My cat loves me. Well, she did for a period of about 14 hours between the time I arrived home from a weekend away on Sunday afternoon and the moment I walked back into the house after picking the dog up from the vet on Monday morning.
My Bitsy is a friendly cat but not particularly fond of close contact with humans. She will allow you to pet her if she pleases but prefers not to be picked up and cuddled.
She would rather lay in her favorite place – what was the dog’s bed until she took it over – and admire you from afar rather than curl up on a lap.
Bitsy is always more affectionate after I’ve abandoned her to the house alone for a day or two but she seemed really, really happy to see me this time. My cynical daughter said it was because it was cold and the cat was seeking body warmth.
I thought so too for a little while. Then I realized she really, really missed me.
The cat who likes to hang out in the basement (the one place the dog is forbidden from going) hung around me instead. She lay on the arm of the recliner, reaching over to pat me every so often as I checked my e-mail and Facebook.
She lay on the top of the same recliner, occasionally offering me a little meow of pleasure, as I watched TV later in the evening. But what really shocked me was when she decided to curl up on extended footrest of the same recliner right next to my legs.
Not only that, she maintained contact. If I moved the slightest bit, she would as well, making sure to keep her paws in contact with me.
Like a puppy, she followed me when I went into the kitchen or upstairs to the bathroom. And when I went to bed, she joined me.
And slept by my shoulder. Once in a great while, she waits until the dog is asleep and then joins us. But she always picks a corner way at the end of the bed, nowhere near my head.
Perhaps my daughter is right and the chill in the air drew Bitsy to me. But I prefer to think that my prolonged absence brought her to a greater awareness of my kindness toward her, my affection for her and the special relationship we share.
Or maybe she just missed the dog and I was the next best thing.