Today’s update isn’t so much about me as it is about my frustratingly mysterious cat. This idea to dedicate a post specifically to her—whom I have mentioned in earlier posts one or twenty-five times— spawned a couple months ago, but it probably would have never seen the light of day had it not been for a recent scare/wakeup call.
But, before I get to that, here’s a little background.
Some time ago, my mom’s friend (not the one from the last post; Mom, interestingly enough, seems to have more than that one friend) was offering up a cat she’d recently gotten. Allegedly, this friend’s residing cat felt slighted by the arrival of an apparent replacement, thus leading it to take out its jealous resentment on the new cat.
(This is all conjecture, by the way. My mom’s friend is not actually a cat whisperer, in case that’s what you were wondering.)
Anyway, the new cat never fought back. When bullied, it would just walk away like the bigger person cat and this went on until Mom’s friend could no longer ignore the situation and had to start finding the new cat a new home.
At this point, I feel the need to mention that Mom has a long, dark history with cats. And by that, I mean she, in her childhood, read “The Black Cat” by Edgar Allen Poe and hated cats ever since.
But, maybe because I’d been wearing her down about getting a pet for years or because she was looking to spice up our lonely, mundane lives, she asked to see a picture.
I imagine Mom had been expecting something more along the lines of a 50 pound, claw-flashing, yellow-eyed terror. Or one of those frazzled black familiars you see floating alongside flying witches. Or a real-life Garfield.
Anyway, the point is, Mom was pleasantly surprised. “What an elegant cat,” she said.
Her friend voiced her agreement and also her wistfulness at having to let such a well-behaved cat go. “By the way, if you’ll take her, all her stuff will come with her.”
And Mom was sold.
So that’s how, one day, I came home to find an apprehensive cat wound around the leg of our kitchen table.
Me: *having heard the cat’s life story in the car* You’re a survivor, aren’t you? It’s okay, we’ll love you here. Mostly because we have nothing better to do.
The cat walks up to my extended hand. And then past it.
Me: Wait, come back! Cat!
Cat: *skillfully ignores me*
Mom: You have to call her by her real name. Mira!
Cat: *just as skillfully ignores her*
Me: Cat! CAT! CATCATCATCATCA—
Me: Her Majesty hath answered to “Cat!” She will henceforth be addressed as such.
Mom: Don’t call her “Cat”; that’s dehumanizing! Pick a better name.
I turn around only to find that Cat has settled down right behind me so that we are sitting back to back. I swivel around on the floor to pet her and she slides smoothly out of my grasp.
I soon realize that a) under all that fur, she is actually very skinny and b) her not paying bullies any mind extends to not paying anything any mind. Our cat, who evidently thinks herself feline royalty, can add Queen of Snubbing Owners Unless She Needs Them for Something to her impressive list of titles.
My Cat’s Résumé
- The Bigger Person Cat. We still aren’t sure of whether her tendency to just walk away from things stems from her non-confrontational, pacifist nature or if she’s just stupid.
- Recipient of 85% of Mom’s Love. This is a fact.
- Official Accessorizer. While we are asleep, Cat takes it upon herself to adorn our clothing—especially those boring black garments—with fashionable white hairs. On occasion, though, some of her work ends up in my contacts, too. This may be why I am going blind.
- Drinker of Milk. I’ve caught her with her entire face shoved down a glass of unfinished milk. Perhaps she tests it for poison.
6. Laptop-Blocker. During the most crucial moments of the evening, such as the last few minutes before an online project deadline, Cat helpfully stands in front of my laptop to save me from soaking up too much radiation.
8. Resident Sleeper. She probably sleeps more in a week than I do in a month.
9. Professional Masseuse. Cat enjoys kneading things—the couch, my lap, my stomach—which would be totally endearing if not for the fact that we haven’t trimmed her claws. Procrastination is pain.
10. Mind-controller. At any point in the day, I may find myself petting Cat—who has somehow nestled herself into my lap without me noticing—and having no idea when I gave her permission to do so or how any of that even happened.
Aside from picking up these idiosyncrasies, though, it turns out we didn’t know Cat as well as we’d thought. The previous owners hadn’t yet gotten around to sending her information, so we didn’t know her birthday, breed, medical history—just her name.
The other day
Mom: Nicole, they finally sent us the vet records. Mira’s thirteen years old.
Me: … I thought Cat was six? So one of the old owners lied to get rid of her?
Mom: I don’t know. *flips through thick packet* Look at all these conditions. Was she supposed to continue these treatments? No one told us anything.
Me: Wait, she’s sick? Seriously sick?
Mom: I don’t know. If not, she will. Thirteen years old means she’s going to die.
Me: Have you asked the owners about this?
She doesn’t respond. I take it upon myself to do a little research.
Me: Wikipedia says that some cats live up to 21 years.
Me: Apparently 13 human years is equivalent to 68 cat years. *looks at Cat* Oh my God, that’s why she’s so non-confrontational! It’s because she’s too old to care! That’s why she sniffs all the time; she’s got a weak immune system! That’s why she’s such a picky eater; she doesn’t have an appetite! That’s why she sleeps so much; she’s not depressed; she’s just old!
Mom looks incredibly sad, and I trail off.
Me: I mean… *a lot more quietly* That would explain, uh, a lot of things.
We both look at Cat, who is gnawing at one of my textbooks on the floor. I don’t have the heart to stop her because, whether for better or worse, you always treat the dying differently. And also because I happen to hate that class.
The rest of the night is spent lying on floors, couches, and beds, in silent contemplation of things already imagined to be lost.
Four days later
Me: *to Cat* I still can’t believe you’re 68. I mean, you don’t look 68.
Mom: Ah, about that… The owners said she’s actually five or six. The thirteen-year-old was their other cat; the records got mixed up.
Me: ARE YOU KIDDING ME
Me: Cat is 40 years old! She’s not dying; she’s middle-aged!
In my elation, I swoop down to hug Cat, who responds by twisting out of my grasp and padding away.