Feral Love



I am cat-brained. The twitchy tail and pupils dilate accordingly depending on excitement, contentment or fear. Since I was little, cats came to me and I to them. We had colonies of ferals all around. Each litter would yield one that named me something other than my birth name: “friend” “mother” “confidant” “spy”. I, in turn, would name it something other than what it answered to on the kind of winter nights that kill: “friend” “mother” “confidant” “spy”. We’d spend hours watching each other. Days following each other. Years finding each other. A lifetime mourning the loss of each other. It rolled on and on like that, birth after death, death after birth, a new form, a new coat, a new ghost. There was the big orange tabby tomcat, soft as worn leather inside and out. I have no memory of how he died. There was the black and white tabby that limped because of a run-in. He let me get so close as to collar him. His body turned up weeks later behind a fence, and I knew him because of the color I chose. There was the solid gray left behind because we moved. Why we let him go, I’ll never know. Tiger, friend of the gray, came with us. Fifteen years access to a warm house and my pre-teen embrace, chased from the furniture but allowed to die on his own terms. Then there was Pepper, who I cannot speak of here. Not yet. And now, Ernie and Bert. This time last year, laps were uncharted. Today, during this month of love, there is lean-in, look up and purr.

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“Since I was little, cats came to me and I to them.”

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“I am cat-brained. The twitchy tail and pupils dilate…depending on excitement, contentment or fear.”

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“This time last year, laps were uncharted.”

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