Sunday, December 13, 2009
When I woke up on Saturday morning, my cat was already begging to go outside. “Meow,” she said, shooting a meaningful look towards the front door as I passed her on my way to the bathroom.
“Now?” I asked, rubbing my eyes.
I live in an apartment building, so my cat can’t wander the halls unsupervised. I didn’t feel like following her around the building; I wanted to sit around, drink tea, and read things on the internet.
“Meow,” she said again, walking briskly from the door to my feet and then back to the door.
“Wait until I make tea,” I said.
A few minutes later, tea in hand, I grudgingly opened the door. Despite all of her expressed urgency, she hesitated to venture out into the hallway once the opportunity became available.
“Out,” I said, pushing her into the hall with the side of my foot.
She put on a little show of being indecisive about where to go, with so many options available. But I knew exactly where she was headed. Soon enough, she had turned towards the staircase. I followed her down the stairs and into the hallway below. She stopped briefly to sniff the crack under the second door before continuing to her ultimate destination, the one she had been visiting faithfully every day for the last two weeks.
It was a greasy-looking spot on the floor between the second and third doors. She stopped, sniffed it, then abruptly threw herself head first onto it, rolling nimbly onto her back as the side of her face hit the ground. She rolled around on the spot for a moment, then regained her composure. She seated herself at the side of the spot and proceeded to sniff it again, her expression contemplative. Her concentration remained unbroken as a large male neighbor came lumbering past her, something that normally would have sent her flying back up the stairs towards home.
“What’s so interesting?” I asked her, leaning against the wall and blowing on my steaming tea. “Did a dog pee there? Did someone’s garbage leak?”
She was too busy to answer me. She stayed in the spot for five minutes with no sign of growing bored, her nose to the ground, while I sipped my tea.
Finally I couldn’t stand it any more.
“That’s plenty,” I said, scooping her up with my non-tea hand. I carried her back upstairs to the apartment, where she immediately began to meow again.
“No,” I said. “Too boring.”
I took my half cup of tea over to my desk and sat in front of my laptop. I sipped it as I replied to an email. Then I logged into Facebook, where I examined a series of photographs that a friend-of-a-friend took on a trip to Italy with her girlfriend. Her girlfriend is cute, I decided.
My cat sat on the floor next to my chair as I clicked through pictures of the cheerful couple riding in a gondola. I think I heard her sigh audibly as she watched me.
My cat Pesty died just before Thanksgiving this year. I wrote this piece about her in September, before I knew just how sick she was. I was lucky to have her for twelve years; she was a wonderful, lovely kitty.