17:50 - Sunday, Nov. 27, 2005
the cat who had no love
The most long-suffering and persecuted cat in the world lives at my uncle's house in Texas. All year long, he gets no love, even though he is the sort of cat who needs love, the sort who will paw you on the hand if he feels he's not getting petted enough, the sort who will sit on your lap for hours on end rather than allow you to get up and pee, the sort who will claim every inch of you not covered be a book or newspaper and stretch out on that space, even if it happens only to be half a shin's-width.
He gets no love because the woman who adopted him died and nobody else in the household likes cats, but especially because he has suffered two accidents which make him unpalatable to even people who normally do like cats; the combined effect of these two accidents is that he cannot fully close his mouth for his jumble of crowded and pushed out teeth, and thus, he drools constantly.
One accident was getting hit by a car. The other has a history. A long time ago, when the woman who adopted him was still alive, he lived with two giant black labs who thought that they were lapdogs. It was not an uncommon sight, back then, to see some tiny niece or nephew or another pinned to the couch gently by one of the labs, who thought it could curl up on a child's lap comfortably and who thought that child would have enough breath left to pet it. The labs were wrong. They were often banished from the TV room, and they would gallop off, bored, to go play with our loveless cat. The cat and the labs' favorite game involved the labs passing the cat from giant mouth to giant mouth, carrying him throughout the house and dropping him, like a tennis ball, at the feet of guests.
Since they started this when he was a kitten, the cat grew up trusting all dogs, even when they sought to put him in their mouths. After years of this, he escaped, ran down the street, and visited a rottweiler, whom he allowed to 'pick him up' with its mouth. The result was the cat was nearly torn in two.
Seven or eight years later, the woman is dead, the dogs are dead, and the cat is a thirteen year old drooler in a house full of mourning dog lovers. Every year at Thanksgiving, the house is flooded with 30+ people, most of whom don't like cats either - but there are a few who do. Once a year, for a few days, the cat gets all the love and attention he misses the rest of the year. I put him on the futon in between Nick and I the first night, and every time either one of us turned over, the trampoline effect of the top quilt shot him a few inches in the air. He would land, readjust, snuggle up to me, and go back to sleep - he wanted to sleep with people so badly that he put up with this catapulting every half hour to do it. I woke up near morning on my back and he was on my chest with his paws around my neck, purring and patting my face. In the dark, I could make out his half-closed cat eyes, his expression of complete bliss. I petted him for a long time before I went back to sleep.
previous - next