Just like every other person who has ever been lucky enough to own (or, rather, be owned by) a cat, I believe that my black, furry, bean-toed friend is the most wonderful creature ever to walk the Earth.
He's certainly the only one I would ever let walk across my face at 4am in a shameless bid to gain my attention… (unless, of course, I ever get another cat).
Yes, since my purring bundle of joy came into my life 8 years ago in an act of ingenious and adorable stealth – hiding in my coat pocket as a kitten in the hope I would take him home – I have been well and truly addicted to the cat-lady life.
However, it's fair to say that being owned by a cat can have some weird effects on your behaviour. If you're wondering whether you too could fall into the cat-lady (or man!) trap, look no further: here are the 9 warning signs to look out for…
1.You Spend Half the Day Hovering in Doorways
We've all been there: standing in the doorway for what seems like forever, watching your four-legged friend do their own bizarre rendition of the okey-cokey, where the 'in's and the 'out's are spaced a few minutes apart. You wouldn't tolerate this level of indecisiveness in anyone else, but they're cute enough to make it work.
2.It’s Not So Much Getting from A to B, as from A to Z
Remember the days when you could walk directly across the kitchen without worrying what (or who) you might step on? Not anymore – each excursion has been transformed into an elaborate tango in which you are expected to pre-empt the precise position your cat might choose to place its tail at any given moment. Forget this at your peril.
3.You Often Go Out Looking Like Chewbacca
Wearing fur is unjustifiable… unless of course it's been bestowed upon you during snuggles by your loving pet, in which case it's cat-lady chic (at least, that's what us cat moms tell ourselves). I have long since surrendered to the inevitability of having every item of clothing I own covered in cat hair. My solution? Wear nothing but black (You can still see the hair. I'm not fooling anyone.)
4.“Meow” Can Become an In-Depth Conversation
Talking to your cat is one thing, but when you start becoming convinced that they're talking back, you've entered the crazy cat lady danger zone… and I say that as a person who lives her life quite happily in that danger zone.
5.You’ve Become a Culinary Expert in Cat Food
When it comes to food, I'll eat pretty much anything so long as it comes with fries. My cat is not so easy to please. Feeding time has become strategic, but I am well-prepared for his Michelin star standards: I not only know my cat's favourite brand of pet food, but what he likes when he doesn't like what he normally likes, what he likes when he's not actually hungry, and what he likes when he thinks I'm not looking. I've basically become a one-woman cat restaurant.
6.You Photograph Your Cat Like Other People Photograph Their Kids
"Oh, so little Julian has just started at primary school? That's a cute photo. Here, now look at my little munchkin in his favourite bow-tie" *shows endless stream of cat pictures* 'Cos that's totally normal… right?
7.You Sacrifice Your Comfort So Your Pet Doesn’t Have To
Pretty much every surface in my house – including me – now functions as kitty furniture. Resistance is futile.
8.You Buy Your Cat Presents (Even Though You Know They’d Rather Have the Box It Arrived In)
In fairness, my cat really loves cardboard. Possibly more than he loves me. It's a toss-up. If the box figures out how to dispense treats, I'm toast.