What I Learned Having a Cat For 2 Weeks

As anyone who regularly watches my Facebook or Instagram accounts may know, I’ve recently started fostering a cat. Her name is Zola. She is about 7 months old and she is super cute.

I originally volunteered to foster because I’ve been having this insane urge to adopt a cat lately. I don’t know why, but I’ve just really wanted one.

So when IACC had a panleukopenia outbreak, and a lot of rescues saved cats from them and in turn needed fosters to take in their healthy cats so they could watch after the sick/exposed ones, I saw it as the perfect opportunity to both get what I wanted and not have to dedicate 20 years of my life to it.ZolaClose

This is the first time I’ve lived with a cat on a regular basis since 2009, and it’s the first time ever I’ve been its primary caretaker. I still have two more weeks with Zola, but here are some of just a few things I’ve learned so far:

Cats can be nocturnal

Sure, I remember the good old days while I was a teen where we had our kitten Oreo, who loved to knead his paws into your neck as you tried to fall asleep. Somehow, I found that charming. Now, I realize the value of sleep. And a cat running around getting into everything and then purring and rubbing against your face at 4 a.m.? It’s not ideal.

Cats know no boundaries

OK, I’ve gotten used to the fact that I can’t go to the bathroom by myself simply from having a dog. But cats have no sense of personal space. “Hello human, don’t mind me while I sit my butt right on your face.” And cats jump on counters, and tables, and they don’t really listen when you tell them no. Gone are the days when I just put something on the counter if I wanted to keep it out of the reach of my dog.

Litterboxes are ridiculous

I know that I have to pick up my dog’s poop every single time he does it, so cleaning a litter box only twice a week should seem like no big deal–a relief, even. But for some reason, it’s like the lesson my mom’s always tried to hammer into my head–“If you clean up after yourself every time you do something, then it never gets out of control/messy”–finally comes through when it comes to pet poo.Zolatail

Dogs really do eat cat poop

One of the big points my mom tried to make when advising me against getting a cat was that Norm would try to eat out of the litterbox. While I knew our dog Scamper used to do this, I’d really hoped Scamper had just been an oddball. And that seemed to be the case, too–the only time Norm went near Zola’s stuff was when he was trying to eat her food. Until today, when I got out of the shower and found Norm lying in the second bedroom–“Zola’s room”–with a cat turd in front of him.

I’m a dog person

I think I’ll just stick with Norm. He and I make a great team. Everyone has told me I’ll be a foster fail, and while I do love Zola, all of the above is true, and I really don’t think I’ll keep her. I still love cats, and I’ll still happily snuggle with Cat and Herman and Pumpkin and Kyra (friends’ and family’s cats) if they let me… but I think at this point in time, I’m not the cat owner type.

I Feel Pretty/Unpretty

Yeah, I know.  I know. I’ve been kind of overdoing it on the super made-up selfies lately.

lipstick1Here’s the thing. As much as I like to pretend otherwise…I’m one of those people who puts all of her self-worth into what others think of her.

Sometimes, I don’t. Sometimes I have good days where I don’t care what anyone thinks of me. But most days…that’s not the case.

So some days, I put on a lot of make-up and take pictures of myself. A lot of pictures of myself. Upwards of 100. And then I evaluate. And sometimes, I will find one that I think doesn’t look absolutely terrible with the right filter, so I post it.

And I know I overdo it. I know. But I do it because my face is the one thing that I can make pretty relatively quickly. I know that no one looks at my body and thinks “that looks good.”

And I can’t really complain, can I? I mean, it’s my fault I let control of my weight slip away.

And people say that if someone doesn’t like me at my current weight, then it’s not someone I should want to be with anyway. But that’s easy to say if you’ve already got someone who loves you.

lipstick4And I don’t have someone who thinks (or at least pretends to think) that I’m beautiful all the time.

And the thing is, I’m afraid that people won’t even give me a second look or want the chance to talk to me if they automatically don’t like what they see.

