If only I had wanted a pony like every other little girl...

Since the first time I showed interest in a kitten, way back in my days as a toddler, people have felt compelled to buy me any number of things related to felines. Although the most interesting item I have ever received along these lines was the bobble-head, cat-shaped, Tiffany-style lamp, purchased for me by my grandma, the most popular gift of choice is easily books. I am thus the owner of a never-ending collection of tomes regarding the proper way to care for cats, stories of cats, facts about cats, myths about cats, jokes about cats, and anything in between.

These books taught me two things that have stuck with me to this day. First, cats supposedly start purring before they die. I received my first kitten as a gift from my parents for not crying during the first week of kindergarten. However, I spent many an afternoon weeping as I held my new kitten, hoping to high heaven that Patches was purring out of happiness this time and not because his heart was about to collapse.

The second thing I learned about cats is that, in a room full of people, they tend to gravitate toward the person showing them the least attention. This person is deemed to be the least threatening and aggressive and, therefore, the owner of the safest lap upon which to nap.

Having taken inventory of my most recent crushes in life and their astounding disinterest in me, I'm wondering if I spent too much of my childhood pretending to be a tiger and not enough time burning those traumatizing cat books.