There’s this horrible cat I’ve shared my life with now for 17 years.  She’s a long-haired tortoiseshell creature who belongs to The Devil (naturally). We’ve been acquainted since she was born. She was the runt of the litter and her mother was neglectful and wouldn’t feed her. It seems these early events profoundly shaped her psyche. She’s embarrassingly obnoxious. She’s the kind of cat who, in her younger days, would jump into a houseguest’s lap to be petted and then suddenly go ballistic hissing and and scratching without the slightest provocation. Now that she’s too old to jump in people’s laps she finds other ways to terrorize us. Imagine trying to sleep through midnight, 3 a.m., and 5 a.m. caterwauls. It’s impossible.  The Devil “fixed” this problem by installing three fans in the bedroom to drown out her yowling. So when I’m sleeping the fans blow on me from all directions at once tornado-like. Maybe he’s hoping I’ll blow away and he’ll have at least one less female in the house howling at him.  In any case, sleeping in a wind tunnel doesn’t help at all.  It only adds another twisted dimension to the horror of her nightly screeching.  Another of her disturbing behaviors is  turning in incessant, mind-boggling circles. “Twirling” he calls it, like she’s a beautiful ballerina instead of a scraggly, smelly, cross-eyed Hellcat.

She will not die.  I’m not saying I want her to…I’m just saying she won’t. She has days where she acts like she might.  She’ll lay in one spot unmoving for hours on end. I’ll go say my tearful goodbyes, pet her, wish her well on her journey in hushed tones, hand deliver food and water.  Then the next day she’s up purring and twirling like nothing happened. Somedays I suspect she’s already dead and some evil spirit is animating the decrepid whirling dervish.

We’re frequently offered unsolicited advice from well-meaning friends and family members, who say, “Put her to sleep!”  If you want to kill your pet, well, you all go right ahead. I won’t judge you. But I can’t kill a creature that still purrs. Sometimes I twirl too as the Devil pointed out during one such episode this weekend. And let’s face it, sometimes I need to go lie down unmoving for long stretches at a time just to survive another day. Fortunately, no one has decided to put me out of my misery because of it.