I think I mentioned awhile back that another drop-off critter had joined our ranks: a (mostly) snuggly black cat. Buzz Lightyear is his official name; but over the months since his arrival his true nature has been revealed, and it is clear that he is a Bob.
Bob was a fine companion during my recent illness, spending most of his days purring loudly as he wrapped himself around my sore throat, cuddled on my chest under the quilt, or sat on my head so he could claim most of the pillow. I found the comfort of his warmth worth a few cat-hairs in the mouth. He purred a lot, and was extremely nice to me, even when I repeatedly rolled over on him in my sleep.
Now that I’m back to normal, so is Bob. He doesn’t like it when I work at the computer; he sits on the tablet, makes phone calls with his feet, knocks my pen on the floor and swats it under the cabinet, rubs his face all over the keyboard (always dangerous to the work in progress), and stands in front of the monitor. He has a limited tolerance for the petting he begs for. He uses the latest rows of my knitting project to clean out the litter from his paws. Occasionally he yowls at a decibel level that sounds like he’s being declawed without benefit of anesthesia, but all he’s saying is “It’s time for cookies, woman!” His main mode of communication, though, involves teeth and claws and usually draws blood. Mine.
I think Bob misses being outdoors, now that time has erased the memories of starving, running from coyotes and raccoons, and yearning to sleep peacefully (and safely) in a human lap for an hour or so. Mercifully, all he remembers now are the birds, the warm sun, the thrill of the hunt.
We struggle to understand each other, and are both grateful for those moments when we seem to have figured out what the other wants and is willing to give. So I try to be tolerant of his crabby moods; I work hard at “reading” him, which is of course impossible. I try anyway, because I love him, and to the best of cat possibility, he loves me.
And when you love something, you learn to cut it a lot of slack. After all, they do the same for you when you need it most.