I always thought cats were assholes.Actually, I knew they were. I had proof: Every cat I met was, in fact, an asshole. Aloof. Hissy. Claw-y. Filled with general disdain for humanity. They don't even bother to learn how to answer to their names, for God's sake.

Then, last summer, I met Zeke, Adrienne's cat. And Zeke was none of those things. He's kind of amorphous and lazy, but he's a sweetheart. Then, in the fall, I met Nyneve — NERD ALERT — one of the Knight's roommate's cats. She was the best animal ever. (She probably still is, but I don't see her anymore; though kidnapping was considered, I eventually tabled it.) She was in hiding most of the time, but when she came out, she purred and wanted nothing more than to be snuggled. I was hooked.

But I was not going to bring a child into the world living in that sad excuse for an apartment in Wicker Park. So I waited. I moved into my new apartment. And I waited until the boxes had been emptied, broken down and taken downstairs. Then I went to Kentucky. For six days. Six. Days. Augh. Then, two days ago, the blizzard hit. It left people stranded on major roads for hours on end; created three-foot-high snow drifts where there were once curbs. The temperatures dropped into the single digits. And I woke up this morning and thought, "Today is the day I will get my cat." So I went to PAWS Chicago and did just that.

Filled out my application, got my visitor's pass and went strolling through "Kitty City." I pouted as I passed over the kittens — they were adorable but psychotic — and went straight for the older cats. I wanted a tortoiseshell cat like Nyneve. In fact, I really still wanted Nyneve. But they say you don't get to pick a cat; a cat picks you. Enter Miss Regis.

She's 9 months old and is a tuxedo with little white furry boots. She's slender and prim but playful and athletic. I never thought I would fall in love with a black cat. But here I am. And here she is. On…my laptop.

Things I learned today:

  • It's very hard to "sex" a cat. See also: this clip from Community. (Something I learned the other day: Never. Ever. EVER. Google the subject of that video.) The cat I adopted was named Regis until the folks at PAWS realized that he was a she. So they changed her name…to Miss Regis. Before I renamed her tonight, my cat was a super-glam transvestite. I imagine she was wearing a glitter cape right up until I came in.
  • Cat supplies are expensive. And many of the $4 toys available actually double as zipties and milk-jug rings. Which still doesn't make them worth it. Petco milked me for close to all I was worth today. Litter, litterbox, scoop, crate, wet food, nail clippers (oh GOD, the terror), a tiny, phallic scratching post, and a few toys. One that looks like Miss Regis' tranny feather whip. We love it.
  • Cats do not like cabs. Cats do like radiators. And windowsills. And tiny spaces under sofas and bookcases.
  • Despite some obvious differences with real babies, adopting a cat is a lot like having a child. I have no idea what I'm doing, and I'm petrified. And unlike a child, my cat will not grow up, learn to talk and tell me everything I did wrong so I can be better next time.

Be that as it may?

My new cat is curled up behind me, outfitted in a fancy green collar with a little metal bell on it. One big kitten yawn — easily one of the cutest things I've ever witnessed — and she was out cold. We both had a long, stressful day. She even got a new name: Emaline.

It's what I always wanted to name my first daughter, after my favorite Ben Folds Five song. But because I'm doomed to be single forever and ever, amen, this sweet kitten can be my daughter for now.

She needed a home, and she needed a new name.

And the lyrics just fit: Yeah, what advice — girls need attention / Or are you different than all mine? For what it's worth, she's got attention / From people like you who see black & white Now I've heard enough, I'll tell you what / I really shouldn't sit here and whine… I'll take you down to see my Emaline.