Most women have experienced the fabled love at first sight. You see him—the golden boy—and time is suspended while you drink in his physical beauty, his strong even sturdy physique, the golden sheen of his hair, and his eyes…oh. . .those eyes light brown with golden flecks. You rush to touch him, to hold him, and in that moment, even though you know better, even though you know he’s selfish, mischievous, disrespectful, and has no respect for material objects, in that moment you are completely besotted.
It happened to me most recently on December 14, 2011. In the parking lot of a McDonald’s in Boca Raton. When a co-worker from Taylor and Francis introduced us, he clung to me, looked up at me with those golden eyes and I could swear he smiled. His whiskers twitched and I am sure he was purring to himself, “Landed me a good one this time! Sucker!”
I was told his name was Pumpkin, but somewhat indignantly, I responded, “He is neither a fruit nor a vegetable to be brought out only in the Fall. He is a handsome redhead and henceforth he shall be known as Handsome Harry because he reminds me of Prince Harry of the House of Windsor..
And yes, he is a cat.
And yes, he is both handsome and beautiful.
And yes, I am still besotted.
But oh, what I have had to give up since Harry came to live with the family. Tidbit and Phannie Love accept him. Sophie and New Year’s Evita (another story) adore him.
I can no longer relax in my recliner in the living room to watch television. As soon as I turn the TV on, Harry jumps up on the stand, weaves his way through the minefield of objects I have placed there to dissuade him, and watches TV. His head swivels from one side to the other as the characters on the screen move. That’s bad enough, but soon he’s bored so he stretches up to the top of the TV where he scratches. The only way I can watch TV is to put him in the bathroom—where he’ll tear up the toilet paper and drag everything out of the cabinet beneath the basin.
I can no longer take a bath without Harry watching and sometimes falling into the tub. In addition, because Harry finds me so fascinating, he is now joined by Sophie and Evie. Having your every move in such an intimate setting observed and judged is extremely discomfiting. Furthermore, I can no longer simply brush my teeth because running water fascinates him. He jumps up on the counter. I put him down. He jumps back up. I repeat the motion. So does he. Finally, I brush my teeth and put on my makeup maneuvering around his gorgeous orange tiger head.
Then there’s the issue of my jewelry. I used to have an earring tree from which I could see and easily select the earrings to go with whatever I was wearing to work. No longer. The earring tree is hidden in a drawer along with my necklaces and rings.
And visitors to my home who needs must use the “facilities,” are told where I hide the toilet paper. And if they wash their hands or rinse a cup in the kitchen, they are told where I hide the paper towels.
It’s been ages since I’ve eaten sitting down, but to be fair that’s not entirely Harry’s fault. The cats automatically assume that anything I’m doing is more interesting than typical feline pastimes and what I’m eating is tastier than their cuisine.
Is it worth it?
Yes. Handsome Harry saunters into the living room, puts his paws on my thigh, and looks up at me with incredible love and acceptance. He is gentle. Regardless of how fiercely we play, he never scratches me, never draws blood. At night, he takes his section of the bed out of the center, but he’s gracious and lets me have room. Then he nestles next to me and purrs. Okay, so occasionally he wakes me up to play with my toes at 3 or 4 a.m. I can always go back to sleep. And he is so funny, so awkward sometimes, that he makes me smile and laugh.
Sometimes love at first sight is genuine. Handsome Harry is proof.