Ryan Gets His Cat


Lillian January 2015

These days, I know with some accuracy when Ryan will be ready for bed. About an hour after Lillian jumps into his lap while he’s sitting in his comfy armchair with his feet up. She nestles in between his legs, props her head on his belly, looks up at him with soulful eyes that scream, “You’re my momma cat,” and passes out. Sixty minutes later, after a few unmightly attempts to mumble, “I’m not asleep,” with his eyes closed, the announcement comes.

“Lillian, get up, it’s time to go sleepies.”

After our September trip to Disneyland, we decided it was finally time. No feline will ever take the place of Camoes, my beloved, 14-year Danger Cat. But six months after his passing, we couldn’t deal with a catless house any longer. She and Ryan bonded instantly when we took her out of the cage at Animal Control on Chicago’s Southwest Side. Disney fans, we planned on two cats: Walter and Lillian (for the reasons you may think.)

I’m not sure if Walter would survive, however. I know I barely do. Ryan often told me that he was Camoes’ playmate, but I was his parent. That Camoes liked him–though I always told him it ran much deeper than that–but Camoes loved me. In truth, we were inseperable, and he was with no exaggeration my best friend for 14 years. He nuzzled and nestled with me. But he and Ryan playfully swatted at each other. Ryan might suggest “shredded” as a better word here. Not that Lillian does enjoy exercising her claws, too. But she limits them to full contact with furniture.

Anything and everything resembling furniture.

And so the roles are reversed now. I play hide and seek around corners with Lillian, who spends most of her time trying to goad me into it. Pry her and her teeth off of my slippers. Drag her our from behind the TV. Upright the overturned trash cans every morning. And fail miserable at trying to teach her that love bites are still a pain in the ass and not allowed.

A tomboy with massive attitude, she gets into everything and ignores all orders to the contrary. She loves to gallop across the living room and come to a stop by surfing on the hallway rug. Barely three months in and she has already overturned a full glass of soda onto Ryan’s chair. Have I mentioned she’s persistently flatulent, yet?

Ryan is madly in love with her. I think she’s a total bitch. Which she is, unless she’s exhausted from a long day of shredding toilet paper and flinging the white-board eraser across the room. Then she’ll climb unexpectedly under the sheets next to me, stretch out as long as she can muster, wiggle as close into to my side as she can, and doze off. She’s hard to resist at those moments.

I guess I’ll just have to try harder.

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