Old Cat

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: June 07, 2016

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Submitted: June 07, 2016

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I’m an old cat. My bones hurt. I have dandruff and old fur rolled into nests tight against my body, pulling at my dermis. My skin is like paper. Blood is barely pumping through the superficial arteries, nerve endings just giving up, not wanting to feel much anymore.

The claws I once had are now just peeling stubs of what used to be my predatory glory.  My perfect, retractable claws now don’t have the strength to tear at the rug.  A few years before they resembled gleaming crescent moons, each one protruding out of my paw like tiny individual scythes, ever ready to grab and hold the next object I swatted them into.  It could have been a bird.  Me, patiently waiting on the porch railing, amongst the fallen and cracked birdseed, waiting to smack one down from its bird-brained dream.  It could have been a velvet chair, asking me to sharpen my kitty Swiss Army knives. Much satisfaction comes from pulling the delicate loops of fabric antiques. It could have been a dog, walking by my snoozing body at the wrong moment. A perfect slap of my white paw, lightning-like, sinking my talons into the unsuspecting meat of an obedient and submissive black lab.  But now, now I let them pass and keep my aching body and stubs of keratin to myself.

 I’m an old cat. My story may seem like it should be unexciting, tedious and dull, full of day-time naps, rolling balls of yarn, and cold saucers of milk, but instead it is the story of a life, and a glimpse into a family, my family.  I’m an old cat and I’m going to tell a story.

 

Young Human tells me the day she first felt my paws outstretch on her skin was her happiest day. I wish I could tell her it was mine too.

My first home was a box in a liquor store. My brothers, sisters and I all squirmed and mewed meaninglessly amongst the feces décor and newspaper flooring.

 The first time I met Loud Unpredictable Human was when he reached his large, calloused, and hardened hand into my cardboard nursery.  It was the softest, hard-working hand I had ever encountered in my short stint with humans.  It smelled of wood, it smelled of grass, it smelled like a perfect life calling to me from far away. With haste and happy mews, wobbly paws and big blue eyes I crawled into his palms leaving my brothers and sisters cowering in the corner.  They were too scared to see what I saw, a perfect life with Loud Unpredictable Human.

His truck jostled and bounced as I tossed with it. Loud Unpredictable Human was sitting as still as an oak tree with the power of the gas pedal under his foot. The large hand oftentimes reached into my new brown-walled room, petting me with the harshest gentle taps on my head.

“I’m going to be a hero today,” he sung in a low growling voice glancing over at me. 

The ride was long from Royalston, Massachusetts, my namesake. Feeling nauseous, tired and over stimulated, I began to doze, only thinking of what life lies ahead, knowing somehow I was on my ride home.

Loud Human kept saying that to me, “Roy, Roy the Boy, Royal for short!”

He took out an object, black and yellow, NEXTEL, the size of my body and talked through it, “Tell Izzy to meet me out back, I have a surprise,” his growl heavy with fatherly excitement and anticipation.

My body thirsty and hungry fell into a needed stupor, and eventually an unrest full sleep.  I awoke by the rough hands I already trusted encircling my kitten potbelly.  I opened my crusting eyes and saw a sea of green. Blades of grass were alive with buzzing insects, buttercups and the droppings of rabbits.  The hot breeze carried scents unknown into my nostrils, filling them up with pollen and summertime sweetness.  Beyond the thriving carpet of green sprawled a home, my home.  Vast in size and huge in character, it lay there on top of the land, plump in tenderness and vibrant with commotion. She was hugging the land, pulling hills alongside her and trees in close to shade her.  There was cracking paint and splintered wood, a brick walkway as an apron, and a large deck as a hat.  There were garages and barns exploding with excess, spitting objects out onto the lawn in front of them. There were long rows of corn stalks,  and a the writhing vines of a vegetable garden. There were nooks and crannies, mice and dogs, sunny spots to lay and dark places to hide.

I was dangling from Loud Humans hands out over the green and then my small paws landed on a warm and bony chest.  Looking from the house to Young Human’s face, teeth and tears gleaming in the summer sunlight.  My innocent claws dug into her shirt, her breath melting in with my meows, as she pulled me into her.  Her hands slender and large, much like her Fathers, were already full of worry, cradling tensely like I was a precious treasure.

Much of the next few days were a blur.  They were days filled with faces and cold food, hardwood floors and the underside of a bureau.Looking back, I do not know why I hid in fear.  I knew I was home, I knew these humans, but there was too much.  So many eyes peering at me, fingers poking me, voices high-pitched and piercing between my ears, brainless dogs sniffing my exposed anus.  It was a lot, but Mother House hugged us all in and welcomed me.  Sun shined through her warped windows and onto the scratched hardwood floor in front of me, just beyond the cover of the squat and cobwebbed bureau.  The sun reached its hand down to me and pulled me from under, I curled into her warmth and let the fear go.  I was home.

As my fur became thicker and lost it’s kitten stringiness, and my teeth fell out an in their place grew strong, calcified barbs I began to assert my dominance in the household.  As my nails became crescent shaped and fortified, and my digestive system regular and solid I grew healthier.  My bones became long, stretching my paws down into the soil and my pointed ears into the breeze above.  My whiskers were a work of art, wider than my body, and shockingly white and crisp against my dusty fur. I was glorious.

My life was triumph, half house cat, half barn cat.  I got to eat the innards of mice and then curl up on a lap somewhere as the humans watched TV. The blue flashing light dancing across the black on my inner eyelids, setting the pictures of my dreams.  I got to dig holes in the garden to urinate in, and climb into a litter box when the nights were cold and snowy.  I got to run through the forest in pursuit of encroaching neighborhood cats, and I got to be mended by my humans if their teeth sunk too far into my scruff.  As a cat of young age I got to prowl at night searching for the nocturnal pests, and as a cat of old age I got to curl up at the foot of beds atop  heated blankets and socked feet. I got to eat wild grass when my stomach was upset, and was able to vomit on an oriental rug, in a perfect straight line, hairball included. A work of art.

