A Writer’s Cat

Deceptively calm, inherently evil. This is Booker in a placid moment.

I have to tell you about Booker.

He’s my cat. He didn’t start off being my cat. My daughter Melissa rescued him 13 years ago on the street when he was just a scrawny worm-ridden kitten. She almost ran over him and immediately fell in love with him. She brought him home, and he immediately gave everyone in the house ringworms, including my 83-year-old mother suffering from leukemia.

Then, despite my objections, he took a liking to me. Booker is an alley cat, and despite being fixed, his front claws being removed and being in the house for the most part, he hasn’t lost his attitude. He doesn’t make friends easily, and even those friends he makes–me–he does only when it suits him. He loves to cuddle with me in the evening, but I have plenty of marks where he has scratched me as well.

Melissa has said he is a writer’s cat, and that every writer needs a cat, but he hasn’t really been suited to that role, mainly because he never could hold still and let me do my writing. That is, until lately. In the past few months, I have noticed that something was wrong. He has gotten very needy. Every night he was in my lap, wanting to cuddle, which wasn’t that unusual. But I also noticed that he was getting thinner and thinner. And I also noticed that he seemed to be breathing hard, even when he wasn’t exerting himself.

So I finally decided it was time to take him to the vet. After some preliminary guesses, it was determined that Booker has congestive heart failure. He’s on medication to help eliminate the fluid in his lungs and lessen his chance of a heart attack or stroke, but the vet said what I had already guessed: we are just buying him a few more days.

In the meantime, I’m sitting in my easy chair, with Booker on the armrest, supervising. He’s a lot more calm than he used to be. And he’s content to just let me scratch his chin, or stroke his back. We both know that sometimes it’s the small things in life that matter.