It may be strange to assume that Puss was angry at me for not letting her in. She knew it was a rare treat to sleep inside. They told me it was a phantom birth- that there weren’t any kittens. I called bullshit. I still do. This isn’t like Santa Claus coming down the chimney, or maybe it was, or maybe they actually believed it. I don’t want to know. In whichever light you choose, at the end of the day it doesn’t matter.
Puss did matter though. She was my cat, my friend. When no one wanted to come around and play ‘Tekken 4’ on Playstation or their judgmental guardians were sitting on the ‘violent video games will rot your mind’ hype, Puss was there to keep me company with lots of snuggles. I locked my cat out, it’s my fault her kittens were dead, it’s my fault she had to cannibalize them one by one. It’s my fault she ran off. You can’t change the order of events.
I still put milk out for her while her presence was on hiatus.
Puss did come back though, after a couple of weeks. She had lost a lot of weight but I was comparing her to when she was pregnant. It was a hard day. She’d let me get close to her but was not happy with pats, and cuddles were out of the question. She’d eat the jelly slop that came out of the single-serving purple ‘whiskers’ cat food sachets and drink some of her milk but she didn’t want to come inside or anything.
I don’t think she came back out of necessity. My baby was a hunter. If the ‘tawny frogmouth owl’ was fair game (please don’t tell the council my cat killed native birds for fun), fending for herself wasn’t the issue. We were basically strangers again. In my mind she was still angry at me and why wouldn’t she be? I basically left my friend outside to fend for herself on the one night she needed me the most because I was following the rules. Any other night she would have been okay with it. The term Stockholm syndrome comes to mind.
Then one summer day, when it was humid and hay-fever had me all stuffy nosed & itchy. I sat outside near the front door with my headphones on as any angsty teen would. With my fuse burning very close to the dynamite, I tried zoning out to the rhythmic, rasping, ‘ear-bleeding-ly’ obnoxious white noise that only Alt-metal can provide.
Shut out the world, don’t itch, don’t scratch, it’ll make it worse.
It was not working.
Puss was playing nearby. Stalking prey in the yard. If you paid enough attention you could hear the rustling of leaves as lizards dashed through. Then her not so subtle pouncing. By all accounts, it was a beautiful day. I, however, was sitting with my head in my hands. My legs nervously bouncing. Needless to say, my mind was on fire.
Puss came around the corner. Looked up at me.
“Hey kitty, how’s it going?” I murmured.
She just stared back. Her demeanor was different today. There was a curiosity in her eyes. ‘First one to blink loses’ I thought and a smile leaked out. It had been a while. Puss must have noticed because she let me have this round and ran off after the wrestling in the bushes.
What happened next surprised me. I didn’t expect my cat to ever play nice with me again. Puss started acting funny. She’d pounce on leaves close by on the pavement and look back at me to see if I noticed. This happened for a little while. It was like a little dance, the cat equivalent of a dog chasing its tail.
Then Puss had an idea.
She got low down to the ground, her face tucked behind her paws and she took a few steps towards me. The song on my headphones changed: ‘Circle’ by Slipknot- As if on queue she bolted towards my feet, attacking the leaves under my seat. I quickly lifted my legs up to stay out of her way. I didn’t have shoes on. I put my hand down beckoning her to come closer, she hesitated for a bit but when my feet touched the ground, she was back to being my little kitty again.
She was purring and rubbing up against my leg. She even let out a little mew before scaling the chair and landing on my lap. Kitty Cuddles. It had been forever.
Just like that? Well…yeah, just like that.
My Mp3 player was adamant ‘Vol. 3’ was the soundtrack for this reunion and I wasn’t going to mess it up by trying to change it. Puss had already made herself comfortable. She had fallen asleep in my arms like she used to. We sat that there till Corey Taylor was chanting:
“I wouldn’t let you walk away
Without hearing what I have to say”
Maybe it’s the last lines from ‘danger-keep away’ that subliminally echoes in my head when I am around a cat or maybe it’s all the lyrics from ‘people = shit’.
Maybe it’s because in that moment I felt forgiven.
A small act of kindness, from a creature, that without words could sense my frustration and knew. She just knew that this was what I needed and- out of kindness, obliged. More simply there could have been no reason behind her actions and the need for grooming and naps after a hard day of play was just what kitty wanted.
You decide. The takeaway here is that the bond between a child and their cat can mean a lot. Which finally brings us to the ‘Sad Dinosaur’.