How My Cat Helped Me Find Love: Dr. Karyn’s Valentine

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Hi, I’m Dr. Karyn! Read my introduction to learn more about me and meet my five hilarious cats: Clutch, Cyril, Alex, Zelda, and Zazzles.

Hopefully, you’ll be familiar with my handsome cat, Clutch. Well, before I met my husband, and our house filled up with a multitude of cats and dogs (five of each, to be exact), it was just me and Clutch. Karyn and Clutch, living large and loving life. We would go for walks on the seafront, watch TV together, and even go to work together. Being the chillest of cats, he even started to come with me when I started seeing my (now) husband, Reece.

Clutch on a seaside walk
Clutch on a seaside walk

Reece already had two Labradors, an Irish Wolfhound, and two cats (Zazzles and Zelda), so he was obviously an animal lover. And Clutch, being Clutch, just moseyed on into this different house without so much as a raised whisker. His laidback manner has always been contagious, and the other pets just took their lead from him, treating him like he’d always been there.

As time went by and things progressed, Clutch and I started spending more and more time at Reece’s place, until it became a permanent arrangement.

Now, this is where I have to make a confession: I had never been in love. So I found myself wondering the same thing that I’m sure many of you have at one time or another; how do I know when it’s love?

Reece, Bailey and Clutch
Reece, Bailey and Clutch hanging out

For Me, The Answer Came in the Form of Chicken

Yes, chicken.

Clutch was never a fussy cat, nor was he particularly greedy. That is unless there is chicken. He loves it, goes mad for it, will climb mountains and swim seas for it. Okay, that last bit might be a slight exaggeration, but the rest is true.

So as a special treat, I would occasionally pick up a packet of plain roasted chicken pieces, and Clutch came to recognize the packaging. Whenever I came home with any shopping, he would scrutinize the unpacking process, watching for that telltale plastic pack. And when he knows there’s chicken in the house, the gentle, affectionate Clutch I know is replaced by a single-minded, snatching, plotting, chicken-hunting machine.

You can’t open the fridge without first doing a basic sweep of the surrounding area in case of surprise aerial attacks, clawed ground assaults, or the sneaky grasp through the door gap.

He Should Have Been Called Toothless

At this point, it’s worth telling you about another thing that is special about Clutch: he has very few teeth, and no canine teeth at all. Due to a slight malocclusion of his jaw, the gums that held his fangs in place became weak, causing the roots of those teeth to become damaged, and I had to remove them when he was around four years old. Rest assured, this has not slowed him down. In fact, while the rest of our cats will nibble delicately at tiny shreds of chicken, Clutch is the only one who will snatch a large chunk and munch away.

Clutch and Zazzles_new friends
Clutch and Zazzles, new friends

What’s Love Got To Do With It?

At this point, you’re probably wondering what Clutch’s appetite for chicken has to do with my love life, but I promise, I’m getting there.

One evening, it might have been a Tuesday, or a Thursday – it doesn’t matter – Reece came home with some shopping. He was unpacking the bags and I was helping to put things away. Out comes a familiar package, and I look at Reece questioningly. He looks back at me as though he doesn’t understand my confusion.

“Chicken for Clutch” he said simply, and carried on unpacking.

This might not seem very significant. It was a simple gesture, and one that Reece had probably not given much thought, which was exactly why it meant so much. I hadn’t asked him to pick up chicken, but he knew how much Clutch liked it. Somehow, the fact that it was “chicken for Clutch”, not just “for the cats”, triggered this huge wave of affection, and I knew then that I loved this man.

He hadn’t done it to score points or impress me. It wasn’t some big romantic gesture or practiced words. It was a simple act of kindness that told me everything I needed to know.

So for those of you who are waiting for the big moment, the flashing sign, or dramatic scene, you might find yourself waiting a while. More often than not, love is in the small things, the tiny gestures, the daily routines. Find the person who does the equivalent of buying “chicken for Clutch”, whatever that is for you.

Dr Karyn Valentine signature

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