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March 12, 2015

Zombie Lives

Installment One of a Two-Part Cats Documentary Essay

 

My cat, Zombie, and I have a deal – I cater to her every whim and she uses the litter box almost every single time. She thirsts for affection like a newborn, like a vampire bat for warm blood. Fortunately, for her, she’s a preposterously adorable vampire bat. She is sweet and cuddly and suffocatingly clingy. She wants only to be loved and crawl under the covers or sit on my lap while I read a good book. What can I say, she’s an elderly, eccentric, blind, hyperthyroid, allergic, needy, adorable cat with a kidney condition. She can do what she wants.

 

Zombie prefers to spend her time brooding in The East Wing, by which I mean the upstairs bedroom, avoiding all other sentient beings. Except for me, of course. People think I’m exaggerating when I say that she lives in one room but I’m being literal, and I don’t mean that in the new, annoying sense of the word that actually means figurative. I mean it literally. It’s as if the threshold has been anointed with voodoo spells and fresh garlic. If you’ve ever seen the old Vincent Price film, The Fall of the House of Usher, you’ll get a pretty good idea of Zombie’s personality – high strung, delicate, dark, introspective. She’s always been that way. I can remember even as a fuzz ball kitten she would follow me into the bedroom when I retired in the wee hours and we would stay up discussing Nietzsche and Camus and the absurdity of the human and feline conditions, until dreaded sunlight drove us to retreat, into the gloom of blankets, for what reprieve we could find from the wicked, waking life.

 

Every morning starts with her thyroid medication, which if you’ve never given a cat a pill before, it’s a fucking blast. They tend to really enjoy having something bitter thrust down their throat. By way of apology I shake out a few non-kidney-taxing, hypoallergenic snacks, and announce that I’m leaving. I always announce when I’m leaving, or approaching or anything, since she lost her eyesight about a year ago, at the age of 14. Honestly though, she just likes the sound of my voice. She loves it when I narrate what I’m doing, or even just thinking about doing. She is totally interested in my opinions on the news, or the latest Weird Al Yankovic record or my top ten list of horror novels. She has quite a vocab herself, actually, from nice meow to bitchy meow (her most common word), to grunt of frustration (painfully cute), to about twelve variations on the standard purr. Species barrier be damned, we understand each other just fine.

 

Zombie has grown into a graceful and dignified grimalkin, always cool and composed and totally moderate in her use of catnip. She almost never pees on my favorite blanket or bumps into things (oh, come on man, she’s blind), and her frequent belches, though alarmingly loud, almost never reek bad enough for me to actually leave the room. Her presence and continuous purr are as vital to my well-being as sunlight and chocolate and warm socks. I sleep sound in the knowledge that she will never ever die. Ever.




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Comments

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I always have and always will love the diminutive Zombie. and of course the spirit guide, John Hayes.
Comment By: Mark2 years ago 
We too have an elderly cat (Linda) now 16, with hypothyroidism. Needs 1/2 pill 2 x day. Fortunately she's had some dental work done in earlier years so there is less chance of me losing a finger when I pry open her little mouth and try to flick the pill towards the back. In earlier days we'd frequently give up, wishing to keep all of our digits. Linda is also a great talker. - And she looks a lot like your photo of Zombie. Wonder if they're distant relatives?
Comment By: ANITA2 years ago 

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