Archive for August, 2012

My cat is an essay in perversion. It’s not all my fault. I had help raising him. It was my Collie, Maggie, who nursed and nurtured him in everything maternal but milk. Maggie and I share a tendency toward bountiful hair. She, born to romp the icy plain of Prince Edward Island, rolling in the many names of snow that define that bleak coastal expanse, and I, who thanks to some wild wooly gene, grow hair fast as a naughty weed. She and her siblings brought life to that frozen Canadian shore as sure as she brought life to me a good bit farther south.  When she arrived in her air transport crate at the relatively tropical latitude of Roanoke, Virginia, her undercoat was so thick it couldn’t be parted to reveal skin. She looked like the promise of some arctic sled puppy waiting to grow into her harness and head for Nome.

Soon the intelligence of her physiology arranged a molt, and she dropped an amazing excess of that glorious load. Even in the most challenging of Roanoke Valley winters, she never regained her puppy coat grandeur. But it was more than enough to satisfy the psychic longings of the five week old rescue kitten I acquired one spring, having spent a long dark winter needing someone, something, some living anything soft and cuddly to love.

I named him Espresso after his rich black glossy full-bodied coat and his whole-bodied, whole-psyche willingness to give himself up to his yearnings. Maggie sniffed and goosed his little round exit sphincter with her cold intelligent nose and straightaway recognized a baby in need of mothering, while Espresso, recognizing a good thing when he found it, dug in and began a long frustrating search for milk and Mom. Finding instead a delicious warmth amid a lush jungle of dog hair, he accepted a warm, full belly, compliments of a plain old standard cat bowl, and settled for the love of a Collie-dog nanny.

Of course with all that canine mothering he thought he was a dog. He went for walks with the family, the two humans, the Collie and the Bichon Frize. We presented a strange assortment of animalia to the natural fauna of the Roanoke countryside. Maggie, ever mother, stood patiently while Espresso wound in and out about her legs, spinning a happy abstraction of good will.

In the course of things, Maggie went away, her absence mourned by cat and human alike. Espresso and I, truly an odd couple, grew even closer, making of an old friendship, a newly awakened need, a raging mutual desire for comfort and solace. Dog gone, now it was the cat that usurped that “doggone” cold place in the bed, making of it a warm island of happiness, small but mighty.

Snuggling the feline body against the isolation of a cold winter night, clever mechanical thermostat adjusted down to stretch resources  in favor of eggs and peanut butter, milk and bread, gasoline and medicine, a new feeling makes an entrance on little cat feet. A living creature pressed against tautness of breast and body speaks of givingness as need. Memory of milk, long dry, lets down as virtual hormonal angst, wanting__wanting to be given. Glands activate. Oxitocin pours into streams of coursing blood. Brain tastes and translates primal need. Memory wakens, recalling nights of hard young bodies twined in silent satisfaction, floating islands of fulfillment on an ocean of animal intent. Now I know why spinsters and little old ladies keep cats.

All this is unremarkable until Espresso equates my thick messy head of hair with his memories of Maggie. He buries his happy nose into the graying blonde tangle and kneads bread lustily while his thoughts drift back to being a kitten at Maggie’s hairy teat. He becomes relentless in his expression of adoration and need. It demonstrates how strange and wonderful is this world of living, loving creatures. My cat is most assuredly a pervert, but he loves me. I might as well relax and enjoy it.

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