Sex and the Suburbs
by Lauralyn Avallone
Satellite of Animal League Love:
Eight Things I Learned About Love from a Fat Cat
(Don't hate the cat, hate the litter)
Everyone needs a partner in life, just like Sonny had Cher, Brad has Jennifer, Ethan has Uma, Freddie has Buffy, I mean Sarah, and I have....Alex, my "oh my God, that's the fattest cat I've ever seen" housemate, formally of The North Shore Animal League.
Oh no, you're thinking, the single writer has definitely lost it now. She's talking about her cat, what's next, a big house on the hill where her and her spinster friends hang out drinking martini's mid-afternoon?
Hardly! First, I do not like Martini's, as tempting as "Sex and the City" makes them look. The ones I've had tasted like paint thinner. Second, I'm a writer. Where would I find the resources to buy a big house on the hill? Third, my beautiful, classy, intellectual friends would not take kindly to their lack of male company being slapped with the "spinster" label. Now that I have freed myself from any judgement, that I'm sure you never passed off on me in the first place, I will continue on about my cat in a guilt-free, I am not a loser, manner. You'll eventually see where this is all going.
Back in '92, my friend Lisa accompanied me to The North Shore Animal League in Port Washington to pick out a pet. For whatever reason, I wanted a black cat. All black. I found one there, it was over a year old and friendly. We seemed to hit it off. It was older, but attractive and healthy looking. Lisa said to me, don't you want a kitten? Why would you adopt a cat that age? You have to see this little kitten. She's right over here; you'll love her...
I walked over to the cage and saw a tiny ball of black and white, small enough to fit in my hand. Her face was all wet and there was a sign on the cage door that read: this animal is sick and on medication. "I don't know about this one," I said to Lisa. She called over a League employee to pull out the kitten so we could take her to a little table and get acquainted. The employee looked at us, like are you sure you want to see THIS one? Upon Lisa's insistence, she put on a long, thick glove and reached into the cage. In the process, the glove was bitten, clawed and hissed at. This kitten was no angel. It looked and acted like something out of "Night of the Living Dead."
Once the cat was out of the bag, or cage in this case, and we had her at an arm's length on the getting familiar table, I told Lisa there is no way I'm taking this drooling, wet, vicious cat home with me. "But if you don't," she pleaded, "who will? You know what happens to animals who aren't adopted!"
Ten years and ten pounds later - long after beginning years of illness and vet visits, Alex the cat still resides with me. My family hates her because she bitch slaps their dogs, my friends think she's just plain insane with a truckload of issues, including "separation anxiety" for which she's been given relaxation CD's and calming herbs made just for neurotic felines. Anyone who first meets her always says, "my God, that is the fattest cat I've EVER seen!" Followed by, "what do you feed her?"
The truth is, I don't feed her all that much. Perhaps she is just fat with love. That's better than being the scrawny little creatures I see scurrying about my neighborhood, ducking headlights and jumping in trash cans in search of a morsel. If I were a spinster with a big house on the hill, I must admit it would be hard not to grab all the vagabonds up and give them a warm home.
But, life is not that easy. You can save some of the animals some of the time, but you can't save all of them all of the time. Ok, so what is the whole point in telling the story of my love affair with Alex the obese cat? There are a few that relate to the single process.
One: Give up trying to save those who do not want to be saved (the wildcats). It's exhausting and the end result is always heartache.
Two: There is a myriad of matches to chose from. Don't always dismiss people based on first impressions. Some of the best love stories didn't start off with love at first sight, but more, what a jerk! Friction can be another form of chemistry, time tested it can develop into something quite beautiful with longevity.
Three: Usually it's the bitter ones that are most in need of love and affection.
Four: True, unconditional love is supportive and weathers sickness, break-ups, deaths, unemployment, moodiness and physical changes (a.k.a. Alex's once svelte feline physique now resembling a five inch tall cow with multiple utters).
Five: True love isn't based on age or appearances, it's a simple "snap effect": everything, from chemistry to timing, just snaps right into place.
Six: Behind every great man, there's a great woman. Behind every great woman, there's a great man. Behind every great single, there's a great pet. And yes, that can include rocks, if you're that type. But for Christ's Sake, lose the sea monkeys.
Seven: Be careful not to let the love of your life go too easily. Once they're gone, you may never get them back.
Eight: The best things in life are free.
Copyright 2002 L.A.