I’m allergic to cats but love how sassy and snuggly they are, kind of like me. Because of my allergies, I was woefully resigned to never having a kitten baby of my own, doomed to live the life of a cat auntie, and never a cat mom.
Then, a couple of years ago when I was living with my sister and another roommate in the same apartment I’m in now, we got rats. Not just casual rats in the walls—which the apartment still has today—but big ol’ subway-style rats that left droppings in the living room and chewed through oatmeal packets. Yeah, we called an exterminator, but the reality is the best way to scare rats away is to solicit the services of a guard-kitten. Within days of the rats’ appearance, my sister adopted two spotted calico sisters we named Oprah and Queen Latifah. They not only held down the fort, but also won our hearts with their relaxed but assertive demeanors, and sisterly bond.
My sister moved out about a year later and took Oprah and Queenie with her. (She didn’t move out because of any conflict between us. Actually, we wanted to try to have “boundaries,” which is pretty ironic considering how often she’s at my place.)
With the three sisters gone, I was faced with a pretty easy choice: Do I want uninvited pet rats, or do I want to add another cat to the family? A few days after Oprah and Queenie moved out, my new roommate and I were on the Brooklyn Animal Action site. We instantly fell in love with a tiny black cat with big eyes and a spunky personality who was found on her then foster family’s porch in a cardboard box. My roommate rushed to Brooklyn to adopt her. I wanted to name her Meowcus Garvey because she’s a feisty little black panther, but my roommate was justifiably opposed to naming black cats after Black people. (If you’re in the mood to feel unnerved, go on any cat adoption website and notice the number of black cats that white people name after Black people.) So, we agreed on Lumpy Space Princess after the Adventure Time character that has the same cute, cuddly, lumpy, powerful presence she does.We adopted her near the end of her kittenhood, and within about a month she reached the size she is now. She grew into a petite curvy girl like her mamas, with short legs and a charming face. She’s never been shy, and she likes hanging out in the open rather than hiding. One of my favorite things about her is, like a puppy, she barks when someone is at the door and runs to greet everyone who visits. She loves people. So much that she once followed a delivery person down five flights of stairs and outside—that’s when we got her a collar. She adores playing with feet, which is equal parts adorable and irritating. Unlike Oprah and Queen who’d perch themselves on top of the refrigerator, Lumpy gravitates more toward the floor than she does countertops and cabinets. She likes taking naps on the bed but hates chairs. She doesn’t cover her poop in the litter box and is a very messy eater. She’s a millennial at heart and likes playing games on my phone and watching cartoons on my laptop. I’ve tried a lot of toys with her, but her favorite is the laser pointer because she can’t break it, and she loves chasing the little red dot around the apartment.
Because of my allergies, unfortunately, I can’t sleep with her. But, she greets me every morning, bolting into my room as I open the door. My roommate and I work from home, so she gets endless attention and spends her days wandering from room to room napping on our beds and sunning in the kitchen. I travel a lot for work, and while some cats give you the cold shoulder when you leave town for a while, Lumpy is at her snuggliest when I get back from a trip. As I unpack, she’ll hang out on my bed and wait for me to lay down and rub her little face.
I adore my little princess and feel so fortunate to have her in my life—foot attacks, allergies, sassy pants, and all.
April Kae (@loveaprilkae) is a musician and writer originally from Austin, Texas. She is a champion for women’s issues, particularly body positivity and self-care. April performs regularly around the city with her band, Imanigold.