The Sweetest of Overfamiliars

When you live by yourself, coming home is a slightly bittersweet affair. It’s wonderful to return to your sanctuary but too quiet when you holler, Honey, I’m home! (or, let’s be honest, Who left this God-forsaken mess?). That is, unless you have as codependent a relationship with your pet as I do with permakitten Gracie.

I’m still marveling about what happened when I went away last week. Before I left, I held her paw and told her the date I’d be returning, just as I always do. My cat-sitter reports Little Miss started sitting anxiously by the front door on the morning of the day I’d said I would be back. By the time I came home–I extended my trip by two days–I could hear her weeping as I entered my building’s vestibule. When I walked into my apartment, this once-feral kitty catapulted into my arms, fur matted with dried tears. That she’d remembered the day I was supposed to return does not surprise me. That she could not receive my telepathic assurances I was still coming back hurts my heart. It’s never struck me as a coincidence that we discovered Grace as a deserted newborn just as I was realizing I wouldn’t bear young of my own. She is the dearest of overfamiliars, a sweetly striped manifestival of all the abandonment issues I’m healing for us both.

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy