I am sitting at this computer, waiting for pages to load, thinking out loud that this is the slowest computer in the world — even though I am the only person in the room. And then I hear movement in the closet, shuffling, rearranging, moving paper, and, then, silence (yes, I hear that too, as it is so conspicuously different, that absence of sound). My cat is in the closet.
I get up and shoot a photo — and manage to capture something tolerable on the first shot, because I didn’t want to disturb this precious kitty in whatever it is she is doing.
Which would be sleeping in my portfolio of newspaper articles, as it turns out. Which is on the third shelf. Which just happens to be inside a non-lidded cardboard box. Which, interpreted, means no protection from shedding hair or, worse, claws, which I have failed to cut for fear of hurting her, despite the painful acupuncture treatments she has given me and the nail holes she has inflicted on my Soma robe. (Note to self: Write Soma about providing robes for cats. Or patches for your robe. Inform them that their fleece robes might find a niche in the cat supply market.)
Now it sounds as if she is turning the pages and reading, but I shudder to think what she is really doing to my quality articles and columns from my newspaper days 20+ years ago that I thought to send to my mother, hundreds of miles away, and that she thought to save for me — because who knows if and where I saved a set for myself. (If I did, they are in the garage and likely of no quality to keep.)
Pets are an odd thing. I know people who cater to their pets and treat them like children. I’m not sure I even catered to my children, and yet I allow my cat to ruin my portfolio of newsprint or leave holes in my thigh with her kneading claws or push open the bathroom door when I’m inside and jump to the sink so she can have fresh water or let her stay warm at the foot of my bed even though it means I have to sleep with one bent leg.
We have a chair that is a monument to the destructive force of her claws as well as the cemetery for her hair. It is ruined and an eyesore and leaves hair on the rear end of any human who tries to claim it — yet it remains a fixture in our living room. (In hope, I think, that she continues to use that as her scratching post and leaves the other furniture alone.) We have spots on the carpet that memorialize her carefully timed escapes into the outside world, where she immediately ate whatever vegetation she met and then promptly vomited, upon her return, in the carpeted part of the house.
I love cats, I love every kind of cat. Not really, that was for Brittany, who showed that video to me and all her classes a few years ago. (We were both school teachers.) It became the theme of the year, somehow, and forever stuck in my brain. But I do love our cat.
I am not that sappy, but somehow I let this cat, Tori, have on-demand petting and feeding and whatever else her little heart or spastic brain desires. If we go on vacation, my husband sends text messages to whomever is left behind to take care of this furry animal: “What does Tori say?” If I am away, my husband has me speak to this cat on the telephone, and she stays near the phone as if she really hears my voice and misses me. I could swear she hugs me when I return home.
If I have difficulty falling asleep and Tori happens to jump on the bed and settle down for a catnap, I immediately calm and know that I will fall asleep — because I will be still so SHE can sleep, which in turn will help me.
When she started cleaning herself sore last summer, I spent hours reading online forums, trying to figure out what was wrong. I changed her food to a more expensive brand, and I was happy when my husband was able to spend more time at home — for Tori. Really? Have I become so crazy? When she isolated herself in a box and our children made comments about how weird she was acting, I found myself defending her, explaining her mental state. My husband suggested I start a cat psychology blog.
My daughter and her husband have a boxer, and that pet appears in more Facebook posts than any other event in their lives. They seem to take great pride in his craziness and his ability to hunt and eat small, cute animals and birds. Really?
Oh, wait, my 18-year-old son just walked in, looking for Tori, then grabbed his cellphone to shoot a brief video of this cat in the closet. I suppose if my cat really is reading the newspapers it would make an interesting video.
All I can say is that pets seem to change us, making us less sane and more sane at the same time… well, at least in my family. 🙂