Kitty Love

Kitty Love

Audrey wonders if a third kitten will exceed the optimal cat-human ratio.

Readers, and imaginary readers, who probably outnumber you, be aware: this will be a blog about cats. If that offends your sensibilities, then move along to more scintillating fare. Cat people, here is my issue: I think I might need to get another cat.

I admit, I like cats. I didn't used to, but then I got some. I now have two. The first was adopted hesitantly and largely because of Frank. Her name is Elliott. The second was adopted off Craigslist because I thought that Elliott was lonely—she would mew and demand constant attention. I accidentally ended up with a gigantic, young, creepily smart cat named Ruggles.

Elliott still cries and demands attention, except that now she also hates Ruggles. They fight. Like a lot. I come home to find fur stuck to the floor with some indeterminate fluid or kitty litter and blood everywhere. He has gashes all over him from the fighting, fortunately nothing serious, but I swear I'm going to come home one day and find him missing an eye.

Long-time readers might note that I've covered this topic before. Previously the vet suggested I put "composure liquid" into their food—some kind of homeopathic calming fluid. This, unsurprisingly, cost a lot and did nothing.

So on the most recent vet visit, the guy suggested that we get another cat. At first I assumed he was joking, but no. It seems throwing cats at the problem is not as nuts as it sounds. The thinking is that Ruggles is young and needs someone to play with, and Elliott is old and crotchety and hates playing, which explains why he's always the one that walks away injured.

I've talked to a couple other expert-ish cat people—another vet and a guy who fosters cats in his house—and none of them see this as a crazy idea. All of my friends, obviously, view this as the next step down a road that inevitably ends with my corpse being eaten by starving cats in some filthy house somewhere.

Frankly, I've always been wary of exceeding parity on the human/cat ratio in a one-bedroom apartment. Somehow that moves you from a person who has cats to a cat person. But if the total level of cat-related worry and cleanup decreases when you move from two to three, doesn't that make you less of a cat person? And also, it still means that I spend less time caring for my pets than a person who has only a single dog.

And I have to admit the idea of getting a new frisky young kitten is appealing. I mean, try and not find a kitten appealing. But on the other hand, if Frank and I are shopping for apartments to possibly purchase, as we very soon may be, will that move us into the category of people who have "actual" pets? (If you are not an apartment dweller, it seems that one or even two cats don't qualify as the kind of pets that might mess up an apartment, or cause a problem for the neighbors.)

Overall, I would just like to have a happy household, and for me that includes cats that aren't constantly fighting. And don't even think about suggesting giving one away because come on. I'm not a monster.

In terms of resources, three wouldn't be a whole lot more than two. We've got lots of space, and if it would cut down on the fighting, it would seem like fewer cats than we currently have. And yet I can't help feeling like having more than two cats is crossing some cultural line. Which, by the way, I don't even have the energy to try and unpack the "ew gross cat lady" as spinster outcast phenomenon from a feminist perspective, though obviously it is richly layered.

Anyway, that is my conundrum at present. Do what I think might actually be best for the household, or conform to the cultural standards for acceptable cat-having. I'll let you know how it unfolds, internet. Thanks for listening.