Sometimes I get worked up about a certain someone in my life. Is her diet healthy enough? Why is she so hyper? Is she happy? To which my partner usually says…
“Megan, she’s just a cat.”
But to me, she’s so much more. Almost two years ago, on a chilly Sunday, we adopted Edie from a woman who rescues cats from shelters. She was tiny and sick; she sneezed and shed all over our jackets when we held her. Right away, we knew she was ours.
We were told that when she came home with us she’d be scared and overwhelmed; that we should keep her in a closed room to give her time to acclimate. But as soon as she arrived, she tottered over to me on her little kitten legs, hopped up and nestled herself on my lap, as she’s done most nights since.
The day after she arrived, my boyfriend had to go abroad for work, so it was just me and her. (One reason we had decided to adopt a pet was to keep me company during his frequent travels.) I fed her and nervously gave her medicine. She began her favorite pastime of following me around the house, like the little puppy that she is not.
Edie quickly became a constant, when so many things felt all over the place. And I was her person. We watched TV together, we chatted, and we sent way too many selfies to Mac during his trips. She sat on the bathroom sink while I brushed my teeth and snuggled up next to me in bed. Edith Wharton said: “My little dog — a heartbeat at my feet.” My little cat was a heartbeat curled up beside me.
Like 35% of American households, my family had a cat growing up (44% have dogs). I knew I’d like having one around, but I never imagined loving a creature so much. While I soon learned that Edie was not all purrs and nuzzles (she can be a wild terror at times), the bond we formed is steadfast, no matter how many times she scratches the couch.
The French writer Jean Cocteau said: “I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul.” I’ve never been a homebody, so spending time alone, while Mac was gone and friends were doing their own thing, wasn’t something I naturally cherished. But Edie has become that visible soul inviting me to stay; she makes our apartment feel not empty but full. And when it’s all three of us curled up on the couch together, even better. It’s hard to imagine the time before she came into our lives.
She’s my best friend. Even though she’s just a cat.
Are you an animal person? Do you have a pet?
P.S. A dog story and making friends as an adult.
(Bottom photo from Obie & Jane.)