This is Love

2 min
at 11:43 PM

My cat Buddy is turning 16 years old. His back legs don't work as well anymore and he meows in the night for no discernible reason. He is an old man, and his body and mind are showing the symptoms.

He was nine weeks old when I first brought him home. He jumped onto the counter tops, crawled up my legs, and ran across my face in the middle of the night. He shredded my plants and gnawed off the heads of flowers. "Why must you destroy everything that is beautiful?" I exclaimed, but he was too busy climbing the screen door to notice.

Later, we moved to a hillside apartment surrounded by dense bushes that housed a multitude of suburban wildlife. This is where Buddy perfected the art of evisceration. Lizards, mice, snakes, that one time with the mole. I came to recognize the sickly sweet smell of death the moment I walked through my front door.

My cat was a skilled murderer, but there was no doubting his affection for me. When he wasn't busy destroying the natural world, he loved nothing more than to snuggle up on my lap and have his head scratched. I started to ever-so-slightly understand how the parents of criminals must feel. "I know he does terrible things, but really he's such a sweet boy."

At 10 years old, Buddy finally started to settle down, electing to spend more time indulging in the comfort of the couch than stalking prey.

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When he was 14, he had a spinal cord stroke and temporarily lost the use of his back legs. He improved in time, but can no longer get up onto the couch by himself. He can no longer go outside.

Six months ago, he stopped using his litter box. I've thrown away one area rug and put another in storage. He is clumsy and sometimes hisses at imaginary objects.

But still he loves to curl up in my lap while I scratch his head.

And each night as I look upon my slumbering cat, I make this wish: I hope we are still together tomorrow.

This is love.

With a Perspective, I'm Lisa Thomson.

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Lisa Thomson is a marketer and a writer. She lives in Oakland.

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