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Monday, January 28, 2008

Single Woman with Cats

Making Mandoo
Photo by myself, in Koreatown.

There's always mandoo (Korean dumplings) being made at the Mandoo Bar on 32nd and Fifth Avenue.


I don't remember things often. My brain is a sieve. If anyone asks me to tell a joke or recite a poem on the spot, I'm speechless.

I do, however, recall one of the best cartoons ever. It was in The New Yorker, by Leo Cullum.

A man stands in front of his cat, shaking his finger and scowling. He says to the cat, 'Never, ever, think outside the box.'

For a while now, my cat Dida has been doing just that. She's ruined the wood of the laundry room floor. Mark and I have gotten fed up (Mark especially) and now Dida has been relocated to the bathroom, along with her litter, a bowl of water and a bowl of food.

When I adopted Dida, I also adopted two of her kittens. She'd had a beautiful litter, and the whole family spent their days in the window of a pet store on Ninth Avenue. Only Dida and two kittens remained when I finally went into the store. I wanted the two kittens, but I walked out with three cats. Yes, I'm a softie, and I didn't want anyone to be left out.

After adopting the cats, I was sensitive to that cliche, 'single woman with cats'. I was single, I lived in a walk-up in New York, I had cats. The cats kept me company. I took care of them and in their own way, they cared for me. I coined my screen name 'Kittylittered', because I was 'littered with cats'.

The single woman with multiple cats is an urban cliche. It mixes a couple of beliefs together - that women, especially single ones, have a preference for cats over dogs, and that it's easy for women to wind up alone in the city.

I have to wonder why 'single woman with cats' is also supposed to be funny. Because not everyone is a cat lover? Because to shack up with cats means to isolate oneself, when you really need to let your hair down and go out?

The two kittens grew up to be cats, and two years ago they died suddenly within six months of each other. I won't go into how they died, but it was sudden and sad. Now, Dida doesn't remember that she was a mom (I don't believe. We haven't talked this out, but she doesn't act like a mom, and she doesn't act like she misses any cats, which I guess is a good thing).

Like any self-respecting cat, Dida's been yowling from her little prison. Hopefully, she'll only have to stay there a couple weeks before she's cured of her 'little problem'.

Until then, I'll be an attached woman with a wailing cat in the background.


sid said...

I have two cats of my own. I can spend hours watching them chase each other around. I don't care what people say about single women and cats. They make me happy.

Kitty said...

Welcome, Sid!

Thank goodness for cat people. Anyone who has animals, really.

Dida doesn't care what they say either. I can get a little too sensitive!

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hi Kitty, although I'm more of a dog person I don't get the stigma of the single woman with cats thing either. I wonder where it came from.

Hope Dida recovers from her 'little problem' soon. We used to have to shut our labrador in the kitchen over night as he would chew any shoes he came across otherwise.

Spandrel Studios said...

While growing up, the only dogs we encountered were at my aunt's house: First, little Gunther the dachshund, who was mild-mannered except when provoked. Next was Mugsy, an extremely loud and confrontational springer spaniel who barked uncontrollably and attacked every visitor, family included.

Still (or maybe because of that?), cats remain my favorite. They have distinct personalities and I love their independent nature.

May Dida be back to her old self soon.

Kitty said...

Thanks ladies.

I have hope for her yet!

Anonymous said...

Awww poor Dida. Perhaps she needs counselling? They probably have cat whisperers in NY???

You are right about the Cat myth. It is the same here. And whenever they have one of those progs on TV about filth and grime (the ones where you are very glad you don't have Smellyvision) they always have a case of a single woman with hundreds and hundreds of cats in a tiny tiny flat.

Cats are good company though. I rather miss mine.

Thanks for your kind comments over on my blog.

mama's got moxie said...

"my brain is a sieve." i love it. that's totally been my brain for the past two and a half years. i think they call it mommy brain. basically the result of not getting proper sleep, i guess. oh, it sucks. i can't retain a thing! haha!!

Kitty said...

lol, mama!
at least you're enjoying it!