I’ve always hated cats. I don’t really know why, but they freaked me out. They were always staring me down, ready to attack. I remember sleeping at my friend Christine’s house once, and she had a million cats (really only three, I think). I was sleeping on her couch when I woke up to one of the cats clawing at my head. Another was on the floor next to me and the other was at my feet. Surrounded. I don’t think I slept the rest of the night.
Everyone always like dogs more than cats. People say, “I’m a dog person,” or “I’m a cat person.” But honestly, do you ever really hear people say, “I’m a cat person”? Not likely. A couple years ago when I lived in New York, my friend Steve asked me to cat-sit for him. I was more than happy to do it – cats more or less take care of themselves and Steve had a really nice apartment (any apartment compared to mine was a really nice apartment). And Steve said Mike could stay with me. It was all around a great deal. Geronimo (the cat) was crazy. Like, insane crazy. The main reason Steve wanted me to stay at his place is because Geronimo is so needy. He hates to be alone. If we left him outside the bedroom door, he’d meow incessantly until we finally had to let him in. Mike thought he was awesome. He loved playing with him – of course. We gave Geronimo some catnip. It was the first time I’ve ever seen what catnip does to a cat. It’s like a drug. He went mad, sprinting all over the apartment and rubbing his body all over the carpet. Highly entertaining. Geronimo may have been crazy, but I enjoyed his company. When you live alone you’d be surprised how much a cat helps.
The only reason I could even consider cat-sitting for Steve was because I did previously actually love a cat. My brother’s cat – Mortimer (his name is Moravian but I always forgot and then I liked that I had a different name for him). When I worked weekends at the Tap Room in Philly, I’d stay at Stephen’s house on Saturday nights. My brother didn’t live in the best neighborhood. In fact, one night his roommate, Kevin and then girlfriend were held up at gunpoint as they were walking in the front door. Needless to say I was a little nervous staying at his house when no one else was there – I think at this point he was in between roommates and Stephen was always out late doing whatever he does.
So it was just me and Mortimer. I didn’t talk to him much in the beginning, but soon I was glad to see him. He’d follow me around and want to sleep with me. I’d start talking to him as soon as I walked in the door. Somehow, talking to the cat made me feel safe.
I get a text from Stephen this morning that Moravian was hit by a car a couple days ago and died last night. He took him to the vet Monday, where they told him there was theoretically a chance they could save him, but probably not. And it would cost thousands of dollars. Stephen brought him home and Moravian spent the last three days in his bedroom. I can’t even write this without getting upset. I’ve never cried over a cat before. Stephen probably didn’t even want to text me but he knew I loved that cat. Every time I saw him I’d ask, how’s Mortimer? He was a good cat. Stephen always tries to act like a tough guy but I’m pretty sure he’s broken up over it. And for some reason I care about my brother being upset over his cat.
To lighten the mood, it’s a funny story how Stephen got Mortimer in the first place. My friend – Sarah Mutter (I usually only use first names but it’s hard to say Sarah without Mutter attached) – sent out an email or something to a bunch of people about giving away these kittens. Surprisingly, my brother and his roommate wanted one, so Mutter brought Moravian over to his house.
It’s a funny story because Mutter and I were friends when we were 5 years old. My brother had a crush on her oldest sister, Rebecca, and Sarah was best friends with the middle sister, Rachel. The next time I talked to Mutter wasn’t until college when we were both working at the same field hockey camp together. I was going to be a sophomore at Monmouth, and she just so happened to be coming in as a freshman. We roomed together at camp and became friends all over again.
No wonder I was friends with her when we were 5 – Mutter is a cool girl. She’s one of the real-est people I’ve ever met. She is always herself and I love that. It can be hard to always be yourself in college – but that’s Mutter. I thought it was weird that my brother actually said he wanted one of the cats, and weird that Mutter herself brought Moravian to his house. Those Mutters just keep coming into the Stetsons lives. I hope it keeps happening.
Mike has been saying for quite some time that he wants a cat. He’s one of those rare people who actually says, “I’m a cat person.” When I came home the other night from work he said he really wished he had a cat to play with earlier while I wasn’t there. He kept going with it, too. “And if he was here now, I’d be like, get off me cat.” He then pretended to throw our invisible cat off him. I must tell him at least once a day – you are so weird. But a cat would be nice. It’s not really high on our list of priorities right now, but we do talk about it a lot. Who knows – maybe I could be a cat person.