All of these mean it’s just not going to work.
After a particularly bad date this year, I went to a bar with a friend. We laughed as she read the list aloud and joked about adding pettier items to it (wears Keen sandals to a first date/can’t come up with a single hobby besides “hanging out with my friends”).
We were tipsy by the time she got to No. 29: “Loves cats and has a cat that only lives inside/has more than one cat.”
Her voice faltered on this item. I took a sip of my cocktail. My friend looked up at me.
“You’re going to die alone,” she said.
It’s important to keep blunt people in your life. She’s right. I’ve long since accepted it. I’m a lesbian who hates cats, and I am going to die alone.
Do you know who mostly owns cats? Women. Queers. Not all women, and not all queers, obviously, but go on, I dare you — try being queer and hating cats and looking online for dates. So many queers on Tinder or Her or OkCupid are obsessed with their cats. Sometimes they will post pictures of their cats as their only profile picture. The picture they want to show to prospective lovers as representative of who they are? A tabby wrapped in a blanket.
Even if there’s no cat picture on their profile, even if you meet that rare someone who doesn’t show you cat pictures on their phone immediately on your first date, nine times out of 10, you will walk in their front door and see a haughty, fluffy tail moving away from you. “Oh, that’s Shadow,” your new date will say. “I got her with my ex. Watch out when you go around corners — she likes to play-attack.”
No cat is play-attacking you, my friends. There is only attacking and not-attacking, and I am consistently amazed at the number of people who think it’s cute to be pounced on in the dark, in your own home, by something with razor-wire claws.
Cats are the worst pet. Cats can literally eat you after a period of 24 hours if you die in an apartment with them. They don’t wait to see if you’re maybe just sleeping super hard. They start with the eyeballs.
Cats go to the bathroom in a box inside your house, kick their own feces, which can be riddled with nasty viruses, and then hop on counters where food is being prepared or wander lazily on dining room tables, where food is served and eaten. People seem fine with this. People I cannot date.
Cats get litter between their toes and track it all over the house, so the pleasure of being barefoot is ruined at every gross, gravelly step. If you are dating someone who allows their cat in bed with them, then see above: Cats kick their own feces, so now there is both cat litter and cat feces in the bed. The bed is where sex and sleeping happen, by the way — important activities to share with someone you’re dating.
Cats don’t love you. They don’t. It has been proven. They are narcissistic serial killers who are manipulating you with their every move. They’re not excited when you come home from work or a trip; in fact, they punish you for leaving by peeing on soft surfaces or destroying the first couch you ever bought that wasn’t from Ikea.
I have exes like that.
I’ve often wondered why women and queers love cats so much, and in the end, I think it might be this: It’s possible we’ve been conditioned to love and perform labor for creatures that don’t necessarily love us back, care about our needs and may even wish us ill. Like women loving cis men. Like all of us in the dating world, intrigued by the person who doesn’t want us but is terribly, terribly cute and elusive and gives us just enough hope to continue the pursuit.
Cats mirror bad relationships. They ghost you. You want your cat to love you, so you feed your cat special food it likes; you brush it, you clean up after it and try really hard to win its affection, and in the end — where’s the cat? The cat has been on the top shelf of the closet, sleeping, for 11 hours; the cat doesn’t care. Cats string you along with tiny rewards — a burst of purring on the couch, a 20-second “making biscuits” chest massage (claws can absolutely be felt, but isn’t he sweet!) — and keep you emotionally invested in the relationship.
People who really love cats are masochists; they’re so happy to be even acknowledged by their evil-yet-adorable pets that they will keep taking care of them indefinitely, aware they’re being used. Aware that they’re being exposed to bacteria and the incredible nastiness that is cat litter and still O.K. with their end of the bargain.
Maybe this is what’s really behind No. 29 on my list of deal breakers: Truly loving cats means hating yourself. And that’s a quality I cannot accept in dates. But message me if you’re a dog person.