Cats create Christmas-break havoc, change of heart for columnist and future ‘cat-ladyhood’

Roxy Hammond

Roxy Hammond

It was poet Maya Angelou that said, “You can never go home again.” And after these last few weeks, I’ve decided she’s right.

This Christmas break, I did what every other college student does and packed my bags for a rousing couple of weeks back in my hometown of Mitchell. After catching up with old friends and hitting the hot Mitchell bar scene (yeah, right), I settled back in on my futon … And started to realize that my house smelled like cat pee. Gross.

This was because over break we had five cats living at my house. Yes, five. You may need to take a couple deep breaths after that … But make sure not to do it through your nose.

How does one acquire so freaking many cats, one may ask? Very carefully.

You start by getting one cat when you’re in elementary school (Tiger, now 16), and follow it another two years later (Fluffy, now 14). You exist happily for another 10 years with simply two cats … before your roommate calls you up with a stray living on her grandmother’s porch (Beans, 2) because apparently, you have sucker written all over your face. You foster said stray cat, and find him a new home … but then end up with him anyway because his new owner’s husband re-enlists in the military and they have to move. Confused yet? We’re only at three.

You then acquire another cat from your younger sister’s idiot boyfriend (Frank, 1.5). You decide to keep this one in order to accompany Beans because the old cats are crabby and won’t play with him.

Finally, about a year later, your friends visit and discover a tiny orange kitten running across the street, so they decide to pick him up and take him back to your house (Mike, 6 months) because, once again, you have sucker written all over your face. And before you know it, you have five cats!

Now, I love cats. I absolutely adore them. However, over this Christmas break, I found myself ready to abandon my future plans as a cat lady. That is a little scary for me to admit. Then again, after cleaning up a runny pile of crap IN FRONT of the litter box, I decided maybe having only two or three cats isn’t such a bad idea.

Life was interesting back at home in Mitchell. For example, on an average day, I would wake up in a strange S-shaped formation, with one cat curled up on my chest, another on my butt and a third behind my knees. I would stumble to the bathroom, avoiding a pile of cat barf but stepping on a cat. Once in the bathroom, I’d have to kick the cat out of the sink so I could brush my teeth. By the time I got into the shower, out of the shower and to work, I would have tripped over some cat at least five more times.

This was followed by several more cat-trips throughout the day, sometimes at the top of the stairs when they tried to kill you. I’d go on the computer and check my e-mail, only to be joined by a cat licking my mouse pad and one trying to eat a piece of tape or paper out of the garbage can next to me.

Once, when I was attempting to do my nails, Frank jumped up on my desk and stole my nail file. I discovered her downstairs later, about a foot away from my nicely chewed emery board. She looked at me very sweetly as I cursed her name. And yes, her name is Frank, and she is a girl. Long story.

Moving back to Brookings not only let me sleep in an actual bed again, but also let me reclaim my love for cats, since I don’t want to kill at least two of them a day. This is good, because I don’t want my future cat-ladyhood to come into question. By then I hope to lose my ability to smell and taste anyway, so the strong scent of ammonia won’t even bother me.

But, after I discovered that some little bastard cat had peed on my suitcase, I decided that was the last straw and moved back just a few days early. Maybe I’m not ready for cat-ladyhood quite yet.

After all, maybe Maya Angelou didn’t own any cats. Because then she may have realized that sometimes, you don’t really want to go home at all.

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