Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Anti-Social Cat

It was one of the worst days of my life.  My friend Shannon had died. It was about 2 weeks after she'd had a successful stem cell transplant - her prognosis had been good.  Except now she was dead.  I almost threw up when John told me, my knees threatened to buckle, white-knuckled fingers held the top of our kitchen island so that I wouldn't crumble.  The rest of my day was bi-polar.  I'd be okay for a few minutes, but then I'd choke on sobs - I couldn't breathe.  The pit of my stomach was roiling - my own internal hurricane - I kept swallowing bile.

We watched The Curious Case of Benjamin Button - a really bad choice when one of your best friends has just died. Life and death are so skewed in that film.  I collapsed in bed at the end of the night - another crying jag - David smoothing his hands across my back - me trying to catch my breath - clutching at the calm before it hit me again.

Our cat, Minuit, leapt onto the bed.  She dropped a soft toy on my chest.  It was part of a monster doll set - little plush pieces that velcroed together - you could add an arm or an extra eye, a tail or horns - like making your very own tribe of Wild Things.

"Honey," I said to her.  "I can't.  I can't play right now."  Minuit liked you to throw the toy and she'd fetch it for you - it was one of her favourtie games.  I took the toy away and stashed it in my bedside table.  David held me as I started to cry again.

A few minutes later she dropped another piece on me.

"Minuit.  No.  I can't."  That piece, too, ended up in the bedside table.

A few minutes later - another piece, and then, when I refused the throw that one, another...  and another... and another...

She didn't want to play.  She was bringing me gifts.  We were on the second floor, and every time I took a toy, she'd tromp two floors down to the basement - jump into the toy box to find a piece and she'd offer it to me. I guess she didn't know what else to do, given my bouts of hysterical sobbing.  She was giving her equivalent of dead mice - she wanted me to feel better.  It went on for about half and hour.  I found myself laughing and crying, with 23 monster toy pieces in the bedside table by the time she was done. Then, she lay beside me, pressed to my side - pumping her paws against my ribs to let me know that she was there.

So go ahead, try and tell me that cats are anti-social.  You're wrong.

1 comment:

  1. I can so relate to this. Our now gone beloved cat Lucky was particlarly keyed in to ones emotional state. It actually angers me when people speak of cats in a manner of reference as unfeeling, selfish and very stand offish. I love cats! ...I love the dogs too, but cats hold a special place in my heart!