When I moved into the apartment I’m in now, I had the understanding that a single man had occupied it previously. It had been uninhabited for some time, so while dusting behind the stove, under the dishwasher, etc., I was very disturbed to find what can only be described as a grown-man’s-dumpsworth of uneaten cat food bits.
It reinforced a long understood axiom of mine that grown men should not own cats. Not by themselves anyway.
I get it. Cats are tidy. They keep to themselves. A good litter box and they’re reasonably low maintenance, perfect for a guy who’s always on the go, traveling for business, or just bedding a lot of strange women at their place. It makes a lot of sense. Dogs you’ve gotta take out, walk them, feed them, give them at least 60 seconds of attention: all things you don’t need to do with a cat.
But the main reason you get a pet is for companionship, and cats, while pragmatic, are soulless creatures that would rather kill you than look at you.
My family has a cat back in Arkansas. We got him around third grade or so, so he’s led a full, nice life. He’s like a dog, this cat, Smokey. You’ll be sitting on the porch, and he’ll come up and nuzzle and cuddle with you, just like your best Golden Retriever or Labrador. But I don’t think for a minute that if Smokey were vested with the power to grow to the size of a lion, or the brain power to operate heavy machinery, that he wouldn’t rip me and a friend or family member of mine that he’d ever come across into as tiny of bits he could manage just to see us BLEED. You can see it in his eyes. YOU CAN SEE IT IN THEIR EYES. I’ve seen what they do to squirrels.
This perception has been a cornerstone of my upbringing, and, as I watch The Godfather on this afternoon, I am shocked to realize something I hadn’t ever before: Vito Corleone, the best Godfather of them all, owned a cat.
It wasn’t his wife’s or his grandchildren’s cat. It was in his office with all of the other important people in his inner sanctum, answering the requests asked of him on the day of his daughter’s wedding, REQUESTS HE COULD NOT REFUSE. This was an integral part of the ENTIRE COSTA NOSTRA. It wasn’t just roaming the house like an idiot. Barzini could’ve just nabbed him and made the little sucker SQUEAL. He got Abe Vigoda, after all.
So maybe there’s something to cats after all. I mean, if the Godfather can have one, why can’t anyone else? Why shouldn’t I be able to get a little feline critter if I see fit?
Quite simply, I’m just not that guy. The Godfather can pull off a lot of things I can’t, liked slicked back hair, cats, and cotton balls inexplicably being jammed in my mouth. Plus, I think my awesome, 95 lbs. dog would destroy a cat in whatever hilarious fashion he saw fit.
Because dogs are awesome, you see.