Saturday, March 14, 2009

What a Cat is Good for

The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.

More Uses than I Knew

One day a couple of weeks ago, I woke up, feeling exhausted and a bit down. I worked from home that day and discovered the extraordinary comfort of a kitty to pet.

Tonight, I'm going to bed early, so I can wake up and drive for 4.5 hours with one of my sisters and my mom to my cousin Shirley's funeral. I barely remember her, or her husband and kids...just that one of her sons sat at our Passover Seder table one year, reading "Mad" magazine.

It's not Shirley I'm mourning so much as the loss of my dad all over again.

Shirley was the last of his contemporaries in the family to go.

For no special reason, or maybe Phoebe is far more psychic than I've given her credit for, she's on my lap, doing her most endearing routine, which happens rarely, but which is extra-sweet: Phoebe's butting her body and head against my chest and looking straight up at me, exposing the white fur of her neck, which contains her whirring purr-box.

What a lovely comfort, which I didn't have back when I lost my dad of blessed memory (z"l) at 17. It's such a simple pleasure to pet a cat -- to feel her tail tap my leg, to see her yawn; all of these relax me so.

This afternoon, my mom and I visited a friend of my mother, who is in rehab, as he was rear-ended eight months ago by a 16-year-old, barreling around in a BMW SUV. My mom and her friend were swimming buddies; he was on his way to the JCC pool when it happened.

Today, he can move only his facial features and his left arm; he's right-handed. His left hand is in a permanent, loose fist.

Our conversation took us to Oliver Sacks, and Temple Grandin and animals, and the drooling, unwieldy dog he had, and to Pat's and my cats. I let him talk mostly about the dog, but I was missing Phoebe and Toonces as he told his stories.

If there is a simpler pleasure in response to paralysis and to death than kitty-petting, I cannot imagine what it is.


Anonymous said...


I'm not a blogger but was just searching for you for help with something LGBT related.

I am guessing you are long gone from TC. Can you drop me a line when you have a chance please at



Sarah Siegel said...

Glad we re-connected.