Hannah and I: A Love-Hate Story

Many years ago, my Mom answered an advertisement in the Reminder from a woman who was looking to unload a litter of kittens. When Mom and I showed up, two tortoiseshell cats remained. Not wanting to leave one behind, my Mom put both female kittens into a carrier and brought them home to meet my brother.

About six years ago, “my” cat, Hattie, died after a long and fulfilling life of looking at birds through our picture windows. But “my brother’s” cat, Hannah, lives on. And on. And on. Recently, my Mom found some paperwork that revealed the cat is nearly 20 human years old. If you’re doing the math, in cat years she’s old enough to be on the Today Show getting her hobbies read to the nation by Willard Scott. (“Hannah just loves sleeping on top of the radiator.”)

Hannah and I have a love-hate relationship. My love is displayed through picking the cat up and hugging her close to me, which she hates. I also show love by tackling her to the ground and trying to groom her less-than-shiny fur with the Furminator. My Mom and brother are both loathe to do this.

“She hates it,” my Mom observes as the cat swipes at my face with her extended claws.

“She’s too old to groom herself well. Somebody’s got to do this,” I reply, dodging the cat’s paws.

I’ve spent a good deal of time at home lately to help my Mom with some home repair stuff, which means I’ve spent more time with Hannah. As I write this, I’m sitting in the living room chair. The cat is sitting on the floor, with her back turned in an attempt to look like she’s taking no interest in me. However, as soon as I look like I’m making a move to get up, the cat springs to life.

“Meow,” she says as I wander into the kitchen to get a glass of water.

“No, Hannah. You just ate.”

Meow.”

“Cat. Seriously. I just scooped some food into the bowl. You don’t need more for a while.”

“Meow. Meow. Meow.”

“No.”

“MEEEEOOOOWWWW,” she howls as she throws herself at my feet in an attempt to trip me.

“Oh MY GOD, fine,” I shout at her as I open the fridge and put a small scoop of wet food into her bowl.

The cat scarfs down food like she has never been fed before. For a moment, things are quiet and I am in her good graces. But after I pop into the bathroom to wash my face, I open the door to see a frail, old cat sitting in front of the door.

“Meow,” she says, trying to direct me back to her food bowl.

Just like your relations who are a little batty, Hannah gets away with being such a nuisance because she’s old and losing her faculties. She can’t hear as well as she used to. She is easy to surprise. Her ability to climb and descend stairs is limited.

That cat drives me nuts. But I fear the day when I come home and she’s not yowling at me as soon as I open the door.

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