I just recently acquired a cat. Truth be told, it was for a utilitarian reason – I had a slight mouse problem. I live in New York City…it happens. Alright, I’ll admit I may have brought it upon myself. You see, at the time I was mired in a months-long, Manhattan malaise and I suppose I let things pile up – namely the refuse of all the late night tuna melts I’d comfort eaten. As I said, I live in New York City — the world capital of rodents and desperation.

So, I got a cat.

I’m a solitary man. I’m wary of relationships, even with other species. Still, my fear of being the poster boy for middle aged, entropic decay subsumed my reticence to commit to the care of a needy/kneady feline. It’s been eight months or so and I’m still not sure if I made the right decision. I’ll say one thing, the second the cat came on the scene, the mice took a powder.

Of course, now I’m stuck with the cat.

His name is Mel, by the way…short for Melvin. He’s a boy, and not particularly smart. He enjoys eating and waking me up at all hours. I haven’t had a decent night’s sleep since he became my roommate. My apartment, however, is free of mice. Of course, now I’ve incurred not only a substantial financial expense, but an additional source of worry. Will he be alive when I get home? Is he happy? Am I doing enough? These should not be the concerns of an unattached man living in New York City – they’re downright feminine for Christ’s sake.

Is cat ownership making me less of a man?

Men should have dogs, right? A buddy to run around town with. A wingman to help pull the ladies. Dogs are mensches – man’s best friend. Women love dudes with dogs – cat guys are a different story. Let’s face it, men with cats are perceived as…I dunno – slightly off? They’re a pale, feeble lot –the perpetual outsiders. They are weaker. They get less exercise. They’re collectors of vinyl, comic books, Pez dispensers…they’re obsessed with old movies and jazz. They don’t partake in life. They retreat into their curated little existences…their little routines, much like – a cat.

I don’t know if I made the right decision getting Mel.

Was ridding my apartment of mice worth all the trouble, not to mention the assault on my masculinity? I dunno, I guess if I’m going to be honest, I’ve never really been much of a man – not in a conventional sense, anyway. I am one of those pasty, vinyl obsessed outsiders – a card carrying member of the brotherhood of nerdy, opinionated, desperate outcasts, relegated to society’s fringe.

And now I’ve got a cat.

Still, it is nice to have a presence in my apartment to relate too, other than the shadows on the wall. And he is nice to look at…he really ties a room together. And sure, he’s good for an occasional snuggle – though he refuses to sleep with me, preferring the side table next to the bed. He’s a fine boy, overall…a good hearted beast. Either way, I’m stuck with him now – for better or worse.

Me and Mel.

He did his job and now I’ve got to come through on my end of the bargain. Men are usually squeamish that way – coming through on their end of the bargain. But like I said, I was never much of a man…not in a conventional sense, anyway. Screw it, who cares if people look at me as some pathetic, middle-aged cat guy. I guess that’s what I’ve become – it was my destiny. So, he wakes me up all hours, sticking his flat drooly face in mine…meowing in those irritating, repetitive bursts like a meowing mental patient. I’ll just deal with it — what else can I do? Besides, living in New York City…it’s tough. You get lonely…depressed…mired in Manhattan malaise. Sometimes, it gets to be a bit much on your own. Well, now I’m not alone.

I’ve got a cat.


About Author

I'm a writer/editor with a penchant for saddle shoes, pontification and fried pork rinds. Equal parts gadfly, cut-up, provocateur, philosopher, and silly-willy. My personal heroes include Reggie Jackson, Elvis Costello and Philip Roth.

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