Many have said that being a cat mom gives your life purr-pose. Those people are idiots. It gives you so much more. Take my relationship with my cat Spud. She always knows when I’m sad and does things to make it better. I often lay in bed for hours and wonder to myself, “How does she do it? How does she know when I’m sad?” Then one day it hit me: it’s because it’s all the time.
Months ago, on a particularly rough Monday morning that I ran out of Keurig cups and had to drink “regular” coffee, I sat on the couch fighting back tears when my overweight tabby brought me something. “What’s this?” I asked. It was a badly mangled daddy long legs. Instantly, my heart melted. My furbaby knew a gift from her was exactly what I needed. After prying it away from her, I proudly hung my present on the fridge to celebrate our deep connection. I knew she felt it too, because her eyes never left its tiny little corpse.
All my days start the same. In the morning, Spud plops her entire body on my face. It is a warm morning greeting. It’s also a warm reminder that death can come at any moment. I should be ready for its fuzzy, suffocating embrace. I skim through my cat hair covered clothes. The hairs remind me of my anxieties — no matter how many mental health apps or lint brushes I use, there’s always a few left over. As I do this, Spud claws at one of my old chairs. God, she gets me. It’s exactly what I need at this moment: to remember that none of the physical things matter. What’s important is on the inside. On the inside of me, and on the inside of that chair. I go to give her pets before I leave for work. She never lets me pet her belly, but it’s ok, I know she’s saving that for when my mom or dad dies.
I go to my job where no one gets me the way Spud does. I tell my co-worker Nate that I’m having a bad day. He doesn’t even attempt to find a daddy long legs for me. Somehow this buffoon is married with kids. I’ll never understand.
I type away for long hours, anxious to get home. Maintaining the facade of being happy takes its toll and I can’t wait to get back to my apartment. I want to lay in my bed and listen to the soothing sounds of Spud scratching away in her litter box. It’s her little zen garden. I almost feel guilty scooping away the works of art she makes for me every day. I take many photographs.
Months after realizing our connection, my fridge is covered with dead daddy long legs. We’ve grown so much together.
Many people say dogs are a man’s best friend, but not enough say that cats are a woman’s best emotional support system. As days turn into weeks, months, years, I rely on Spud’s frequent purrs of affirmation. She is 12 glorious pounds of furry antidepressant. She is my little Himalayan salt lamp. Spud has caused me to realize that I am sad all the time, and that’s ok. Sometimes you just need to pick yourself up, push your limits, and lick your own butthole.