[dropcap]R[/dropcap]ascal Lovebug Sassy Martin-Dietrich turned twenty this August. Her joints hurt, she has a thyroid problem, she gets confused from time to time, she urinates on my clothes, and she’s virtually deaf.
Otherwise, she’s in pretty good shape for a twenty-year-old.
My wife, Jamie, found Rascal two decades ago, in the middle of the night. It happened when Jamie spotted a kitten-shaped blur darting across the highway. Jamie swerved and nearly wrecked trying to dodge the little creature.
Right off the bat, Rascal became like Jamie’s child. And feline motherhood presented some unseen challenges. For one: Rascal didn’t care for a newspaper-bathroom system. Instead, she preferred to do her business on the kitchen counter. Second: as it turns out, cats can’t survive on a diet of Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup and Doritos.
They’re not like me.
When I met Rascal, she was already a seven-year-old package of piss and vinegar. She didn’t warm up to me at first. But that all changed when she vomited on my pillow. After that incident, something shifted in our relationship and she trusted me. She proved it by leaving me little gifts.
But I can’t complain, because everything Rascal does is endearing. For instance: she has a special way of screaming when she’s hungry – at four in the morning. She makes the same sound your grandmother might make if she’s fallen and broken her hip. Jamie and I take turns waking up in the middle of the night to replenish Rascal’s food bowl. I stroke Rascal’s soft fur while she eats.
And ask God to let her live until she’s sixty.