And I know that people who read this will just tell me that means I need to work harder to make some changes. And I do try. I work out. Not as much as I should, but I do. And I try not to overeat some times.

But that’s when the endless cycle of suck kicks in.

Weight gain leads to increased chance of depression (which I already have). Depression leads to a lack of motivation to do anything–anything–so some days, I can’t bring myself to get up and go to the gym. (And I KNOW that exercise is supposed to release your endorphins or make you happy or whatever but that doesn’t exactly work as motivation when you’re not feeling it yet.)

And I’m not trying to say this as an excuse. I’m just saying it to let people know that the solution isn’t as simple as it sounds.

So yes. I put on loads of make-up, and post pictures of myself, and act all blase about it like I don’t care. But I will smile every time it gets a new like or a comment.

lipstick3And it makes me feel better.

There are far worse ways to make oneself feel better, and I’m not doing anyone any harm. I don’t intend to use them as bait like people who post “I look so ugly” pictures just to have people tell them they’re not.

I post them because I think I look good, and I want people to see that I’m not the unattractive blob I feel like a lot of the time.

I want people to see the pretty girl inside who is desperately trying to make it known to the world that she exists.

Possibilities abound

One of the craziest things about being single is the fact that my life can literally go in any direction I choose.

Sure, I live in Indianapolis. I moved here for college and stayed after graduation. But I don’t have to stay here anymore.

I’m not saying I’m going to pick up and move next month with no rhyme or reason. But I could. (Well…money and job, aside.) I don’t have to stay in Indy. Or Indiana. I have the whole world open to me. I could find a job in London and move across the pond if I wanted to.

Will I do that? No, I probably won’t be that extreme. But I could. I’m young. I’m single. If there was ever a time to move somewhere new and see what’s out there, to find what life has planned for me, it’s now.

I. Am. Free.

Different doesn’t mean bad

Here are a few fun facts about me:

  • I like TV shows that probably should be embarrassing for a 23-year-old woman…like The Vampire Diaries and Pretty Little Liars.whatmakesyoudifferent
  • I read almost exclusively YA novels. I sometimes venture out into the adult world, but I spend a lot of time in YA land.
  • I love showtunes. I am most likely to be listening to showtunes on Pandora or Spotify than anything else. My current jam is Shrek the Musical. I will listen to that music all day long.
  • I am in love with Team Starkid. They’re a theatre group. They’re best-known for their Harry Potter parody musicals. They’ve done a lot of other parodies, like a Batman show, one that they say is “like The Little Mermaid but in space,” an Aladdin/Wicked parody, a Star Wars parody and a show based off of the video game The Oregon Trail. I think they are all creative geniuses, and I support them every chance I can…meaning I’ve been to Chicago four times in the last year and a half going to their shows.

And here’s the thing:  I won’t apologize for any of it.

I realize that my tastes are different than most. But that shouldn’t be a bad thing.

When can we start appreciating the differences in everyone?

Happiness

Today, all I have to say is this: Stop comparing yourself to others.

There is someone who will ALWAYS have it better than you. There will always be someone who has what you want. And you can keep harping on the fact that it’s not fair. That you deserve it more. You can keep repeating whatever words you use to console yourself over, and over, and over.happinessquote

But it won’t change the fact that they have it and you don’t. Whatever it is. Whether it’s the job you want, the promotion you deserved. Maybe it’s the fact that that person is happily engaged and you’re stuck in a relationship you’re not sure is going anywhere.

So stop harping on why they have it and you don’t. You will always be the biggest obstacle you need to overcome.

And never, ever make the other person feel bad about what they have. Because they likely know how lucky they are. There’s enough sadness in this world without everyone bringing each other down.

