to break up with George. 

Before he left, I made sure he knew it was definitely HIM and not me. 

In all seriousness, I was so glad to see that cat gone and have my home back, I did a little weep of joy. #nojoke

Sure, it took a solid month to feel like I really had vacuumed up as much cat hair as possible and before I stopped having PTSD-induced moments where I was sure I still smelled that horrendous litter box. But, I got there and it. felt. awesome.

The experience wasn't a complete loss, though. At least now I know for certain that I do not - I repeat: NOT - love cats.

While, I still miss my dog a lot...so much so that talking about her sometimes gets me misty...I don't miss that darn cat one bit. What's more, the whole ordeal has left me so scarred that "must not have cats" is one of the few items on my list of things that would be a "deal breaker" for a potential boyfriend/husband. It falls just under "atheist", "racist" and "has an LSU tattoo".