I was pregnant with Sofia when I had a revelation. We were at my parents’ house, and my baby sister (okay, she was 22) was talking to my parents about food, patiently explaining the merits and superfoodness of lemons. As an adult child of parents, this seemed totally natural. That’s what kids do. They teach their parents how to be more awesome.
As a pre-parent, though, it was like I was struck by lightning. I’d spent three decades carefully honing my awesomeness. What could some punk kid have to teach me?
Well. Sofia’s two, and she’s already proved that I’m not even close to as awesome as I previously thought.
Sofia’s first lesson to her parents: Cats (Apparently there are different breeds?)
I’m a dog person. Wait. Let me put it another way: I hate cats. Cats are the devil incarnate. Ever take a picture of a cat? Yeah, its eyes glow. Green, glowy, devil eyes.
Sofia is also a dog person. But she loves dogs like I love sandwiches. Cats, though, she loves like I love peanut butter cheesecake drizzled with chocolate sauce and served with a side of free money. When she sees a cat, she immediately throws down whatever is in her hands and breaks out in a sprint, arms extended, “meow meow” bursting from her lips (she speaks their language). So far, it hasn’t worked out well for her, but she keeps trying.
A more successful endeavor is her prodigy-like manipulation of YouTube. Which is how, inadvertently and against my will, I have become an expert on cats. Punk kid, indeed.
My pain is your gain. Without further ado, here are the top 10 cats you must own, if you must own a cat.
Best trait: It looks like a tiger.
Worst trait: But it doesn’t look that much like a tiger.
Upkeep: They have a dense, plush coat, so you have to brush them often.
The deciding factor: I guess I’m a snob, because if I’m going to pay a gazillion dollars for a cat that looks like a tiger, what I really want is a pygmy tiger. Do they make those yet?
The toyger would be a great party cat, not because I think it would be a fun dancer or a happy drunk, but because if you have him at a party, and you run out of things to say, you can say, “Hey look! My cat looks like a tiger!” But if you are like me and only have parties once a decade or so, it’s probably not going to be your best option.
Best trait: It has a perm.
Worst trait: It has a perm.
Upkeep: Once or twice a week brushing that permy, permy hair.
The deciding factor: I’m not sure if it’s a good idea to own a cat ironically. Which might be the only way I would want to have a cat with a perm.
This cat was named LaPerm because its hair is permy, and because “La” makes “Perm” sound fancy. I’m not kidding. Much like the Toyger, if I’m getting a cat with a perm, I want a cat with a perm, like this dog:
Best trait: You would never stop laughing at its short short legs.
Worst trait: They can never reach the top shelf.
Upkeep: Moderate grooming
The deciding factor: Just because something is hilarious doesn’t make it right.
These cats are really, really funny. Really funny. But the whole time I’m watching them, I hope that they trip on things and fall on their faces, because that seems like a really funny thing that they would do. Which means I probably shouldn’t have one.
Best trait: Did you see it?
Worst trait: I look at this cat and think “hair.” Thick, rabbitlike hair everywhere.
Upkeep: Grooming isn’t too intense, but shedding is a problem.
The deciding factor: Okay, shit’s about to get real. My sister has a cat with thick hair like this, and sometimes, when the beloved four-footed friend poops, it dries in her long, lustrous hair, and my sister has to cut it out. With scissors. NO THANK YOU.
This is the kind of cat that I’d like to visit, but not own. Because poop.
Best trait: This is a cat for the nerdy types (that means you). From Wikipedia; The name Nebelung – apparently a portmanteau of the German word (Nebel) for Mist or Fog and a medieval Germanic saga, Nibelungenlied – is perhaps derived from the cat’s distinctive silky blue-grey coat and from the breed’s progenitors, who were named after the two major figures in the Nibelungenlied, the German warrior Siegfried and the Icelandic queen Brunhilde.
Worst trait: See point above about poop.
Upkeep: Moderate grooming required.
The deciding factor: Poop, again.
This cat is the color known as Russian blue, which makes me snicker, because it’s grey. Apart from that, though, the coloring of the coat combined with the coloring of the eyes is stunning. You might literally be stunned every time this fella walks into a room.
Best trait: It’s the smallest of all cats so it’s like you get to have a kitten FOREVER.
Worst trait: If it gets pregnant, it has to have a C-section, which is an inferior method of birth. (JUST KIDDING. Not about needing a C-section, but about it being inferior.)
Upkeep: I don’t get it. Do you have to brush all cats? Because I would have guessed nothing, but it needs weekly brushings. I don’t even give myself weekly brushings.
The deciding factor: Well, there are a thousand deciding factors, really. And they are all dollars.
These little guys – I mean, they make a cat-hater not hate cats. They are like little mystical dollops of cute.
Best trait: It looks like an ocelot but it has no wild blood in it.
Worst trait: It looks like an ocelot but it has no wild blood in it.
Upkeep: Self-cleaning. Boo-yeah.
The deciding factor: You are supposed to brush their teeth, though. Boo.
This cat is pretty awesome. I kind of want a little bit of wildness in my cat, I mean, because wildness is cool. Also, as soon as you see a real ocelot, you realize that that’s what you really want.
Best trait: We have a winner. THIS CAT LOOKS LIKE A WILDCAT.
Worst trait: But it might try to kill you. Because, you know, wild.
Upkeep: Self-cleaning. Jackpot!
The deciding factor: They are perfectly fine pets, not aggressive and wild at all, as long as they are 3 or 4 generations removed from the leopard cat. Which makes me want to pee in my pants a little bit. I mean, if you say so, Wikipedia. But maybe it’ll try to murder you in your sleep.
#2 The Savannah
Best trait: Those spots! It’s like a mini cheetah. But don’t tell it that, because that is its cousin and it probably gets it all the time.
Worst trait: It’s banned in some places.
The deciding factor: This cat has some serious street cred.
The Savannah cat is apparently like a dog and a cheetah all rolled up into one. But cuddlier! It is all sorts of long and lithe and wildcat-like. Seriously, if you kind of hate cats but you want something awesome, this would be my pick. If you’ve got $50,000 to spare.
#1 – Nimbus. Or Lucy. Or Nimbus. Or Lucy.
I’d like you to meet Nimbus:
Best trait: Did you look at their pictures?
Worst trait: They already have owners, but maybe said owners will develop allergies.
Cost: Adoption fee/free
The deciding factor: Loooooove. Apparently, they come with neverending looooove.
You probably can’t own them (but let’s be honest here, you can’t afford the others, either), because they already have families that they apparently adore. But if there’s one takeaway from all this cat nonsense, it’s that there are all sorts of cats with all sorts of okay-to-better-than-okay qualities. Whenever I open Facebook, Sofia starts jumping up and down and says “CAAAAAT!” because these guys are on my feed.
In the end, obviously you want to choose a pet based on personality and fit in your family rather than how closely it resembles a wild beast (or a dog). And really, the best place to get any pet is a shelter, or the rescue that is run by my boss so that you can put in a good word for me and she will give me a promotion. Win-win.
Despite myself, my punk kid, at the ripe age of 2, has already opened my eyes to another world. And fine, I’ll admit it. Cats are okay.