My cat Sophie and I have been together for almost a year now*. Mostly, our relationship’s been good. I started feeding her regular cat food after her seventh rat slaying. Since then, she’s put on a little weight and her fur has become exceptionally soft to the touch. She also gave birth to three wonderful bundles of joy* which not only means three more mouths to feed but also three more fluffies to love.
I kinda miss her. You see, Sophie and I had a little argument and it’s been a while since I last played with her. It started innocently enough. It was the weekend and I was in the driveway playing with her and the kittens. After rubbing her chin, I picked up her babies one by one to play with them. It wasn’t obvious at first but moments later, I could tell she was getting a little jealous. She looked at me with an expression that seemed to say, you used to hold me like that. You don’t hold me like that anymore.
But then I couldn’t help it. The kittens were just too cute. I could tell Sophie was starting to get really annoyed. She sat on my lap and started licking herself clean, rendering me unable to reach for the other kittens. I told myself I needed to pay equal attention to all four cats if I wanted them to live in a house full of love and care.
A few weeks ago, I took all that back. Sophie started getting a little frisky and I had a strange feeling our relationship was starting to become a little… well, inappropriate. I had just finished feeding them so they were sort of just lounging in the summer sun when Sophie started rubbing herself on my thigh. She was rubbing her scent on me as though she was marking her territory. I started scratching her forehead and the spot behind her ears that I know she likes. Then things got a little weird. Her tail flirtatiously grazed my leg and then she started rubbing her hoohoo on my leg. At first, I thought it was a mistake but when she did it again, I stood up and brushed her off. Uh-uh, kitty. That just ain’t happening. *snap snap snap*
She looked at me with a rejected expression. She meowed a few times, perhaps beckoning me to come back and play with her but I went inside the house and shut the door. In my head, all I could think of was how weird this whole thing was. I should either find a way to tell her that I couldn’t give her what she wanted or I should start making more non-feline friends.
The next day, I went outside to feed her but she wasn’t there. I looked for her in all the usual places but she was nowhere to be found. I decided to go around the block a few times to see if she was hiding or stuck somewhere. Sophie!!! I called. In my head, I could see polaroids of road kill like in this weird art exhibit I saw back in college. Please let her be okay, I prayed. Sophie, please be alive.
Back at home, her three kittens were busy eating. Times like that, I wish I was a cat whisperer or something. I wanted to ask them where their mother was but they just looked at me with their innocent kitty eyes and went back to their bowl of cat kibble. I thought of all the times we shared together, all the times that I played with her when I was feeling sad. I felt so stupid for ignoring her all this time. I should’ve paid her more attention. All she wanted was my love and I practically ignored her.
Suddenly, the neighbor’s door opened and out came Sophie. She walked over to where her kittens and I were in what seemed like slow motion, strutting like she had all the time in the world.
So that’s where you’ve been, I said when she came closer. I could feel my blood rushing to my cheeks. I was embarrassed that I went up and down the block meowing, looking for her but mostly I was angry that she was in someone else’s home- the same person who adopted and neglected her over a year ago. So now that I’ve fed you, now that I’ve given you a home, after I took care of your three kittens, now you’re telling me you’re coming back to… her? I was seething with anger. You started it, she replied. I went in the house, slamming the door shut to make sure she knew I was cross with her.
I was telling all this to a friend over coffee and he just looked at me with a strange expression. You need to get out more, he not-so-politely suggested. Your cats have become such a large part of your life. I must admit, I got a little embarrassed. After all, it was true. I had become that annoying cat person which, in the scale of record-breaking crazies, is only a few rungs lower than the bag lady, the flasher and the anonymous stalker. My friend had a very valid point. I haven’t been seriously seeing anyone since my last relationship ended and that was months ago. With my blog hiatus, I had no one to tell my stories to. My only constant relationships as of late have been with coffee, my job and my cats. If that’s all I’m living for, there must be something wrong with me.
That night, for the first time in weeks, I went outside to feed the cats. Ever since that time I saw Sophie come out of the neighbor’s house, I told the maid she had to feed them because I sure as hell wouldn’t. I started ignoring their meows whenever they see me, making such a big show of how I didn’t need them in my life. Seriously, how screwed up is that? I realized I shouldn’t have taken this whole thing so seriously. These were, after all, just animals with no concept of jealousy or ownership. One by one, the cats came to me. It was the little ones who approached me first and when all three were with me, Sophie came out from the darkness. I was expecting her to still be angry with me but in her eyes, I could’ve sworn she looked sorry. It’s okay, I told her as I rubbed her chin. I missed you too.
A Girl Like Me