I went to meet my new feline companion the other day. After moving into this new apartment, I set a goal for myself to befriend my new roommate’s cat. The cat, named Chloe, esteemed with the long fifteen years she has achieved, approached me. Her wizened, stoic face looked up at me.
This is my chance, I thought. I can become part of your world. I can show you that I belong.
I stuck out my hand, my fingers lingering in front of her nose.
Chloe, however, is no curious puppy. Nay, not even a lazy pug. She did not like this foreign object.
She looked me in my eyes, furious. She pawed my hand away, her disgust thick in a raspy hiss.
I was fortunate that she had been declawed some time ago, but I was stunned. Here I was, thinking I was making considerable progress. But no, she just wanted a reason to hate me and I gave it to her.
Fortunately, this was not the worst attack I have suffered. The greatest feat I dealt with was when I was in Alaska on a summer family trip during my middle school years.
The day felt brisk – we had spent the day hiking in Juneau. We were finishing up our tour of the nature with sifting for gold. There was a gift shop next to our sifting station. After the reenactment activities, the rest of my family went inside the shop. I lingered outside and looked up at the sky, brilliantly blue and clear.
I did not realize, however, that my presence severely pissed off a local rodent resident.
I looked down to my right and saw the squirrel that still haunts my nightmares. On its hind legs, its bulging and black eyes looked into mine and it started walking towards me.
I took a step back, but the squirrel’s intentions were cruel and understood perfectly. I started to back away faster, but it gained momentum. I began to feel a numb dread, my chest weighing heavily. I started to run to the gift shop door. It ran as well, gaining ground.
Fortunately, I reached inside before the rabies-filled stalker put its grubby paws on me.
Shaken up and beginning to tear up, I grabbed my dad and told him of the horrors of the rogue squirrel. Of course, my brother and sister walked by and thought this was oh so funny, but they didn’t have to endure the horrors I did.
When we left, I walked closely behind my dad, watching the bushes intently for the evil squirrel. Thankfully, I was spared another horrific interaction. To this day, however, I speed up a little when I see one of those damned creatures on the sidewalk.
Now when I see Chloe, I feel grateful that it was merely a soft punch of stuffed-animal-like creature rather than a disgusting rat-thing. I nod to her as she remains curled on the couch, the legend herself bathing in sunlight.
I will respect you, cat. I think to her. And maybe one day you will respect me.