Mooshu - my 18-pound, tuxedo cat - has been the love of my life for the past seven years. He lets me cry into his fur, he watches when I dance to Britney Spears before a night out with my girlfriends, he lets me fly him around my apartment like "Super Kitty," and he purrs at my side when my head is in the toilet.
For better or worse, Mooshu loves me. And I him.
How many people could get over a ruined red-suede couch after their cat boycotted the discount kitty litter? Or deal with a decapitated mouse carcass on their bed as a "good morning!" gift? Or calmly clean up the incessant puke-hairballs on the floor?
Sarah T. Schwab
It takes a special person to be a "cat lady." And I wear the badge with pride. Not all of my boyfriends have felt the same.
Nick is deathly allergic (even after two years of allergy shots), and therefore couldn't come over. Mark could care less about Mooshu's kneading affection at 6 in the morning. And this Clark Kent look-alike I dated for a hot second actually shoved my cat's lounging body out of his path with his Prada shoe.
But now there's Brian.
Brian is managing director of Rattlestick theatre, a non-for-profit theatre in New York that is currently producing "The Revisionist" with Jesse Eisenberg and Vanessa Redgrave, and "Buyer & Cellar" with Michael Urie. We met four months ago after he read a fiction piece that'd been published in Writer's Digest Magazine. He wanted to know if I wrote plays.
I didn't at the time (although I've been trying my hand as of late), so I gave him some short fiction instead. Over several four-hour dinners, we realized we have many similarities: we both come from small towns, are compassionate about people, and are indefatigable in our pursuit for acknowledgement (me as an artist, he as the person supporting artists).
He asked to manage my writing.
Brian is handsome and passionate. He's dated many women. But he fell for me. I felt honored, yet incredibly intimidated. "Success," is Brian's motto; when he wants something, he'll go to the ends of the earth to get it.
It's been 10 months since Nick and I broke up. And even though we are still close friends, it's been hard to move on emotionally - I'm afraid our friendship will change once I start dating someone else; I'm afraid the person I date won't understand my platonic affection for Nick; I'm afraid of being trapped, of losing my identity and independence
I spoke to Nick about this, and he feels similar. I spoke to Brian about this, and he understands.
Some men would've walk away from such a complicated woman. Especially when there are plenty of others to take her place. But Brian didn't. He did something no man has ever done: he bought me a litter box. Well, not for me. For Mooshu.
"I know how much you hate being away from him," he said (I usually go to Brian's two-story apartment on the Upper West Side - there's a backyard and lots more room than my studio apartment). He said his home was Mooshu's home.
I was stunned. Many men freak out if you leave so much as a toothbrush at their place. But not Brian. Not only did he buy my cat a toilet, he also bought him food, a water bowl, toys and a brush. It's no wonder that he's the first man Mooshu's ever liked.
Even though I'm still nervous to take that next serious step, I realize that Brian's gone through a lot of crap to win me over. Who knows? Maybe the way to a girl's heart is through her cat's litter box.
Sarah T. Schwab is a Sunday OBSERVER contributor and Fredonia State graduate. Send comments to
or view her Web site at www.SarahTSchwab.com