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HAJI MOHAMED DAWJEE: The worst relationship isn't with a cheater, but with a cat

OPINION

Take the first letters of the next few words and put them together to make one word: Fornication Under Consent of King. Now, add boi (internet slang for boy) as a suffix and what you end up with is the evolved pop culture, new wave version of what was once called a player.

Urban dictionary defines this word as such: a guy who will tell a girl anything to get them to hook up with them. A complete jerk who flirts with multiple girls at a time and makes them all believe they're individually special. They tell a girl they like them and act like they're in love so that they can get something out of it like pictures, hooking up, sex, etc. This is a man who should not be trusted and is the reason for a lot of people's trust issues.

If you’re on “young” Twitter, you will hear this word being used a lot. Like a whole lot. So much so that you will start to question whether generations after us will ever be able to have stable, trustworthy, honest relationships with men ever again. Now, even though I am a woman who is married to another woman and who has been for close to five years I can relate to these men issues. I mean, don’t get me wrong; obviously women can be unfaithful too. But this term is male-specific and is so for a reason: toxic masculinity, the patriarchy, male entitlement etc.

I also know men very well. I can see these kinds of men coming from a mile away and obviously I have friends who have had insufferable experiences with these types of bois.

But while I am not, nor have I ever personally been exposed to this type of boi, I am very, very well versed in the abuse. Not because I have a side-snack (a relationship on the side also known as cheating on someone) but because I have a cat. And cats are the ultimate f#ckbois.

Honestly, if men want to become Olympic gold medalists at this stuff, they should all get cats.

This week our cat went missing for 24 hours. We didn’t see him, we didn’t hear from him. Unlike men, cats don’t have Whatsapp and cellphones, so they don’t even have to bother ghosting you, or reading your message and just ignoring it because they’ve moved on and maybe you will hear from them if they need you again for something self-serving. No. They can just leave and disappear. No goodbyes. No lame, very transparent lies and excuses about why they can’t stay. No “it’s not you, it’s me” monologues. They’re pros. They’ve got exiting a relationship down to a fine art.

If gaslighting were a pyramid, they would fall into the top tier. Cats are master emotional abusers. Men have to work really hard at this. They have to beg and grovel for forgiveness – again, so that they can get what they want before repeating the same behavior. Cats have to do none of this. The mere existence of having a cat in your life means that you are a victim of emotional abuse and you just accept it.

In the 24 hours Sam (our cat) went missing, we drove ourselves mad with worry. We searched everywhere. We uploaded posts on to community forums on social media. We acted like crazy people and crawled around the apartment building looking into drain pipes to see if he was stuck. We played out different scenarios in our heads. Was he dead? Did he just not want to live with us anymore? We drove around our neighbourhood to see if we could spot him. But here’s another thing about cats: they’re excellent at hiding. They’re too smart to just wander around the streets. A lost dog you can find, because he’ll probably be roaming around. A cat? No. because a cat can choose when it wants to be found. Even actual human adult men who are at the top of their game do not have the power to hide this hard. Because if their partners don’t see them on the streets or bump into them, someone else will and news will be spread. But not with cats.

Cats will have you questioning every thought, memory and event in your life to the point where you will literally go insane only for them to arrogantly trot through the door, without any apology, any explanation, and dig straight into their food bowls before hopping on the couch of a nap. And we just accept it because cat owners are so whipped and suffer from Stockholm syndrome exponentially. We have been trained very, very well to be grateful for the return of the f#ckboi, unlike normal grown women who would throw a man right out and possible key his car if this ever happened.

But cats take it all to the next level. You see, while men like this come and go, quite literally, in and out of your life, returning only for what they need when they need it before they move on, cats live with you and they treat you exactly the same as these men would but it’s like right in your face, daily because they live with you and you love them and you don’t even know if they love you back or if they're just using you. But you let them use you anyway.

Cats are not dogs. They will not come when you call them. They will be in your presence only if they so choose and when they so choose (you can be sure it’s because they’re getting something out of it). And again, they play us so hard that we’re just grateful to serve them. Whether it’s a warm lap, or giving them our blankets even though we’re cold, or whether it’s a tap on the face at five in the morning because the water bowl is empty. We are slaves to them and somehow cats have made us love the slavery.

They drag our hearts around with us wherever they go. Stomp on them daily by just deciding to ignore our existence for days at a time. Hide and stay hiding even though you’ve been calling them and they can probably hear you and then at night time, while you’re watching TV, they trick you into making you feel special by coming to sit next to you. But they’re not doing it for you, they’re doing it for themselves.

There’s no way out of it. It’s not like being in a relationship with even the very best of f#ckbois. It's the worst. You will get fooled. You will constantly allow it. And you will quite literally get pussy-whipped by the biggest, bestest f#ckboi of them all: the domestic tabby.

Haji Mohamed Dawjee is a South African columnist, disruptor of the peace and the author ofSorry, Not Sorry: Experiences of a brown woman in a white South Africa. Follow her on Twitter.

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