Dusty is a 20-year old calico cat. She’s mean, obnoxious and her meowing sounds like the screams of an old lady in pain. I’m scared to death of her. She’s blind, can’t hear very well and is crippled with arthritis. She loves me. I can only feed her small amounts at a time or she vomits. When I hear those retching sounds I run to carry her outside but seldom make it in time. Then it’s my turn to retch.
Dusty and I have a morning ritual that I have come to enjoy. She wakes me with an old lady scream between 4:30 – 5:30 a.m. I stumble into the kitchen and prepare her plate of food that I set out on the lanai where her litter box is kept. This accomplishes three things – she eats, she poops and I can check the weather.
I then bumble around making coffee and cleaning up the kitchen until she comes back inside and limps down the hallway to stand next to my bed. I arrange her quilt on top of my bedding and gingerly (she is not de-clawed and I have the scars to prove it) pick her up by the scruff of her neck and place her on her very own hand-made quilt. Until a few months ago I have never allowed an animal in my bed. (Well … I mean … you know). She settles down for a little nap because she’s only had 14 hours of sleep.
I plump up my pillows, carefully crawl in bed next to Dusty with my coffee, my iPhone and my computer and we settle down for an hour or so of pleasant social media mindlessness. But, God forbid I move. There’s that old lady scream again — mine.