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.