el diablo robotico (platypus) wrote,
el diablo robotico
platypus

Spanky

Spanky is 16 today. The little kitten we got on Father's Day when I was twelve is old. I haven't seen her in nearly a year, and she hasn't liked me for a long time (when I moved away for college, she never forgot who I was, but she grew to distrust me because I always clipped her claws when I came home). There have been moments when I have regretted not taking her with me when I got my own apartment, even regretted not taking her with me to San Diego. She's too old to be moved, too set in her ways, and I'm probably a stranger to her now. Sometimes, though, I panic at the idea of never seeing her again, of her dying two thousand miles away. She's an old cat, and I love her. She could live for years yet; she's in fine health, not getting skinny and ragged like Heather did at the same age. She's a crazy, brilliant, neurotic, pissy cat, with the loudest purr I've ever heard (though she only bestows it upon you at times of *her* choosing). I'm incredibly allergic to her. She looks like an angry, bug-eyed alien. Have I mentioned that I love her?

I've said goodbye to her so many times -- before I moved, last summer when I visited. Living so far away, I never know if this time will be the last time I see her. When we packed up and got ready to head for the airport, I was crying and sneezing and covered in cat hair. I didn't feel bad about leaving my mom, or my old home, or my old city -- I just wanted to take my cat with me. Sometimes I can't decide if she or Moly is the cat I've loved the most; does it matter? If there's a tiebreaker necessary, sometimes I feel that knowing Spanky was more special because I was one of three people in the universe allowed to touch her. Moly likes everybody. Moly could never see me again and not suffer; I'm not entirely sure she'd even notice. Spanky, unfortunately, doesn't trust me any more, because I am the Wielder of Nail Clippers, but for a while, she was mine. Not any more, I suppose, which is why I leave her in Wisconsin every time I visit, no matter how much I want her back. She'd be afraid, stressed, unhappy. I keep telling myself this.

Once, shortly before I moved, I was visiting home. Spanky hates to be picked up, and is quite hard to corner in any case (if she wants petting, *she* will approach *you*, and you will have no choice in the matter. If she doesn't want petting, you won't be able to get within three feet of her). I somehow trapped her, and picked her up, because I knew I wouldn't have many more opportunities. She complained, but I sat down with her, and held her, and scratched her head. She sat stiffly, annoyed, waiting for my grip to slacken so she could escape.

And then something happened. I think she forgot that this hadn't been her idea; she relaxed, and, miraculously, began to purr, that motorboat rumble that I remember so well from my childhood, a sound I haven't heard except over the phone in years. We stayed like that for a few minutes; I was moved almost to tears, and still am.

And then I let her go.
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