I used to sneer at pictures of cats on social media but I’ve moved on

It has been a while since my Auntie B has taken an interest in me – a pleasant consequence of exhausting the full spectrum of her disappointment. I have survived her pressure about my lack of marriage and kids, and now that the writing career isn’t going too badly, am no longer subject to suggestions that I train as a dental hygienist.

Until recently. “Saw on Twitter that you’re ‘desperate’ for a cat,” she said, smiling and air-quoting desperate. “Funny that.”

Good old Auntie B, never one to let a grudge go. This jibe was a reference to the early days of her joining . Each day she would post a picture of her food and tag me, hoping I would engage. I tried to explain it was annoying that “photos of Coco” on my profile just brought up pictures of her Weetabix combos, but she carried on. Eventually I snapped, sniping that food pictures were nearly as sad as pet pictures, “the classic sign of a boring life”.

How things change. Living in city shoeboxes that don’t allow pets has made me yearn for a cat. I grimace at the time I’ve wasted on videos of them knocking things off worktops or getting scared by toasters. Surely I have better things to read than another article asking if cats really love us (no: they only love food). I pore over pictures I used to roll my eyes at. “Actually, my sneering days are behind me,” I say to Auntie B. “These days, I think it’s quite sweet to take pleasure in small things. If you’re proud of your brunch, post away,” I add, trying for once to connect with her as an adult female – an equal. “Because it’s not sad. It makes you happy and I should be happy for you.”

Help Them Adapt to New Environments. “The only thing that likes change is a four-week-old baby in a wet diaper.” Though puppies and kittens are easygoing, mature pets often need guidance transitioning into new spaces. Dr. Becker advises introducing them slowly. “Don’t just dump them in a new house and hope for the best.” Pheromone sprays are handy for making strange houses more inviting. “Cats,” notes Dr. Becker, exist as both predator and prey, and in predator mode, they need vertical surfaces like climbing towers to feel safe.”

I should have known better. “What?” she replied, confused. “I just mean, it’s funny you like cats. You know what they say about unmarried women and cats, right?”