Here’s a joke. How does a germophobe pet a cat? With her foot! Wait. That’s not funny; that’s not even a joke. That’s what I used to do.
I dearly loved my cat. Zed was his name. I dare say he was the perfect cat. He was beautiful and lovable, playful but not too needy. Obviously he was an outdoor cat, but on very cold nights I would let him in for a bit to take off the chill. After all, his feline feet touched only the floor, which is – as is well established – unchangeably, perpetually unsanitary anyway. Since we both had our germy, little feet on the floor, I would pet him with my feet. That’s right – I never petted him with my hands. I became quite adept at balancing on one foot while petting him with the other. We even played foot games. The only thing he did wrong was die young. He died of cancer.
I must sound like the type of person that would run right out and find a new kitten to soften my sorrow. I cannot say that I wouldn’t still like to do that, but it has now been four years since Zed died. I don’t know if I ever will get another cat; they are too much trouble. It’s a shame, too. If there is anyone who needs a cat to pet, it’s someone with an anxiety disorder. It is so soothing.
Nevertheless, this is why it is doubtful that I will get another cat. I used to feed Zed in the garage. One evening was unforgettable. An unforgettable cat feeding? If you have OCD, if you are a fellow germophobe, you would never forget this if it happened to you. Everything associated with the cat feeding was inherently filthy, including my poor kitty, as much as I loved him. Ninety-five percent of the times that I petted him it was with my foot, but at times if I had my gloves on anyway, I would pet him with the gloves on my hands. Zed thought foot petting was perfectly normal and liked it; he wasn’t that fond of the gloves. Just as well. I remember petting him with gloves one evening, he was shedding, and I ended up with fur all over my arms. Nasty!
But I digress – back to the feeding. Everything in the garage was dirty. As soon as I brought the cans of cat food home from the store and put them on the shelf they became defiled. If the floor in the house was contaminated, the garage floor was doubly so. One day I was opening a can and it slipped out of my gloved hands. It dropped to the cement floor, and it hit hard. The impact was so strong that it flung the wet cat food back up into my face and hair. The worst part was that some of it landed in my eyes. I was stunned. I stood there for a few seconds trying to process what had happened. Then came the meltdown. This was one of those sobbing moments. I ran in the house (abandoning Zed), into the bathroom and stood there in hysterics. I did not know what to do. How can a person clean their eyes? What was I going to do? I had to go through my usual routine, I knew that. I had to have a super-shower soon, but I always had my eyes shut tight during a super-shower. I could not think of a way to truly sanitize my eyes, but I kept them open the entire twenty minutes of the “super” part of the super-shower. I let the shampoo and water run through my eyes again and again. Try it; it’s not pleasant.
I felt as though my eyes would never be clean again, but as I had no alternative, I had to accept the situation as it was. Of course, four years later I don’t even think about it now, but it is not an experience I want to repeat.