A Man and his Cat

He's feral. He doesn't always pay attention.

He’s feral. He doesn’t always pay attention.

Mickey. We’ve been friends for a decade now. He’s thirteen. He was strong as a rock until a few months ago. Lately, his tongue pokes out, his eyes are weepy, and we have to police a near constant slow flow of drool. But he still has an appetite and can jump, carefully, as high as ever. It’s just that he’s not at his best anymore.

So we had a talk last night. He was on the couch.

He has always liked being with me on the couch.

He has always liked being with me on the couch.

The caption isn’t completely right. For the first two years we knew each other, he acted like most ferals. He tolerated people but chose not to get close. So I made a game of grabbing him and pretending I would pick him up. He got used to it. I moved on to actual kidnapping, hoisting him onto the couch and then immediately letting him escape, which he did with some asperity.

By degrees he stopped escaping and then, finally, he decided occasionally to jump up and sit on my stomach. He weighs nineteen pounds and his purr is as loud as an electric outboard motor.

What I’m trying to say is, we really are friends, but friends of the manly reserved kind. We don’t wear our hearts on our sleeves. Why I thought it was up to me, last night, to tell him what I probably hadn’t ever told him directly. That I love him and that if we are separated it won’t be for long because I am old too and will be looking for him on the other side.

I’m not going to tell you he understood. What I will tell you is that he stayed by my side purring way longer than he usually does, for maybe half an hour. And he listened with me to the prayer embedded in this song from Cats, that an old cat can be made young again.

Prayer said. Amen.

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