The idea of the perfect relationship is a lie created by Hollywood, greeting card companies and those annoying couples who sit on the same side of booths at restaurants. Get a room.

Bitter? Maybe. I know I'm not the best boyfriend by any stretch of the imagination. I'm prone to fits of depression, my connection to reality is often tenuous at best and I leave dirty socks on the floor. I'm not perfect, and I don't require it in a girlfriend.

But some things are just a deal breaker.

Case in point: people who murder feral cats or, worse, have someone else do it for them.

A little background: I like cats. My cat is 8 years old, and I've had her since she fit in the palm of my hand. I bought her after a previous girlfriend left me for a mortgage underwriter, stole my dog and, for some reason, all my hats. My cat hates everyone except me. She will never be stolen.

A few years ago, I lived in a dusty town close to the Mexico border. I was dating a girl who was nice enough, but aside from television and sex, we didn't have much in common. Actually, we didn't like the same television shows, either.

The relationship appeared to have run its course. Strike one came when she tasked me with throwing 30 pairs of shoes into the dumpster at the high school down the road from her house. I suggested taking them to the Catholic charity, but she had mixed the shoes with rotten food and garbage. Blatant waste is such a turnoff.


I used to sit on the stoop at her trailer and vape (back when I vaped). A family of feral cats lived in the insulation beneath the unskirted trailer. She and her mother hated the cats. My impassioned arguments that cats keep down the vermin fell upon deaf ears.

The cats sunned themselves on my car. Among them was a calico who used to sit about 50 feet away from me whenever I came outside. She didn't come near me, just stood and stared and blinked slowly. We were friends.

My girlfriend's cousin came to town, and the cousin's boyfriend sat at the kitchen table and regaled everyone with a tale of shooting crows for fun. When I objected because I like crows, he fumbled with a false explanation that he was protecting a cat from the vicious birds.

A few weeks passed. I noticed I hadn't seen my little calico friend, and I remarked about it to my girlfriend.

"Oh, my cousin's boyfriend shot all the cats," she said matter-of-factly.

"What? Why?" I asked, crestfallen.

"Yeah, after you left."

"Well, what did you do with them?"

"He put them in a bag and dumped them down where you took the shoes the other day. Are you mad?"

I didn't say anything. We broke up a week or so later. I hope the vermin eat them alive.

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