Issue 6, Volume 17
The inaugural entry in De Minimis’ latest column: Pets of MLS!
‘Cats, that’s what you people want, is it? A succession of cute furballs to detract from the irredeemable ugliness of your existence? Ugh.’ – Oprah Winfrey.
‘…cat people are backstabbing pieces of shit.’ – James Garretson.
Jeremy Waite is the eccentric, blonde owner of two mature female cats: Mika and Mei Mei. This reporter was lucky enough to secure an interview with the reclusive hermit, in his grungy inner-city bachelor pad.
Anyone who has met Jeremy will have been struck by two things: his wide smile, and the faint odour of sardine oil that lingers after him. He greets me enthusiastically in the lobby of his building, before leading me upstairs.
He opens his apartment door with a flourish, no doubt excited to be entertaining human company. ‘Generally, it’s just me and the girls,’ he laughs, eyes wide. I laugh too, suddenly aware that I hadn’t seen him blink since we met in the lobby.
We enter the living room, where ‘the girls’ are lounging on a large pillow, which has a print of Jeremy’s smiling face on it. They both run up to rub Jeremy’s leg, and to my surprise, he lifts each of them in turn for a brief, but passionate, kiss. I make a mental note of where the exits are.
‘Mika was my first love,’ he tells me. ‘She was acquired from an animal shelter two years ago.’ To hear Jeremy tell it, she did a lot of the heavy lifting in raising her sister Mei Mei, helping to clean and groom her.
‘She’s still a bad bitch,’ Jeremy reassures me, in case I’d thought her domestic duties meant she was pusillanimous. ‘A lot of her back teeth were broken,* from fighting other cats when she was younger.’
‘She’s a real street cat, and she still has that street cat mentality. She’ll always seize the best of everything for herself.’ Jeremy absentmindedly touches a line of parallel scratches on his cheek.
At one point during our interview, Mika takes a swipe at Mei Mei, and Jeremy scolds them both like rambunctious children. ‘We have a guest! I want you to be on your best behaviour!’ The cats have the good grace to look sheepish.
Mei Mei lives up to her moniker,* and is the opposite in many ways to her sister. For the duration of my stay, she was content to stick to the shadows, jumping if anyone made a sudden move.
‘[Mei Mei] will always be an enigma,’ Jeremy comments wistfully, ‘until someone is able to tame that wild, inscrutable spirit…’ he trails off, gazing out the window. After a few minutes, I cough loudly, and we resume.
‘I’ve always really liked animals,’ Jeremy says, ‘just like any regular dude, haha.’ The robotic litterbox that dominates half his living room chooses this moment to beep, seemingly in agreement. ‘I could never hurt an animal,’ he continues, unprompted, coming off like a bit of a psychopath.
In any case, it’s not all been fun and games for Jeremy and the girls. In early 2019, an animal rights campaigner named Barol Askin accused Jeremy of breeding kittens for McDonald’s. When I mention Askin’s name, Jeremy lets out an aggressive hissing sound.
‘Barol Askin’s been tryna take these babies from me for years! He wants them for himself, I tell you!’ He becomes quite agitated, and we are forced to pause the interview for several minutes while he laps at a saucer of milk.
When he’s calmed down, he explains, ‘Barol Askin is as crooked as they come. He fed false stories about me to the RSPCA, trying to get my kitties for himself.’ I decide to drop the matter, as he continues to grumble about ‘them animal rights folks’.
‘I guess the best part about having cats is never being utterly, crushingly alone,’ he reflects quietly, as I fetch my coat. ‘They’re a real riot! Why don’t you stay for a drink, and I can show you some more of their tricks?’
‘Remember everyone, I’m a fun guy to invite out for some sardines and chips and an alcoholic beverage,’ he speaks straight into my Dictaphone. ‘Max, come back and visit us sometime!’
I do not return.
*Thankfully, they’ve now been fixed by a veterinary dentist.
*Little sister’ for all you monolingual philistines.
Max Ferguson is a second-year JD student, and an animal reporter for De Minimis.