His name WASN’T my idea. I have never seen Breaking Bad in my life, but my parents have, and since they were his foster parents for a couple days, they decided on Walter White. When he became mine, I picked his middle name, and that’s what he goes by: Louie.
As the January entry of my 2014 New Years Resolution, “Do Something New Every Month,” Mr. Louie is featured as “Adopt a Cat” – which, if you’ve read my full Bucket List & Resolutions, you will see that this also crosses off a life goal as well!
Living with Louie has certainly been an adventure, and it’s only been two and a half weeks since he moved in. He’s taught me invaluable life lessons about kitty ownership that I think ought to be shared.
1. Cats are not like dogs.
Yes, this is common knowledge. But try going from being a dog person for most of your life to living completely alone for over two years, and then getting a cat. I’m used to dogs. Floor dwellers. Silent unless commanded to speak, or a leaf flutters in the wind. Teachable, out-smartable. The bigger the dog, the more protection against intruders. Not so with felines. It didn’t take long to figure out that there is nothing out of Louie’s reach unless it is behind a closed door. Also, I learned rather quickly that Louie does not tend to come when he’s called, as do most dogs. And, it was immediately apparent that Louie likes to talk – A LOT. And not much will get him to stop (“Louie! Hush!” hasn’t worked yet, though for some reason I keep trying. He just sasses me right back.)
2. You don’t train cats. They train you.
After I figured out that my space is Louie’s space, there needed to be some immediate changes. This realization came after I watched him dance around my dirty dishes on the kitchen counter the first night he was home. I could have scolded and punished him for being on the counter, but what good would that do since he has free reign to go wherever he wants to while I’m at work? So after a couple of incidences where I had to chase him out of the dishes, the laundry, the stack of mail, and the pile of shoes, it was clear that Louie’s first training session for me was titled “Don’t want me in it? Put it away.” Needless to say, my house was spotless in a couple of days.
Louie also has a very strict timeline as to when meals ought to be served to him. Yes, he instilled this timeline himself. For example, he is under the impression that breakfast is served NO LATER THAN 7:30 every morning. Even on Saturdays. Sleeping in is for dog owners. As soon as my alarm goes off at 7:00, he is on my chest, staring into my soul with those big ice blue eyes, and says, “MOM. MOM. MOM. MOM. MOM. MOM. MOM. MOM. MOM.” until I either body slam him into the mattress, or finally shuffle halfheartedly into the kitchen to measure out his 1/3 cup of Kitty Kibbles. And then he takes two stinking bites and then goes off to play with his little mousey toy.
3. Catnip is crack for cats.
Louie, when he’s not hungry or grumpy, is a pretty chill dude. He is very fond of naps, and cuddling, and he’s not very active (hence the carefully measured diet). His pastimes include scratching his cardboard box and scratch mat, and kneading my furniture. And he likes to follow me around the house and talk – nonstop.
That’s when I pull out the catnip.
The dude goes BONKERS. For like 5 minutes. Then he gets tired, and falls asleep again.
4. Purring is good for the soul.
There’s something about it that is like magic. Maybe it’s just my lonely heart bonding with the nearest living creature, but there’s something about a warm cat curled up on my chest, head tucked under my chin, purring low and slow like a motor boat that just washes the stress of the day away.
All that to say, my “Do Something New” entry has turned into a bond of true love. Louie may be a narcissistic, food-hoarding, carpet-scratching catnip addict who thinks he’s the boss of me, but who’s to say that’s not exactly what I need in my life right now? He’s officially a member of the Emma Dilemma family.
And I love him.