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They say you're either a cat person, or a dog person-though I'll admit I do have a couple of friends who swing both ways. In university I had a boyfriend who hated cats, and they hated him. He used to hiss and flick water at my roommate's cat. One day the cat relieved both her bladder and bowel in the dead centre of my bed. I scrubbed the heck out of that quilt but every time I washed it there was the oval stain, sending me a clear message. I broke up with my boyfriend. I never told him it was the cat. He'd have to sort out his messed-up life by himself, do his own soul-searching. It wasn't my job to tell him he should be dating a dog-person.
Adopting a kitten seemed like a pretty sensible, cost-effective alternative to having a kid, so James and I set off to WAG, the Whistler Animals Galore shelter. Although the cattery was separated from the kennel, the incessant barking was enough to drive a cat-person up a tree. I tried to bolt. James blocked the door. "Let's just take a look."
There were no pure black kittens or cats. The next closest thing was a black mama cat with a white stripe and socks called Scream. She had a litter of three kittens. The dilemma was how to choose between them? This was the critical part. We had to be careful not to choose a bad kitty. Ideally, one that had an abundance of personality, but wouldn't shred the condo carpet, or our ankles. From the back of the cage bounced a black kitten with white socks. He had an uneven white stripe and a black spot on his cheek, a beauty mark. He was two hundred pounds of cute compacted into a fist-size ball of fluff. The black hole of cute. For us, there would be no escaping his event horizon. But before we could adopt him we had to answer several questions: Do you have children? (No, we're sublimating. That's why we're getting a cat.) How much do you think it will cost to feed your pet for one year? (Um, a thousand dollars? No cat of ours would go to bed hungry.)
The WAG employee smiled. "Couples with no children make the best homes for the pets. They treat their animals like they're their kids." She had us nailed.