MISS MOOX + time


I have fallen in love with my landlady's cat, something I not only intended not to do but actively avoided.

He's a sleek, slick, deep orange tabby, with base fur a tawny ginger and darker, burnt-orange stripes. His eyes are a startling warm, intense golden, almost orange, and when he looks at you, it's with adoration.

I hardened my heart against loving him because ever since Mugsy, the Best Cat in the World, died earlier this year, I'd pretty much decided I'd never let my heart get wrapped around another cat again. With their tiny short lifespans and predisposition to early death, it's simply too heartbreaking. Although I'd longed for a cat of my own for years, I finally resolved I'd never get one. Too much trouble, too much sad.

Then my landlady brought James home.

A few weeks earlier her elderly tortoishell female was put down due to weakening health. Although she was a nice enough cat, she was shy and firmly attached to her owner, and we'd never particularly connected. I urged my landlady to get another cat as soon as possible, and she was determined to do so when the grief had worn its edge off. Finally one day I came home, and there was James.

He was five months old, skinny and bright-eyed, and wary as all-get-out. He hopped away from me as I tried to woo him closer, and stared out of enormous eyes. When I finally coaxed him to allow me to pet him, he was friendly and purry, and submitted to being flopped upside down on my lap. As I rubbed his stomach, he purred ecstatically and wrapped his paws around my hand. I was astonished and amused: most kittens would have been spurred to violent kicking. He was all love.

Although he was very nice, I steeled myself against any emotional attachment. Not only would I be moving out, I didn't want the heartbreak of loving and losing another cat. We played on the rare occasions when I was home, I dragging long shoelaces across floor and furniture and he jumping and pouncing. We played chase games: I'd creep intimidatingly up on him as he stared out of wide eyes and finally ran. When I came home at night, he'd run to greet me. My landlady told me that as soon as he heard my car in the driveway, he was off like a shot. When I got up in the morning, he'd be there, purring enthusiastically and begging for a snuggle. If one was not forthcoming, he'd lick my toes.

He's a bit of a terror, rampaging throughout the house at night. Yesterday morning I found a mutilated paper towel roll on the floor, half of it unwound and all of it decorated with little claw punctures. He'd made sure that it was well and truly Dead before giving up on it.

So despite my limited time at home, I'm already loving him. And I'm sad at the thought of leaving him in a couple of weeks when I move out. Despite my resolution, his warmth and brightness and unreserved, unsolicited love have stolen their way into my heart. Little bastard.

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Relevant to: Cat + time