If I Were a Cat
I would be a medium longhair. Less furballs; but still soft and fluffy. My face would not be long and pointed, like a Siamese; or short and flat, like a Persian. Somewhere in the middle. A nice face.
And I would be beautiful. And adored.
If I were a cat, I would live inside, not outside, where terrors lurk. I would have my hiding places around the house. Up high, on shelves, or down low, under chairs. On window sills, or in closets. When the sun is just right, that perfect spot on the floor.
I would never think about my weight, or needing a facelift or a pedicure. I would never wear makeup, or stress about a haircut gone wrong. I would never have to cook, because my meals are prepared for me. I would never have to do dishes. Or laundry, because I am a cat, and enjoy a permanent wash n’ wear existence. I would never experience emotional fallout, or attend therapy or die a thousand deaths over an adult child’s decision. I am perfectly oblivious to nearly everything except whether my food bowl is full or not.
If I were a cat, I would frequently leap onto my human’s lap and gaze at him imploringly, inviting a caress. Afterwards, I would lightly jump off, brushing a leg with my tail as a flirtatious good-bye.
Affection is always on my terms, not theirs.
I would stare longingly out of the windows at birds. I would remain stock-still, waiting; then I would leap at the glass, hoping to escape the confines of the house in pursuit. But it is only instinct that drives me. I don’t really want to eat the birds, just chase them. Shake a tail feather or two.
Sometimes I am slapped with a fuzzy, soft thing. And then I hear “NO!” I think that means to stop what I am doing. I am not sure. But I humor them, my humans. I gaze at them questioningly, and they stop waving the fuzzy thing around. But I leave the place where I was slapped, just in case. My tail twitches as I look back, cautious. It is a game. I know I can do whatever I want when they are asleep or out of the room I am in. I do not think they know that I know this.
If I were a cat, I would look forward to evening, when my humans are quiet and still and I can crawl into a lap. I would leap quietly on the couch, where they are relaxing; pad around in a circle, find my spot, and lie down, safe and warm, on legs. I can sleep there for hours, if they let me. But they eventually get up, set me carefully aside, pat my head, and pad upstairs. I cannot go with them. They shut the door to their bedroom.
I don’t mind. And I do not feel rejected. I will see them in the morning, when the sun comes up. I will stretch and yawn, and then I will run to them, because their hands and words invite me to.
I will follow them to my food bowl and mew at them if food is not present. Then, after breakfast, I will gallop back and forth in search of cat toys, and when I find them, roll over on my back and toss them in the air, which will delight my humans. They will watch and laugh and point and sometimes take pictures of me. I am perenially cute.
Sometimes, my human and I gaze at each other in a sort of enigmatic understanding; a shared delight, as we lie together, long and slim, in the sun.
I think she would like to trade places sometimes. But I wouldn’t. I know I have a pretty sweet deal here.
And then, if I were a cat, I would go back to sleep.