The Cat-Owner Cocktail

April 25, 2010

I am a 40-year-old gay man with everything that defines happiness: a well-paying job I enjoy, a long-term commitment to someone I love, a house once featured in our local newspaper, and many caring friends that actually like me (or at least pretend to).

Unfortunately, this joyous life is often (and at times literally) shit upon by five felines that have contaminated our home with slimy puke, scratched furniture, monstrously large cat hair tumbleweeds, and trails of stray litter.  This infestation occurred over the course of five years, and I have yet to find an exterminator in the area that is willing to rid me of these pests (nor the ability to convince my partner of 8 years that such a procedure is necessary).

In addition to the stress involved in keeping a two-bedroom house ready for the cover of Clean Homes Monthly Magazine, there is a stigma tagged onto you after confessing to harboring a number of cats that requires your entire hand to count (preemptive apologies to any finger amputees that find the latter statement offensive).  I’ve personally witnessed the change of a stranger’s demeanor and tone after hesitantly admitting to living among so many cats.  They either suddenly feel sorry for me or, for some reason, superior to me as if your social standing is gauged by the number of cats you own (the higher they are, the lower you are).  Because of this, I’ve begun to lie about how many I have, learning through experimentation that two seems to be the optimal number to own before you begin sliding down the slope of civility.

Until I am capable of conveying a worthy argument to my partner as to why a cat-free home is a happier home, I had no other choice but to drown my anxiety and depression under a mixture of over-the-counter and prescription medication.  I am by no means encouraging people to drown their feelings with drugs. I mean, there are healthier options such as “talking to each other” or “putting your foot down and saying ‘no’,” but let’s face it, drugs are just easier to do.

The following is a list of pills that comprise this wondrous mixture I call the Cat Cocktail:

  • Ibuprofen (400 to 600 mg):  Alleviates the stress headaches caused by the creeping stench of cat crap that greets me at the door when I get home from work every day.  You would think that a cat would know how to cover their own butt sludge (and most of the time they do); unfortunately, my experience with a blind cat has taught me that they typically fail at such a simple task.
  • Diphenhydramine (50 mg): Quells the sneezing fits and itchy eyes.  The drowsiness it causes also helps me sleep through the nights of fighting and rambunctious playing.
  • Duloxetine (60 mg): Anti-depressant that has helped eliminate my depression associated with how overwhelmed I feel when trying to maintain a clean house behind five sloppy animals.  Though the surges of manic cleaning have abated, I still refuse to have company in my home for fear of it being reported to the city and subsequently condemned as unsuitable for habitation.  I may live in squalor, but at least I’m finally apathetic about it.
  • Alprazolam (10 mg): Suppresses the fits of unbridled rage I experience after slipping on a patch of wet hairball that is settling into our hardwood floor or finding a cable chewed through like a licorice stick.

Through my drugged haze, I sometimes recall people asking me why I keep allowing cats into our home if they cause me so much misery.  In my emotionally numb state, I scoff at them and reply through slurred speech and the unintentional lip-flicking of spittle that my partner may be a pathetic animal lover, but I love him more than I hate those cats.

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