If he only knew me like you listeners know me, then he wouldn't have asked at all. He would have just hurried on to the next desk, like people do with my house on Halloween.
"No, no, honey, that's the Anklevich's house. Let's try the next one. No, don't look, they might see you..."
Anyway, I answered, as you might have suspected, "No. I hate cats."
"Oh," he said, and moved on to the next desk. Only then did I see that the photographer had an assistant in tow who was carrying an enormous tabby cat in her arms.
"Do you like cats?" they asked the guy who sits in the desk next to me.
"Oh, hell no," he said, as any reasonable person should, "Why?"
"Oh, well, May 12th is Hug Your Cat day, so were taking pictures of people hugging cats."
Apparently, it's a thing they're going to put on Facebook. They went to the next desk to find its occupant already gone for the day, and they were starting to look crestfallen. I remembered my days of selling things door to door and working as a telemarketer in college, and I felt bad.
"Is it a nice cat at least?" I asked.
"Yeah," said the assistant, "It's really heavy, but it's a nice cat."
"All right, I'll hold it."
They brought it over, and set it on my lap, and they weren't kidding. What an incredibly fat cat. It's hard to tell how big a cat is when someone is holding it. If I'd seen it walking, I might have been able to see just how fat the cat was.
But it was a nice cat too. It sat on my lap quietly as I posed with a fake smile as though I were enjoying this experience. My own cat would have been straining to get away from me, looking for any moment that my grip became loose enough that it might squirt free. It might also have been extending its claws into my thighs as well. It's just that kind of a cat, you know? There's a reason I said I hate cats after all.
So, I sat there, holding this cat, feeling almost as though I was betraying my integrity with such a farce as this. All because I felt bad for the people who couldn't find a cat lover anywhere around. Maybe that says something about cats.
I bet there isn't a national hug your dog day, because you don't have to do something like that to get someone to hug a dog. They just do, all the time. People have to be given special techniques just to lure their cat close enough to be hugged, as evidenced by this blog post I found while searching for the date of the cat hugging day on the internet.
I was saddened later to find that same assistant holding a kitten. When I asked why I didn't get the kitten instead, she didn't have a response for me. "You know, I would have totally held a kitten."
"But you said you hate cats."
"Yeah," I said, "nobody hates kittens. Even people who hate cats like kittens."
If only kittens didn't crawl into a chrysalis and emerge as hateful, lazy, standoffish cats in the end.
Anyway, everyone hug your cat on the 12th, that is if you can manage to get close enough to it without getting scratched for your efforts.