I hate cats.

I always have. I guess it started because my father had an intense dislike of them. He was one of those silver spoon kids that always had really nice furniture and he was afraid that a cat would claw it to bits.

More than disliking them, I feared them. Their almost devious eyes... The way they take delight in torturing smaller things... The way they move... It is like something between a saunter and a very purposeful flow of limbs shifting.. The noises they make... A purr sounds like some broken machine. Their meow is demanding. That "hmm" sound they make conveys exactly what they want you to feel, animosity. The way they flick their tails.

Cats know when you don't like them. They find it fascinating and like you all the more. It is a very common thing for a cat to zone in on me among a group of people to pester. Some do it because they can't fathom why I wouldn't like them. Some do it to torture me, show their power over me.

I got literally chased by a cat for something like eight blocks. This guy I vaguely knew had a big gnarly manx that always looked terrifying. He encouraged me to pet the cat and, as I reached my arm out to pet it, it took a hunk out of my ankle. My first instinct was to run. I turned back and saw the cat pursuing me. I had a friend who lived nearby. I figured the cat would lose interest by the time I made it to her house. I scaled the fence to her backyard and landed flat on the ground. I sighed, thinking it was all over and then the cat jumped on top of the fence. I scrambled to my feet and ran into the house through the sliding glass backdoor. My friend's mother looked at me, astonished, and said she didn't think I was coming over. I told her a cat was chasing me and I needed to get away from it.

"Cats don't go around chasing people." Her brow furrowed.

I pointed to the glass door where the manx was watching me. I think that blew her mind.

People who like cats are strange to me. I mean, I understand sort of. They are more independent than dogs. Often, they need less from you. They exercise themselves and they are relatively clean. On the other hand, I can't imagine wanting something that claws you and is basically a sponge. They take what they want from you: the occasional pet, food, attention. But it is all on their terms. I don't like that.

That is what I like about dogs. They are completely in love with you. If I devote time, money, love and effort into something it better damn well love me back.

There are only two cats that have broken through my hard wall of prejudice. One was a stray that started hanging around my house. I deemed him "Little Bob" because he naturally had a bobtail. He was easily the cutest cat I have ever seen with his gray and black marbling and sweet face. He was a rambunctious rascal, always running and hopping around. He disappeared one day. I hoped that he was not a casualty to the dangerous street I lived on.

The other cat I like belongs to a friend of mine. Her name is Lilly. Lilly is not what you would call "cute". She is more elegant looking . I couldn't stand her when we first met. She was feral at first, which was a good thing. I liked her not attempting to engage me in any way. After a while, though, she began to realize big old me was terrified of little old her and she decided to fuck with me. Every time I would sit down, she would be on my lap, digging into my clothes. I would try to stand and she would just dig her claws in deeper, petrifying me. I was far too scared to remove her from my lap. My friend had to constantly take her of my lap, sometimes once immediately after the next.

I grew to care for her because she meant everything to my friend even though she enjoyed messing with me more than I would have liked. We finally bonded one day when I was catsitting her and she and I were locked out of the apartment. Lilly was my friend's world and if anything happened to her on my watch I would not have been able to have lived with myself. I sats with her and told her how sorry I was about the whole thing. In a way, she seemed to understand my emotions and be affected by them.

After that, she no longer tormented me. She accepted me and I her. She even got to the point where she could be my lap cat and not claw me. In a messed up way, I was her "mom" and she was my pet.

I miss her sometimes.

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