First of all, I'd like to say that the amount of abuse I face when out around town with a cat in a stroller has been surprisingly minimal. I get the odd drive-by shouting when people see me pushing a stroller while smoking a cigarette, but I just throw my head back and start cackling, because the joke is on them, there's a cat in there. Likewise, the horrified looks on people's faces when I'm not looking where I'm going and ram the stroller into a stationary object, go, "Oops! Sorry baby!" and carry on. Most people who stop and talk to me tell me how beautiful my baby is (yay) and talk to her, and we talk about how brilliant or cool it is that a cat stroller even exists and what a great idea it is, or how they're gonna get one now. I secretly plan to have a Sunday morning park group of cat stroller ladies some day.
I know what you're thinking. Crazy cat lady. And you're right. I'm definitely crazy (more on that in a different article) and I'm a god-tier cat lady. There's no denying that after you reach the stage in your life where you NEED to spend over 100 dollars on a big pink cat stroller.
The one pictured above sitting and meowing happily in her pink pram is Freyja. She's about seven months old now and we rescued her when she was found by the side of the road. Since we adopted her at six weeks, she seems to think I am actually her big and for some reason furless cat mommy. She was also, believe it or not, my first cat, and she is spoiled rotten. She has a stroller, I mean, come on.
Now, enter Lucipurr. Lucipurr was going to be named Lulubelle, for the record, but my husband hated that name and started coming up with all Star Trek names, then listing deities, and I, forgetting how much my husband absolutely LOVES terrible puns, said, "Well, if you're going to name her after a deity, it has to be Lucipurr." And from that moment on, Luci's name was set in stone.
Before I spend this entire article talking about how awesome my cats are, let me get back on track. Sometimes, the girls protest going into the stroller, but don't let them fool you. Like I tell my husband, if you think getting a child into a stroller is going to be any easier, you're dead wrong. I should mention that Freyja LOVES the stroller. She actually asks to go walkies. She loves going to the park, and she definitely knows when we're getting close. She has a big kitty crush on the cat guy who works at the nearby shop and loves talking to him and just going over to visit him when I'm grabbing more milk, or cigarettes, or whatever. Mama's good girl.
Lucipurr is another story. She hasn't had nearly as much time in the stroller yet as Freyja. While Freyja sits and enjoys watching and smelling everything around her, Luci spends most of the ride demanding that I let her out of there. And just the other day, while I was depositing our rent at the bank, Luci actually ESCAPED somehow, but not before I could catch her mid-act and shove her back into the pram. She kept trying, though, and this resulted in me quite audibly stuffing her back inside around ten more times and going, "GET IN THERE, STAY IN THERE, STOP IT, LET MOMMY PAY THE RENT." The stroller was at such an angle that apparently, everyone in the bank though I was wantonly abusing a small child. So much so that the bank manager came up to me with that "I'm going to call the police" tone in his voice, asking, "Is everything alright here?!" "Yes, sorry, I just have a very rambunctious kitten on my hands." "Kitten?!" "Yep, see?" He didn't have anything to say after I showed him who was in the stroller. I hightailed it out of there like any mother embarrassed by their child throwing a tantrum in public.
Speaking of "mothers" and "public", it's time to get into the real meat of all this. Until the other day, I would've happily said 100% of mothers have been wonderful. I had a vet appointment for Freyja at the same time as all the local parents were dropping their kids off at the nearby school. Oh boy. Where did all these sanctimommies come from?! It was like someone climbed on top of the nearest mountain and blew a giant ram's horn and they came pouring forth from the hills, mamabear claws out and judgmental raised eyebrows at the ready.
We haven't started TTC yet, so I have no idea where my fertility stands, but I have thought about the way people say to me, "I thought that was a baby in there," and how that could sting if it turns out I cannot have children. My instant response is, "That is my baby." Because it is. Deal with it. If their tone was particularly rude or judge-y, they get the same response, but with really wide eyes and a blank stare and monotone voice. I like to work the crazy when I can. Freak out the sanctimommies. All in a day's work. Seriously though, do people not think that could possibly be a really painful question for a woman with a cat in a freakin' stroller?! It hurts a little now anyway, as I constantly wrestle with my fears of passing on very genetic mental illness to my own children, and if I should really just have cats, because it would be irresponsible to pass these things on, etc. Even my own friends have "kittyshamed" me once I got the stroller, whipping out ye olde "it's time you had some kids" lines. Ha ha. Ha. We've all never heard that before, right fellow super maternal kitty owners?! There are more of me out there, right?
Anyway, the gentle barbs from friends are nothing compared to the bared teeth and claws of the sanctimommies. Even ones with their kids in tow. I ignore the judge-y looks, I really figured those would come with the territory of having a cat stroller. I ignore laughter, it's usually harmless. I actually laugh when the sanctimommies ignore their children ("Mummy look a cat in a stroller" "Don't be ridiculous"). But some things I can't ignore. Some things actually piss me off. Like being outright insulted by a mom with her human kids in tow when we pass each other on the street.
It happened so fast I almost missed my chance. There she was, walking up the street with her own stroller and two kids trailing along with their school clothes on. I was about to pass her, and of course, as I do realize babies in strollers should have the right of way, made plenty of room so she didn't have to stop. Most people tend to glance in a stroller as it's passing, I'm used to smiles, or doubletakes, or even blank stares. I was totally unprepared for a woman to say, in front of her kids, "Oh my god, just have a baby already, nutter."
Don't call crazy people crazy. We hate that. We KNOW that already, genius. No need to rub it in. It just makes us angry. And I'm pretty sure there are ladies and gentlemen out there with cat strollers who are NOT crazy in any way shape or form, so shove it. Crazy shouldn't be a slur in the first place. Luckily, I was pretty on point that day, and if she hadn't used the crazy AND the have a baby thing against me, who knows if I would have been able to react so quickly.
I spun around while she was still in definite hearing range and shouted, proudly, "YOU'RE JUST JEALOUS MY KIDS POOP IN A BOX."
This is a reader submission.
(Images: Hana Graham)