An Open Letter To The Cat Who’s Never Belonged To Me

Instagram / kimquindlen
Instagram / kimquindlen

We met on a day that was just like any other day. I walked into the foyer and you were standing in your litter box. We made eye contact immediately. It was fierce and heated. It spoke volumes. You gave me a look that said Oh, hello thereΒ and Do you mind? I’m trying to bury my poop?Β all at the same time.

I wasn’t used to you being around when I came to my parents’ house. You didn’t join our family until my older sister adopted you and started bringing you over when she visited, in addition to sending us creepy Snapchats of your angry face on a daily basis.

I got used to you as best as I could. I tried to be friendly, but you were #overit pretty quickly. I knew how to handle rejection from humans, but you were a whole new ball game. I gave up on trying to like you, and as soon as I did, you took a careful, guarded interest in me. Like the time I walked into the kitchen to eat eleven Girl Scout cookies and you were perched on the counter, unbeknownst to me, waiting. You hid behind the bouquet of red roses someone had sent my mom, waiting to make your move. Initially I thought the strange chomping noise was just me aggressively snacking, but then I turned and our eyes met once again.

You were staring at me without blinking, while you slowly ingested the beautiful roses one at a time. Your message was clear: Step lightly, bitch.Β 

I got the message.

I stayed away, which was easy. I only saw you on holidays, and even then, our only interaction was when I would open the door to let you back in the house after you had finished your long day of slinking around our backyard and killing birds.

Other than that, I played hard-to-get with you. I would ignore you when I came home, pretend not to notice while you pranced around the house, and acted like I was not amused when you joined me at the kitchen table and drank the water out of my cup. Initially, I was unable to refrain from yelling “WHAT THE F*CK?!” when I would go into my room and you would race out from under my bed and back into the hallway. But gradually, I even got used to that and came to expect it.

Then, one morning, everything changed. I woke up earlier than the rest of my family. It was Christmas vacation but I had some writing to do. So I sat cross-legged in the chair in front of my little sister’s childhood desk and typed away. But then I heard a strange noise and turned.

There you were. Gliding into the room like Miss America. Your eyes never strayed from mine, and we both knew where you were going to end up.

The next thing I knew, you were in my lap. I sat there cluelessly, and tried to type at an awkward angle while you started to snore into my thigh. And then, I swear to God, you made an “ahem” sound and looked at me expectantly.

“Why are you doing this?” I whispered. I ignored the fact that it was a cat I was saying this to. “What do you want?” I pleaded. You looked at me and inclined your head. You know what I want, you said with a dark stare.

So I did it. I petted you for an entire hour with my left hand while I typed with my right. I only wrote a total of four sentences in that hour. But who cares? You and I were finally buddies! Or so I thought.

Later that day, we crossed paths in the hallway. I smiled shyly, excited to see you. But you just looked at me coldly, as if it had never happened. I was just a girl, standing in front of a cat, asking for you to love her.

But your point was made. You weren’t looking for a companion or a friend. You were just looking for an hour to kill before you headed outside for the day to go on the prowl.

I get it. It’s over now between us. But I hope you know, Christmas will never be the same for me. TC mark

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