It was a crisp day on Bromley Lane in the year 2000. My sister Walker (‘13) was standing on the sidewalk in front of our house waiting for her carpool. Walker’s loose, golden curls billowed in the wind. Suddenly, a small black cat walked toward my sister. She bent down to pat the seemingly innocent cat, when all of a sudden the disturbed animal “went crazy,” latched onto her leg, and “began to scratch [her] like a scratching post.” My father heard my sister’s sobs, raced out of our house, punted the cat down the sidewalk, and watched as it raced away.
For a long time this story implanted a negative impression of cats in my head. I was guilty of jumping to the “I hate cats” conclusion without experiencing cats for myself. However, this all changed in October of 2013. I came home from lacrosse practice one Saturday to find an empty kitchen. I heard voices coming from the back of the house and followed them. As I opened the door of the office, I was greeted by the soft sound of a purring kitten. Montana Surgner, a sweet calico kitten, slept on my mother’s chest. She was so small. Her fur was so soft and welcoming. I immediately fell in love. A few years later, my sister decided one day to go to the SPCA without my parent’s’ permission and adopt another kitten for our family. In the moment, this was a terrible decision. My dad was furious, and my mom was stressed. I didn’t let myself get too attached to the kitten because I honestly thought we’d be returning it. I knew this wasn’t the case, though, when I heard my dad through the kitchen door having a one-sided conversation with the kitten. We named this cat “Little Kitty,” or “LK” for short.
As years have gone by, I have found that many people continue to jump to the same “I hate cats” conclusion the same way I once did. However, I firmly believe that if you give cats a chance, you will not regret it. Cats are incredibly entertaining. Rockfm’s article “10 Reasons Cats are Super Cool” truly captures the mesmerizing behaviors and abilities of the typical household cat. One reason listed is “[cats] have the best dance moves.” When I first read this I was confused. However, after watching the “Thriller Cat” video, I immediately recognized this “dance move” and can attest that my cat is, in fact, able to replicate Michael Jackson’s “creeper crawl” from his famous “Thriller” music video. I asked fellow cat owner Scotty McCracken (‘17) to tell me a way in which her cat is entertaining: “He has a weird obsession with food and he’s mesmerized by the sound of food going into his bowl… Whenever I pour him food, even if he’s across the house, he sprints into the kitchen, which is big for him because he’s so large.” Cats entertain people in many ways. In 2013, my sister and I created an Instagram account for our cat. @dat_cat_cray was created to document the good and bad behaviors and moods of our cat BK. (Note: after the sudden death of BK, the antics of LK are now documented instead). However, @dat_cat_cray is not the only cat Instagram account. There are thousands of accounts that document the wild personalities of cats worldwide.
Cole Eck (‘17) is often quick to say that “dogs are so much better than cats,” and though I don’t disagree that dogs are awesome pets, I don’t necessarily agree that they are better than cats. What people usually don’t suspect prior to owning a cat is that many cats have dog-like tendencies. “My aunt’s cat has the best personality ever… He is a lot like a dog. You can say ‘Come here, Pete!’ and he’ll come right to you,” says Gwin Sinnott (’17). I regularly play fetch with my cat LK, and as it turns out, LK is not the only cat who likes to fetch. Aidan Berger (‘17) claims that his cat “fetches like a boss.” He also claims that his cat “bullies [his] dog into letting her eat its food.”
There are advantages to both cats and dogs. McCracken argues that “since [cats] are so furry… and small they can cuddle with you in a way dogs can’t.” My family has both a cat and a dog, and in my experience, I would argue that both are fantastic pets; neither is better than the other. However, a major benefit of owning a cat is that most instinctively know to go to the bathroom in the litterbox. Even in the months of being a kitten, they know to only go in the box. It requires hardly any owner reinforcement.
I can’t force everyone to adore cats as much as I do, but there are truly many great things about owning a cat. If their infinite entertaining qualities and immediate litterbox training is not enough to convince you, I encourage you to listen to this Purring Cats Compilation. Nothing beats the sound of a purring kitten. It is heart-melting and tranquil. I encourage those who have never experienced cats to spend time getting to know one and give them a chance. They are incredibly funny, intelligent, and relaxing… most of the time.
I’ll conclude with a list of my all-time favorite cat videos. Please take the time to watch them because I think these videos will further convince you to adopt a kitten.
All images courtesy of the Surgner family.