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The Election Made Me Get a Cat

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a woman in possession of deep anxiety over politics must be in want of a tiny creature to obsess over.

Image: Luca (Milano) on Flickr / Zoom // Remix by Caitlin Schneider

We’re hosting our own Election Night Twitch stream and Discord chat! It all kicks off at 7 p.m. ET—get all the details here.

In retrospect, it was probably always going to happen this way. 

I’ve wanted a second cat for years. My husband and I adopted our first, a shy black and brown tabby named Herbert back in January 2016 (in the before before times), and maybe a year later, I started casually browsing for another one as a playmate, sibling, and companion for Bert. I’ve searched in fits and starts ever since, occasionally showing a good boy or girl to Tony to gauge his reaction. He never took the bait—citing concerns over feline compatibility, space, and other, ever-changing life stuff. I accepted these reservations and forged ahead. Then, in October 2020 (yes, like a week ago), I saw a three-month-old grey tabby while high at about 11 p.m. I was so serious about this three-month-old grey tabby that I waited until the next morning to say anything to Tony about him. This might not seem like a big deal, but I can assure you, it was a Herculean effort. I knew instinctively that this was a secret that needed to marinate. 

When I finally did let the cat out of the bag, things became very serious, very fast. We dutifully applied, we sent emails back and forth, we got extremely invested, and on Sunday night, we met the three-month-old grey tabby on Google Hangouts. We chose outfits, fixed our hair, adjusted the lighting, soothed each other’s nerves, stared at a blank screen waiting for his foster mom to dial in, and awaited the physical manifestation of an unreasonable amount of hope. Then we sat and watched the little furball scamper around, pounce at mask strings, attack, flop, and spontaneously fall asleep. For roughly 30 minutes we asked meandering questions and mostly laughed with his caretaker about the blessed distraction of a kitten during All This and how weird it was to be engaged in virtual meet and greet with a cat in the first place. 

I’m not going to show you the three-month old grey tabby or tell you his name because it’s not Official yet—there’s papers to be filed and details to be sorted. But barring any unforeseen hiccups or this blog becoming a massive jinx, this cat will be ours within days. And something about the timing feels both cosmic, and, obviously, the result of simple force of will and a byproduct of the insane headspace we’re all in right now. In the last seven days, I’ve deep cleaned my home, spent many hours on catchup phone calls with loved ones, bought a freaking professional-grade KitchenAid mixer, spent THREE DAYS making BA’s Best Bread (hands down the best bread I’ve ever made), replanted plants that did not need replanting, made a Halloween costume for no reason (Chucky), and had several embarrassingly lengthy conversations with my husband about the life we might soon have with a cat we might soon acquire. It is abundantly clear that my household has long been in dire need of a distraction and something to invest ourselves in that isn’t the fate of the country. 

Obviously, we’re not alone. Many, many people are adopting now and have been since coronavirus took over our lives eight months ago. If you were already inclined, there’s never been a better time both logistically and emotionally. And I wouldn’t be surprised if the already surging adoption numbers hit a fever pitch this week along with frivolous online shopping and unreasonable candy consumption. Our nerves are fried. We are running with our eyes wide open into the tornado. It might be nice to have a sprightly kitten with us for the journey.  

If things somehow fall through with the three-month-old grey tabby, I will be utterly devastated, but also full of gratitude for the impossibly small creature that offered a reasonably healthy fixation in what has been an incredibly tense week, in an incredibly tense year, in an incredibly tense four years. No matter what happens tonight, I’ll bask in the joy of having something to worry about that isn’t the President of the United States. In many ways, that’s what this election is all about anyway.

(The cat in the picture is not the cat we might get.)