One is staring at me now.

His name is Poppy, and I love him, even though he is lazy, overbearing and greedy. For all intents and purposes, he is my first child. I remember cradling his delicate, laundry-soft furball body in my hands. I remember coming home from work and terrified I wouldn’t find him waiting at his usual spot. I remember the first time he gingerly put a tiny paw on the newspapers I laid out for him. I remember setting up his and my first litter tray, scratching post, curl-up basket. I remember stalking bookshops for any and every book I could get on cats and their peculiar habits.

Now he’s 8 years old, huge, with a wobbly pink belly and a rather imperious manner. He doesn’t need so much attention anymore (unless it’s raining and definitely when it’s storming).

More things I remember about Poppy:

The time I thought he’d run away and a black fog descended over my life. Until I discovered him cowering in the storeroom. Repeatedly cleaning out his ears with a Q-tip when he had several fungal attacks. When his kitten-self got himself entangled and nearly choked on lose threads from the curtains that he had ripped himself. Curling up in the crook of my neck to sleep. Last month when he fell sick and didn’t eat for two days, and I fed him warm tuna pieces with my fingers.

Ok all these weren’t about cats, more about a cat. If I were to stick to the topic instead and write about cats in general, I’d just say we vastly underestimate the amount of attention, love and joy these “aloof” creatures can give to us.


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