The only thing that will do is ruin a friendship. I once told a friend that she wasn’t allowed to get engaged before I did. But not just that. I said that I thought becoming engaged after only a year was crazy – after she’d told me that they’d likely get engaged after being together a year. In all honesty, I don’t think it’s crazy. I just had been in a relationship for more than 3 years and didn’t think it would be right for someone else to be engaged so quickly when I wasn’t. Luckily, my friend’s a lot nicer than I am.

Stop focusing on what others have.

Start focusing on you.

We were babies.

One of the many, many sucky things about a break-up is trying to both hide the evidence of the relationship while it’s still painful but keep it for nostalgia’s sake because there WAS a time that this was an important moment of your life and you want to remember everything about your life.

Today, it was the Facebook cleanse. Hide the evidence. Stay friends with people but hide them so their posts don’t show up in your news feed. Change the album covers. For example, my “Prom 2009″ album. I changed the album cover. But I spent a long time looking at that picture of us, dancing, looking at each other and smiling. The honeymoon phase of the relationship in full swing. I mean, we were young. I was 18, he was 17. We’d been together for about…a month?

I look at that picture and think, we were babies.

How could I expect that to last? High school relationships hardly ever do. It didn’t matter that it was a college relationship too, as we were together for all of both of our undergrad years. When we first started dating, we were BABIES. We were young. We didn’t have any life experience. We weren’t developed into the people we were meant to be yet.

I mean, I’m sure I’m still not the person I’m meant to be. But I’m definitely not the same person I was in high school. Neither is he. The people in that picture are not the same two people you see today.

We were falling out of love for a long time. He recognized it; I didn’t. I know it now. I know we are completely different people who weren’t meant to be together forever. That doesn’t mean it’s easy. For the most part, I’m doing really well. But some days are hard. I expect that’s normal after a 5-year relationship.

So for now, I focus on me. New Kaley has a lot to look forward to, and she can’t wait to see where life takes her.

RIP MWG

For some reason, I’ve thought about you more than once today. Maybe it’s the news of Joan Rivers dying, and the fact that RIP messages are everywhere. Maybe it’s the fact that on the radio this morning, they talked about watching the downfall of your ex, and I thought to myself that the people calling in should be careful what they laughed at. Because as I watched things happen to you that weren’t so ideal, I thought they were funny, too. Until you died.mwg1

I won’t forget the conversation in which I found out. I was at work, and my best friend from high school called. She hardly ever calls me… Maybe once every six months. And she especially doesn’t call me during work. Then, she told me not to cry, but that someone had died. I don’t know how I knew it was you before she even said it. She told me to guess. I started crying before I could even tell her I didn’t want to guess (because seriously…you find out someone dies, WHO WANTS TO GUESS who it was? Every single option is unthinkable.).

Of course it was you.

And now, I’m flashing back to the time we drove to Dairy Queen in a pick-up truck. I remember you throwing your napkin out the window. I remember it flying back into the truck through the back window that leads to the bed of the truck. I remember you realizing it was coming for you and sticking your hand out awkwardly in front of your face–wrist to nose, facing outward–and I picture the same thing happening as your truck slams into the back of a semi, ending your life.

I promise not all memories of yomwg2u are so vividly terrifying. I think of you when I listen to Fall Out Boy, and especially when I’m at their concerts–I’ve been to two now, you know. Every time I hear certain Mayday Parade songs–especially Three Cheers For Five Years. It’s crazy how five years from when I first heard that song and associated it with you, you died.

I think of you whenever I hear a song from Annie Get Your Gun. Sometimes I think of you when I think of Harry Potter, since the seventh book is the reason we started talking in the first place. I think of you when I think of the movie, “Cars.” I think of you when I hear the song “Remembering Sunday,” because you once posted a Youtube video of you and a friend singing that. Same goes for the song “Jar of Hearts.” I think about you when people talk about having songs written about them, and how you told me you once wrote a song about me. And then I remember that I’ll never get to hear it.

I loved you. Then I hated you. Then I didn’t really know how I felt about you…

And then you died.