I swore I’d never own a cat in my adult life.
I grew up with animals and deeply despised their hair, smell, and frequent licking and jumping.
Let’s be honest—the smell of cat pee is just the worst, and finding a piece of their fur in your oatmeal is quite disgusting.
I vowed that the day I was on my own, my place would be animal-free.
I told myself that I would replace their presence instead with air plants and a cactus.
My oatmeal bowl would be hair-free and my home would smell like roses.
There would be no animal poop, animal hair, licking of my face, itchy skin, marks on my clothes, dog poop on my shoes, cleaning up animal diarrhea, or any other disgusting animal chores.
There would be nothing sleeping in my bed with me but a pile of textbooks or my beautiful partner.
There would be no litter box whatsoever.
There would be no canned cat food.
There would be no hunting dogs and their enjoyment of finding dead animals.
There would just be me, clean countertops, and the smell of coffee and flowers.
I looked forward to this day every day as a child.
I looked forward to it all the time.
You see, in my childhood home, hair was everywhere—the sofa, carpet, countertops, and laundry.
I’d sweep the carpet with the broom from the garage because our vacuum didn’t work well, and coarse Labrador hair would be stuck to the carpet.
Nothing ever seemed to work.
The animal hair just seemed to accumulate over the years.
When I finally left home, I lived in a few apartments without animals before renting a room from a woman with a cat and several large barking dogs.
I thought I could handle it, but I couldn’t.
The cat seemed to know I wasn’t a fan of her because she always pooped outside my door when the owner of the home left.
My therapist at the time said we seek what’s familiar to us, and despite my despise of animals, I seemed to seek their familiar chaotic comfort.
With my therapist’s support, I managed to get out and find a better place, animal-free.
Fast forward today, and I recently got my first apartment on my own.
In addition, I have adopted a cat named Ana.
I never thought I’d adopt my own animal, but when I heard that she was an old cat that was abandoned by her owners, I felt sad for her.
I decided to at least look at her and soon fell in love.
I took her and bought her a litter box.
She even sleeps in my bed.
I’m not sure what has happened, but I have grown to love this cat.
She nudges me with her wet nose to let me go pet her.
She taps me with her paw when she’d like more attention.
She licks me when I cry.
I’ve realized since having her that I can have both—I can have a pet and a clean space.
My oatmeal can be hair-free.
I can keep my space beautiful and still share it with Ana.
I never thought I’d say this, but I think I’m actually becoming a cat person.
As I drift off to sleep tonight, there are no books or partners in my bed, but there’s Ana purring.
My heart is content.
Both once abandoned, we’ve found home in each other.
I think I’ll let her sleep here next to me every night.