The average cat sleeps 15 to 20 hours a day. But that doesn’t mean a cat can’t get lonely. Especially when its servants (some would say owners, but let’s be real) aren’t around much.
Earlier this year Rhumba spent two months in hospital and rehab. It proved rough for both of us. Between tending to work and tending to Rhumba, I spent all but one or two waking hours each day away from home. And from the cat.
She’s a meaty 13-year-old Siamese/Burmese mix with muscles of steel and an attitude. But when our other cat died last year, our tough cat became more — needy. And then, with neither Rhumba and I around much, almost desperate.
I gave her what attention I could. I knew that she enjoyed being brushed. So I brushed her until she rolled on the floor and purred. I brushed her before work. I brushed her when I fed her dinner. I brushed her late at night, three-quarters asleep after tending Rhumba all evening. I brushed enough fur off her to make another cat.
But she didn’t care. She’d flop from side to side on the floor so that I could brush both sides equally. She purred. And she purred. And she PURRRRED. Until you could hear it ten feet away while the neighbors used power tools.
And when Rhumba came home, she asked: “Why is the cat going bald?” I hadn’t even noticed. The cat hadn’t complained.
We’re both at home now, and Rhumba is back to at her job. We come home every evening. But the cat still wants to be brushed. Constantly. When I come downstairs to feed her in the morning, she runs to her brush, not her food bowl. I have suspicions that she’s learned to live off the kinetic energy transmitted through the brushing motions. That, and solar energy from her daily sunbaths.
And I wonder if she will gradually fade away under the ceaseless brushing, until there is nothing left but an eternal purr — a standing wave of sound that never dissipates. When it wanders near, I’ll run a brush through the heart of the purr, back and forth until the kinetic energy from the motion tops off its power levels. Then it will float into my lap and PURRRRRRRRR far into the night.
And if we should ever sell our place or pass away, the disembodied purr will wander out of the house onto the highway and let the cars run through it for the sheer love of energy. Until it is the size of an elephant, and the PURRRR measures on seismographs. And people will come to wave their hands through it and feel the PURRRRRRR for thousands of years to come.
PURRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR. Damn! She wants to be brushed again.