Picture this: Fall day, fireplace on, cat curled up on floor by the fire snoozing and me curled up in a chair across from him writing with laptop on lap, of course. Thomas has been my companion for nearly 2 years and he has given me a reason to extend myself to another, to love, feed, nurture and give him a home. He was rescued from the SPCA who had taken him in after being abandoned by his owner – him, his mate and a litter of babies. I could only take him.
Some days I worry about him. I spend equal amounts of time thinking about him, having moved him into that space in my brain, after husband and kids. I think he needs a companion besides me but where I live, this is not allowed so I buy him toys, things that wiggle, flash lights and roll around and rattle.
I am concerned he may be depressed. Can cats become depressed? I sit with him, cuddle, pet, brush and I throw his favorite ratty mouse over and over and he fetches, he really does, then drops it at my feet to throw it again. He sleeps at the foot of my bed, on the bed. He sleeps a lot.
He loves me and I like that. I like being needed…comes from training I suppose, being so needed when raising little children and it is hard to let go of, so this is my thinking, God created cats for empty-nesting mothers.
Thomas will sit for a treat, he will sit up with paws in the air, and he follows me from room to room just to see what I’m doing. That is love…or perhaps he just thinks I might also have treats in those rooms too.
But when he lays on the floor, with head on paw and just looks at me as I wander back and forth, sighs and then looks away, that is when I worry and think he is depressed. But then, I think – I think too much.
I had hoped for less cleaning of the house once the kids left but I’ve discovered this cat sheds a lot of his presence all over the house and it seems I am required to dust and vacuum more than this empty-nester wants. I even wipe his nose drippings off the windows, more than when I had little kids doing similar face bumps against the glass.
However, having Thomas greet me at the door, with his smile and hello, who runs to his scratching post to work out the kinks he created while sleeping away his time while I was gone, then speak in cat language until I give him a treat or a meal and give me thanks by licking my toes, or walking across the laptop to let me know he’d like to snuggle is so worth a few thousand cat hairs drifting around the house.