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Cat's cute, but not his cravings for attention

PERSONALS: Playful, handsome SBMC+ ISO affectionate lady for companionship, cuddling on the sofa at night, wet, sloppy kisses in the morning and a lifetime monogamous relationship. Rubenesque figure fine, as long as you can still make a lap for me to curl up in. Kids okay, as long as they don't pull my tail. If you like 'em neutered and de-clawed, I'm your guy.

(+Single black male cat.)

I tried. Heaven knows I tried. I wanted to make a go of this relationship, but after months of exasperated effort, I now realize I might be a One-Cat Woman.

Problem is, since Little Inky moved in last January, we've been a Two-Cat Household. And it has been something less than mutually satisfying.

Inky is a darling, and I'm not saying this just because I composed the above ad for the Personals page in an effort to find him a loving home. Make that "adoring" home, because that's what Inky wants _ adoration.

By contrast, my Number One Top Cat, Bustopher Jones II, is more like me, a take-it-or-leave-it sort of fellow. If you want to hug, that's okay. If you want to be left alone with your own thoughts, that's okay, too.

Bustopher and I can sit quietly in the same room for hours, each doing our own thing, just being companionable. He curls up in a chair beside me as I noodle on the home computer. I sit silently beside him if he takes a long evening nap.

We both enjoy reruns of Frasier and Seinfeld.

Not Inky.

Little Inky wants constant interaction. When I brush my teeth, he likes to teeter on the edge of the lavatory, watch my every move and lunge every time I spit. When I'm in the kitchen, he lies on the floor behind my foot and nuzzles my ankles. If I'm at the computer, he wants to stretch out on the keyboard. If I'm watching Frasier or Seinfeld reruns, Inky flings himself across my lap and looks at me adoringly, like Robert Morse cozying up to his bosses in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

I can't take adoration. Even mild admiration embarrasses me. Heck, I struggle when treated with common courtesy. Maybe it's from being in the newspaper racket so long; I've grown accustomed to indifference and scorn.

But somewhere out there is a nice lady _ or perhaps a sensitive gentleman _ who would just love to be adored, someone who would enjoy spending long hours playing, petting and stroking a funny little black cat and being amused, worshiped and rubbed up against all the time in return.

I suppose I could let one of the local animal shelters adopt him out. He would probably go fast, what with being neutered, de-clawed, current with shots, sleek and shiny of coat and darned cute to boot.

But he's a solid black cat, and I'm always fearful for black cats, since some people tend to do awful things to them, especially as it gets near Halloween.

I want to screen his prospective parent or parents to make sure they are kind and true in thought, word and deed, but more important, so eager for love and affection they will welcome Little Inky's constant attentions.

I'll want fingerprints, Social Security and driver's license numbers and date of birth so I can check with state and local law enforcement people to make sure you have a clean record. Civil disobedience convictions might be okay, and could be a plus, if it's for an animal rights demonstration arrest. But not anything to do with spouse, child or animal abuse.

I may ask for three personal references, at least one from a local veterinarian.

A notarized financial statement would be nice, too, just so I'll know you have enough resources to keep up Little Inky's health care regimen.

I'd also be interested in your TV watching habits, as I really don't want Little Inky watching anything with too much violence, as he tends to be a tad aggressive as it is.

Sex shows would be out, too. He's been neutered, and such things might frustrate him unnecessarily.

Jenny Jones, Ricki Lake and Jerry Springer shows are out, simply because they're stupid.

You might also bring along your recentreading list. Too much Anne Rice stuff hints at an obsession with the occult, which could prove a danger to a trusting little black cat.

I'd also like to meet your neighbors, since they may be taking care of him when you go out of town. Little Inky has terrific surrogate parents next door now, and I wouldn't want him to have any less elsewhere.

On second thought, perhaps I'd better reconsider giving Little Inky up for adoption.

I suspect there may be more adoration coming from my side of our relationship than I realized.