I’ve been adopted.
It’s a strange sensation, given I didn’t ask for it or seek it. But life is nothing if not strange.
Last week, a cat followed me indoors. This was not our first encounter. She tried to get in three weeks before during a rain storm. She also tried to get in earlier that day, but I was leaving for errands and the grocery.
But the weather was pretty cold, so the cat waited. When I returned, encumbered by groceries, she shot into the apartment behind me. I heard clearly the words of my father, spoken when I was only four years old and living hundreds of miles away in West Virginia:
“Don’t feed that cat; it’ll stay.”
But my mother was a sucker, and she raised me to be one too. I knew the temperature was going to drop into the teens that night. I’d seen the cat lurking around my complex for three weeks or so. It didn’t have a collar. It was awful friendly.
I fed the cat. It stayed.
Since then, we’ve been struggling to work out how to live together. My Christmas tree has been under daily attack. There are spruce needles all over my floor not because the tree is drying out but because a cat keeps messing with it. The cat does not understand that it does not belong on the table or the kitchen counters. She is only slowly learning that we only having a scratching post, not a scratching couch or a scratching bed.
Still, she is a regular source of amusement. Her furious attacks on her ball are hilarious. When she falls off the couch because she isn’t paying attention, I laugh. (Aren’t cats supposed to be graceful?) Her waking me by attacking my feet for moving under the covers is funnier than it is annoying.
And when she has concluded her cat business and is exhausted from her criminal behavior, she inevitably curls up in my lap or next to me on the couch and passes out, making sure she is touching me, if only with a single paw. She has decided I am hers, and she is quite content with that decision.
And it is nice to have a writing partner — someone who says, “I’ll sleep here and be cute while you get hammer out the next chapter.” It is nice to have someone to follow you to bed and curl up at your feet. It is nice to wake up to a friend, even if she is demanding to be fed or knocking something over.
So I suppose I’ll consent to being adopted. It’s much nicer than living alone.
Even if the most frequently used swear word in my house is now, “Cat!”