...I think it's really where I'm going to.
Bob Seger, 1975
I became a cat lover at age eight. I remember my aunt and uncle climbing the stairs to our apartment with a paper shopping bag. Peeping out was a scrawny street cat they had captured. They had decided they didn't want her, but that she would be a perfect fit for my family. My uncle had named her Lolita, a name who's significance was totally lost on me. Sure enough, she knew how to get around, and a few months later Lolita was burrowing into a mattress to give birth to a litter of four. While Lolita and three of her offspring were donated to a shelter, the fourth kitten, grey and frisky, became Mousey. He was the family cat for 14 years, even surviving a tumble, of somewhat questionable origins, from a third floor window.
Fast forward to married life and a constant parade of cats. Early on, Barb surprised me with Jessie, a stunning but emotionally cool Calico. Pee-Wee, inherited from Barb's mom, was a decent fellow, though he did lose control once, attacking Barb and Michael. That was the end of front claws in our cats. (Let the haters begin.) Penny, named for 'baller Penny Hardaway, was Pee-Wee's clone. The coordinator at the animal shelter warned us he might have a mean streak. She was right. Penny and I were buds, but he chose to torment Laury, chasing her up the staircase nightly, a big fluffy pillow Laury's only protection. If it hadn't been for Penny, I envision Laury with a cat now, instead of her beloved Havanese pup.
Which brings us to Phoebe. I have mentioned her before. She is gorgeous, she is tiny, she is playful. She is everything you want a cat to be. And she used to love me. Rolling over for tummy rubs, grooming my hair nightly, insistently rubbing her head against me. She was mine, mine, mine.
And now it is over. She ignores me, she runs from me, she hops into Barb's arms to spite me. What did I do? Did I forget to empty her litter box one evening? Did I leave her belly fur out of place or change my hair gel? Did I wake her from a sound sleep one Sunday morning leaving her with only 22 hours of sleep that day? I am heart-broken. I just can't figure it out. Barb tries to console me, tells me it is all in my mind. But I know, and Phoebe knows. Nothing hurts like unrequited love. I am so depressed that I think I will need to build a new house. And Phoebe dear, I promise, I won't forget the litter box.
If you have some cat advice, or a good cat story. let me know!
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