My cat Opus is 17 years old. She’s been my best friend for all these years. I can’t imagine my life without her.
She’s starting to act like an old kitty. Her eyes are starting to get cloudy. She sleeps on pillows and things to ease her sore old bones. She can’t jump much, although she never was very good at it. She’s slower and more cautious than her daredevil days of youth, when she climbed to the highest spots she could find, or roared around the house with me on grand games of chase. She yells all the damn time. And she needs to be with me, wherever I go, like a little shadow.
Sometimes I get so frustrated with her. Her yelling is constant, and I don’t know why she yells. Maybe it’s that she is unsure of where we are and calls to us. Maybe her eyesight or hearing are not as sharp and she gets confused. Maybe she’s just trying to talk to me. Maybe she just likes to yell. We don’t know why she does it, but it drives us to distraction.
She also follows me everywhere. And often, she just wants some attention or some playtime or some cuddling. But I am often in the middle of cooking or cleaning or whatever, and I shoo her away.
Today, it’s cold in here, and she wants to sit on my lap for warmth and comfort. It makes it inconvenient to type, I can tell you, reaching over the little purring bundle of fuzz in my lap, and it’s quite a production as she walks back and forth, back and forth, until she can get settled in just so. But then, I look at her, and I realize that there may be precious few times left when I get to enjoy her company like this.
I realized this morning that I need to be more patient with my girl. She follows me everywhere because she loves me and wants to be with me. She yells at me because she wants attention from the one person she loves most in this world and with all of her heart. She is my best friend, always here when I need her, and I have been neglecting her when she has needed me.
It’s times when I am impatient or frustrated with her that I need to remind myself that two years ago, we very nearly lost her to kidney failure. I need to remind myself how much I love her, and how devastated I will be when the time comes that we need to say goodbye to our beloved girl. We have shared so much together, she and I, and she has been a loyal companion and has given me unswerving, unconditional love every single day of her life. I need to remember that.
She was my first girl, and she will always have a special place in my heart. She’s my Opus. She’s my best friend.
So rest as long as you want here on my lap, my darling girl. The typing and the housework can wait awhile. And I hope, somewhere in your little kitty consciousness, you know how much I love you.