Sometimes I miss my mom. Not my feline mom, the one who gave birth to me and my litter mates beneath the deck. I only knew her for about five weeks. I barely remember her.
My real mom is the one who saved me from going to the Humane Society. My dad, the one who pulled us all out from under the deck despite our protests, put me in a cardboard box and took me to the car one day. I was really little then, so I didn’t hate cars yet. I just sat quietly in that deep brown box until we picked up my mom, who demanded to know what I was doing in the box, in the car. My dad explained that his mom didn’t want me living in her house.
I smelled my mom flush with anger and worry as she looked down at my marble blue kitten eyes. I gave her a soft little baby hiss because I didn’t like her intensity. I didn’t really know her yet. She just smiled at me. She told my dad that if his mom wouldn’t have me living in her house, then he should just get his own house. A house where I was welcome. A house of our very own. I rather liked that idea.
My dad listened to her, of course. She’s a genius. It felt like overnight, he bought us a house and the three of us began living there together. A jungle of our very own, in a semi-detached house in the suburbs.
As I grew up, I developed a bit of a reputation for being a “mean cat.” I’m not really sure how that happened. Maybe it’s because my hiss grew louder as I grew bigger. But I’d never hiss at my mom or dad. I didn’t need to because they belonged in our house. It was the intruders, who strutted around like they couldn’t smell our scents on every corner, who needed to be hissed at.
And sometimes they need to be taught a lesson. Humans are slow learners. Even with the hissing, sometimes they wouldn’t understand that they weren’t supposed to touch me, or talk to me, or even look at me. So I developed a rigid training system. Anytime a human committed an offense, I would hiss. Then I would wait patiently until the culprit turned their back to me. That was my cue to pounce on the back on their legs to show them whatever they’d done had been unacceptable. Sometimes I had to wait up to an hour to deliver punishment and the slow humans would forget how they’d warranted the attack. But I never forgot.
I rarely had to discipline my mom like that because she understood me right away. She knew when it was acceptable to pet me and when I needed to be left alone. We’d spend the most wonderful mornings together. After my dad would leave for work, she would fall back asleep on the couch. I would lye across her legs, suckle my blanket and purr my heart out. It was perfect.
However, she would always have to leave for work too, ruining those sweet morning moments. I’d hate that. I hate being left alone, uncertain if I’ll ever be fed again. So every morning, I would use my ever expanding body to barricade the front door and delay her exit. If she reached for the doorknob, I would leap up and sink my teeth and claws into her arm, until the weight of my own body dragged me through her skin, back down to the floor. This always did the trick! She’d then have to go back into the kitchen to wash off the blood, and I’d get extra time with my mom. Plus, she’d usually fill my bowl with treats before running out the door thereafter. It was a great routine.
Eventually those mornings stopped, though. I’m not exactly sure why. My mom stopped sleeping at our house all together. At first, she would still come over, but it was for much shorter periods of time. Then she stopped coming altogether. Slowly, the house stopped smelling like her, and it was just mine and my dad’s scents left.
The last day I saw her, she showed up with a stranger. I liked him because he stayed on the porch, so I didn’t have to hiss at him. She had tears streaming down her face and she was frantically collecting items like she wanted to get out of our house as fast as possible. She grabbed books, games, my blanket. Then she knelt down to pet me, and I let her because I knew something was wrong. I could see it in her eye that for a split second she considered taking me with her. But she couldn’t.
I have a new mom now. And a new house. And two new canine siblings. Dogs are even dumber than humans and twice as unpredictable. I’m terrified of them. I’m older now, and I’ve lost most of the fight in me. I just hide from them upstairs until it’s time to eat. It’s not a bad arrangement, and I’m happy with my life.
But I wonder if sometimes my mom misses me too.