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Monday, 14 January 2013

Fat cat warms hearts

"If your cat isn't fat, you don't love it enough." - My friend's mum

This is my giant cat George Vanilla-Gorilla. He is too fat for Japan so I left him with my parents in Australia where he has become a neighbourhood legend. He waits on the front fence all day for people to walk past, pat him, and rub his stomach.

Having George (and his twin sister Jasmine Vanilla-Bear) has really changed my outlook on life. I never had a pet growing up so when people talked about their pets and showed me photos I felt completely indifferent and disinterested. I used to nod and smile politely, but inside I was bored out of my brain and I secretly felt like they were being socially inept to talk about such a dull topic.

But then my younger sister got a cat (Wilbur) and she let me cat-sit for a few weeks. During those few weeks, I grew to love Wilbur, despite the fact that he was snooty and refused to be in the same room as me. After he moved out, I missed him and his cranky glare so much. I waited for the feeling to pass but after a few months, when I still really missed him, I decided to get my own cats. George and Jasmine brought so much happiness and joy to my life and, despite being called a crazy cat woman by everyone, I couldn’t stop myself from talking about them and showing people pictures.

I’ve been so surprised by the strength of my feelings for my cats. I had nothing to do with creating them and the feeling certainly isn’t mutual - they couldn’t care less whether I lived or died. But I don’t mind. I love them even more. Now I’m enthralled by other people’s stories about their pets. I can spend hours on the internet looking at cat photos and movies. And when I see a stray cat wandering the streets of Tokyo I feel happy and excited.

This extreme change has left me wondering what other things in life I don’t understand and have misunderstood because I haven’t experienced them yet. For example, I have no interest in car racing and I find it really boring when people talk about it. Am I missing something? Is there a magic trick I can use (like getting a cat) to become interested?