My daughter is slowly acquiring a cat. It started when the cat in question showed up in our backyard, peering into our house. Nadia, being Nadia, generously fed the cat her cereal milk. Now the cat comes into our backyard every day, and sometimes sits in our front yard, under one of our cars.

Nadia is delighted with this development. She runs to the cat and pets it, and asks to feed it, and is generally smitten with the thing.

I, however, am not.

I’m not a cat person. I feel about cats exactly the same way I feel about badgers. I don’t HATE badgers. I would never hurt a badger, or kill one. I think that they should be treated as nicely as any basically feral animal. But I absolutely do not want one in my house.

I know there is this writer-cat connection, and I don’t get it at all. Why have a cat, when you could have a dog? It makes no sense.

First of all, there’s the smell. The powerful, all-consuming, nauseating smell of cat urine. Some people are very good at cleaning their litter boxes, and their houses don’t smell as bad, but others are…not great about it. And let’s be real. Cat urine and feces are the worst smells on earth.

Then, there’s the claws. Cat lovers claim that when a cat “kneads” its claws into you, it’s an expression of love. I don’t give a fuck. If that’s how you express your love, you’re a dick. I imagine the people who defend this behavior are the same people who would stay with an abusive partner. “He only hits me because he loves me so much.” No. Just no. Also, all their playing is claw-based. All a cat wants to do is scratch you.

Then there’s the other way cats express their “love” – bringing you dead things. Dead birds, mice, junebugs – it’s all bad. I get it. It’s just their natural behavior. They think they’re providing you with a nice snack. I’m not blaming the cats for engaging in their biologically-ordained hunting. But as a human, why are you ok with this IN YOUR HOME? It’s gross.

Also, your cat doesn’t like you. I know the cat people will disagree. “My cat loves me!” No. It doesn’t. If you die, it will eat your face and shit on your chest. It’s nice to you because you feed it.

I will admit that cats are cute. They are furry and soft, and it feels nice when one sits on your lap and lets you pet it. If I show up at your house, and you have a cat, I am happy to pet it, and I will totally be nice to it.

But I know that that cat is just waiting to claw me, luring me in with its cuteness and little boopy nose. I will never forget that the cat doesn’t love me, and would be happy to see me dead.

And so, Dear Nadia, when you feed and pet the vagabond cat that keeps coming to our house, I’m fine with it. Have your fun. Pet the kitty. But be careful. And never pet its belly.