Fang, my very fat, kind of retarded, incredibly affectionate cat, is lying tucked under my arm right now, as I sit on the couch and work on my work. He’s making his weird asthmatic purr that isn’t so much an actual purr as an obscene phone call. His paws are curled up tight against his body, and when I rub his ears, he sighs a deep and satisfied sigh, and when I look down at him, he blinks, stretches up and licks my chin. He likes to lick my chin, and I usually go ahead and let him, because that’s the kind of cat mama I try to be. Someone who lets her cat lick her, and who unabashedly (maybe with a little bash, okay) refers to herself as a cat mama.
Except I have been feeling like a terrible, awful, no-good mama, a lousy owner, a terrible human being, lately, because I’ve been neglecting my sweet fat cat. I feed him, I water him, I make sure the blinds are up so he has his very favorite program to watch. I keep his afghan folded at the bottom of the bed, because he likes to lie on his afghan more than anything in the world, except for when he gets to lie on his afghan which is on my lap. The problem with that is that I haven’t been around, to provide a lap, and my little neurotic ham, who is the most neurotic cat I have ever met, is getting even more neurotic because of that. He does not like to be alone.
The problem–some weeks I’ll head over on a Friday night, stay all the
way through Sunday, and then stay over again Sunday night and hang out
at the house all day on Monday, in my pajamas, because I have so much
work to do, or I am too lazy to get dressed, or I feel sorry for crazy
Min the Mastiff who is usually alone all day and looks so sweet when
she puts her head on my knee, or the only place I have soda is over
there, or there is cake, or it’s way cooler and or warmer at their
house than at my house, and also they have a gigantic enormo-tee vee
and all the cable television in the world.
I check on the Fangor, I scratch his ears, I rub his belly, I fill up
his dish and change his water, and then I run back out of the house,
and I thought he was doing okay with it, because he’d be so calm, when
I come over, and I didn’t think of it very much or too deeply because I
am a bad, bad person who didn’t want to think about it because she knew
exactly what that would entail, which would be a smack in the head. But
last night, it was unavoidable. When I walked in the door? The howling.
The howling and the pacing, and the howling, and the clambering all
over me and the howling and the patting at my face with the paws and
the clawing and the meowing and the howling, that lasted all night and
has only just started to subside, with his realization that here I am,
and I am not going anywhere quite yet.
I’ve been home for the full day–not at E’s, no errands, nothing–for
the first time in a very long time, and I forgot how nice my house is,
the changing light in the living room, sitting at my little desk in the
back and enjoying my obstructed view of the mountains, having
proteinlicious cereal with my own organic milk for lunch. I like my
house, and my food and my electric blanket for this crazy cold snap,
and not having dogs begging for my cereal, and my old routines, and a
lonely, affectionate cat on my lap. If I give him some Pounce, probably
he will forgive me. And if I spend more time at home, probably I will