I built relationships with my human family. Loud Unpredictable Human had the best lap for napping and the roughest hand for scratching.  He woke up the earliest before he got older and stayed home with me.  I would follow him into the water room and bat around objects near the sink as he washed his teeth, brushing my fur against his bare stomach.  A bond only we had in the early morning hours.

Mother Human had the food and she also had the spray bottle full of cold scolding mist when I scratched her cabinets.  Her hands were much more delicate, soft and gentle. Yet they were so stern, and all knowing.  Her hands were capable and hang -nailed, and they knew what to do.  She knew as if I had spoken straight to her brainwaves what I needed, whether it be food, water, to go outdoors, or just a lap to sit on.  She was a mother, with all species’ blood flowing through her veins.

From these two came three daughter humans.  Like cartoon portraits drawn to be the perfect meld of Loud and Mother Human, a perfect mix of the wedded couple.  Their large facial features settling perfectly onto their faces, their hair falling with an ease and glossiness, eyes all different colors, but the same softness and understanding glinting in each beautiful iris.  They each had a love for me, but all in wildly different ways.

Moving Human was always in motion, in her mind, and in her body.  She would bounce from different locations and to different ideas.  She was the oldest of the three daughters and she acted like it. She perfected a balance of guidance, dominance and kindness.  Resembling somewhat of what each cat strives to exude. She had moved away from Mother House many times, but would always come back, and fill the house to the peeling shingles with her love for life. Her hand often dragged down to graze my spine as she glided by.  One time after being away for a bit, she smelled of mother.  The receptors in my nose stinging with happiness as her body moved and rearranged, building a child. 

No Touch Human liked to stare at me and wave her hands around me, my fur pushing and pulling with the brisk wind she created amongst my aura.  I would sit there, slowly blinking as she would proclaim, “Energy petting!”  I would slink past her bare legs and gently rub my body against her, my tail trailing up behind her knee.  She would yell “CAT!” like she didn’t know my name, shooing me away. Her eyes reddening and nose filling, as she rubbed her face, my essence causing her discomfort.  She loved me still, and I her, unspoken and unsung friendship. Although we didn’t touch physically, she touched truly with her energy and thirst for knowledge, knowledge of things bigger than me and bigger than Mother House. She had intelligence so big she could barely fit it in her brain and it would bubble out of her pores and in every breath.  She dreamed of immense,

Young Human’s most beautiful asset is her biggest flaw.  She felt what others felt beneath her muscle, consuming her thoughts and her movement.  She worried and empathized too much that her insides twist and torture from the inside out.  Her love for me, especially at a young age, contorted her body and tensed her hands.

She would scoop me up and swing me around in circles until I felt like my brain was bashing against the meninges of my skull.  One instance I could not take her twirling love and I sank my nails into her blonde and bouncing scalp. There was bright and pungent blood streaming past her ears, and tears rolling into her open mouth. I felt wicked, not because I dug holes into her head, but because she felt like I didn’t love her. I did and do.  She has so much love for all things it can hardly be contained by the skin of her body. As she became older her hands became less tense, and her body softer when she would hold me.  I would patiently wait as she kissed my face and stretched my body against hers. I would patiently wait, as she would cry into my fur. I would patiently wait for her to come home and to stroke the curves of my pointed nose. I would patiently wait for her to forget about her childhood happiest day. She never did forget. 

I built relationships with the other animals in the house.  Dogs that lived and died in my life span. There was a black lab that had a tail constantly moving, tongue always lolling, eyes always darting, and a brain always seeking to please.  Her muzzle was streaked with the scars of our power struggle. Her heart was as big and as wide as her acres of marked territory.  As she aged, white fur the shape of that heart encircled her face and her clouding brown eyes.  I couldn’t help but miss her presence in Mother House when she was gone. I’m sure that she is still wagging underneath the earth, underneath the shade of an apple tree.

A fat beagle, his tummy round and air filled, was a perfect canine friend.  He was lazy and didn’t seek dominance, but rather scraps of food, or my feces, that his expertly designed and bred nose would lead him too.  I would watch him as he lay sleeping, eyes half open, bloated body rising and falling. As he begged for food, I would rub against his chest and my tail would float across his unwavering and unblinking eyes.  Even with the smell of cancer strong on his body, he will out live me and continue his happy life laying flat against the floor and sniffing out the crumbs imbedded in the wool rugs.

I suppose my story isn’t much about me, or a story at all really, but more about a family. With numerous accounts and events too boring for outsiders, but too dear to my human litter to remember without shedding a tear.

I am an old cat and today I will die.  That is okay, I am a happy cat. My old wiry body is filled with experiences and memories of a life lived well.  My lackluster fur still smells like the palms of loving humans.  My failing eyes have seen so much good that I do not need them to try see anymore.  My dry paw pads have walked so much earth, and kneaded so much flesh, I do not need them to carry me any further.

 Today I am sauntering arthritically out on to the lush green carpet of my old hunting grounds, with the birds singing their dumb songs, and the bugs aimlessly crawling in the thirsty dirt.  Today I leave my humans who plucked me from a cardboard box and loved me with their soft eyes and capable hands.  Today I leave my Mother Home spilling love from her screened doors and splashing it onto the ground below.  I lie down and curl up in the shade of an apple tree. I feel the love come forth from Mother Home, lapping over my body and consuming it, eating me alive. The perfect life I was given. I was a happy cat. 


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