That's how it used to be. I'm happy to report one of those little creatures has managed to claw his way into my heart.
On second thought, "little" is the least appropriate word to describe Woogie. In both physical size and personality, this cat is anything but small.
At 22.5 pounds, Woogie is a definite fat cat. He wouldn't be offended by that comment — he's the happiest, most fun cat I've ever met.
The topic of countless conversations, Woogie waddles with glee through my fiancée's house searching for a human to give him a stray bite and trying on her family's shoes.
He even greets guests with a friendly hello. In place of the standard cat meow, Woogie says something sounding remarkably like a grandparent saying "hello." It's awesome.
Won over by Woogie
Despite my initial reservations with felines, Woogie has won me over.
I tell Woogie stories to my co-workers. When I showed pictures of the fat cat, they insisted the images were Photoshopped.
But the story of Woogie coming into the life of my fiancée, Claire, goes deeper than silly tales and a winning charm. It represents a triumph of pet adoption for both owner and animal.
When they first encountered each another, Woogie and Claire's family were going through a difficult time. Woogie was a victim of the recession. His previous owners lost their home to foreclosure and could no longer take care of the big guy. As a result, Woogie wound up at the humane society, his hair slightly matted and his demeanor far from his jolly nature of today.
Claire's family also was dealing with pain of their own. They'd lost two pets in two months.
Claire and her mom didn't anticipate adopting an animal the day they took supplies to donate to the humane society. But there was no question — there was an instant connection and Woogie came home with them.
Days later, Woogie had taken over a dog bed in Claire's home, and whatever void had been left — on both sides — was instantly filled.
With his hefty swagger, it's hard to believe Woogie has only been in Claire's life for a few months. He already runs the show and knows it.
I love hearing Claire say, "You won't believe what Woogie did today." Or his faint "hello" calling in the background.
Woogie is a character, without a doubt. I don't even mind him being the other man in her life.
Of course when we get married, I bet Claire will negotiate a custody schedule with her parents. Woogie is a definite part of her life, here to stay.
And I wouldn't have it any other way.