In June 2018, about seven months ago, I adopted a cat from a young woman who had to move apartments and could not take her cat with her. Brazilian Helicopter Pilot (BHP) and I immediately fell in love with her and took her home. It was a rocky week trying to get her to adjust. She had come from a happy, healthy home, and was traumatized by the quick transition. We didn’t have time to visit multiple times to gain her trust and then take her home; her previous owner was packing up as we picked her up.
Since then, we have fallen into a sort of morning routine that is comforting.
My alarm goes off at 5:00 a.m. on weekdays. Usually Seraphina will wait for the alarm to go off, but on days like today, she gets a little antsy and starts acting up to try to get us out of bed sooner. She maows plaintively in our ears, knocks stuff off our bedside tables, or knocks stuff off our dressers. Once my alarm goes off, if she is not in the room, she comes booking into the room, maowing and starts ripping at the carpet with her claws.
I get up, turn off my alarm across the room and head for the bathroom. Seraphina, hoping it is one of the two days a week where I get up and immediately feed her before going back to bed, rushes down the hallway towards the kitchen. I turn on the bathroom light, call her name and make kissy noises. She turns and scampers into the bathroom, purring all the way. While I am doing my morning ablutions she is wandering around the bathroom, purring and rubbing against me, and exploring territory that always needs to be re-explored. If I take to long, she will lean on the door that I closed, but not fully, and let herself out.
I cross from the bathroom back to the bedroom, where BHP sleeps on (it’s Friday, no gym because he has soccer, should I mention again that he’s Brazilian?) and weigh myself. Seraphina is maowing and trying to urge me to move faster.
I finally head down the hall to the kitchen and Seraphina runs ahead of me. I let my eyes adjust to the darkness and try to make sure she doesn’t trip me in her enthusiasm to get me to the kitchen. I cross the kitchen and turn on the light, bending down to give her a rub and some head scratches, while she purrs up a storm. I call her a “little purrmonster” and then set about making my morning iced latte.
Seraphina disappears for a few minutes to let me do this, which is a relief because she has been a bit of an impediment to coffee-making in the past. She will jump up on the counter and stick her paw in my glass trying to swipe at the ice cubes after I put them in. She is also very interested in the milk and once tipped over my glass when it was just milk and ice. Today though, she is happier to be elsewhere.
The espresso is set to brew and she comes trotting back into the kitchen. “Are we ready for walkabouts?” I ask her as I scoop her up into my arms and arrange her properly. She lays on my arms, almost like they are a shelf, my left hand holding her back paws, my right arm supporting everything else. I then walk around the apartment while she purrs. Since both my hands are occupied, when she looks like she wants a head scratch, I will kiss her head and rub my face against it. I walk slowly with a very slight sway through the living room and kitchen, until she decides she is ready to disembark. Today she is ready faster than usual and hops off the second time I pass the kitchen island.
Walkabouts done, I pour my espresso into my milk and ice and go sit on the couch, which has been my headquarters recently. I sit down to write this piece when I hear her trying to pull the light fixture out of the ceiling. I give her a warning (verbal) she pauses and then starts up again. I give the warning again. She stops and then I hear her start up again. I walk over to the fridge which is the second step on her way up to the highest cabinets in the apartment, where she has access to two light fixtures. She immediately comes over to me, jumps down and maows, trying to look innocent. I tell her she knows she is not supposed to do that. She jumps from the fridge to the kitchen island, lays down and faces the couch where she knows I will be returning. Her head swivels around, following the sound of the upstairs neighbor moving through their morning routine like a herd of elephants.
She switches positions a couple times on the counter, but is mostly sedate. Some mornings she will be more active, running around the apartment chasing toys or licking her wet food plate and looking at me plaintively, when there is an almost full plate of dry food next to her. I see her looking at my so I make kissy noises, she rolls toward me and then stretches out. This is usually when BHP and I say, it’s a trap. She exposes her tummy, but if you touch it, she will lose her shit all over you.
Deciding that she has been calm enough for now, she jumps off the counter and comes over to maow at me from the carpet. She then turns away and lays down, tucking all her little paws in and under. This calm doesn’t last long as I remember that I have forgotten a folder in my backpack. As soon as I stand up she starts maowing and following me, thinking that it’s feeding time. I get my folder, turn around and she has flopped on the floor and stretched out. It’s a trap. I, of course, immediately bend down and pet her, being careful to stay away from her tummy, she purrs before getting back up.
I return to the couch and get under my blanket. Seraphina comes over to debate whether or not she wants to get on, in, or under the blanket. There is a tense moment where I am encouraging her to come up, where she stares at me with HUGE eyes, her tail slashing back and forth and I know she is contemplating attack. I refuse to make eye contact and she eventually decides to jump up and explore my binder for a few seconds and then disappears from sight.
A few minutes later she reappears with a maow and I respond in kind. She proceeds to do a check of the apartment, sticking her nose in things to see if there is anything that needs killing or chewing. Seraphina is how I know that I am not ready for a child. If I can barely keep one cat under control, there is no way I could possibly handle a fragile, human infant.
She sits nearby and stares at me while I work. BHP’s alarm goes off and she turns toward the bedroom, but doesn’t go bounding into the room like she does when my alarm goes off. Instead she turns to the paper bag we left out for her and chomps on it, trying to rip a chunk out of it. That doesn’t hold her attention for long and she starts maowing. I maow back. I know it’s because she wants to be fed, but to ensure she doesn’t murder me on weekends, we keep her breakfast time at 6:30 a.m. on the dot. I don’t want to know what would happen to us in our sleep if we fed her at 5:00 a.m. on weekdays and not on weekends. I can manage to get out of bed at 6:30 a.m. on a weekend, hell no to 5:00 a.m. (unless I am heading out to Queens to clinic escort).
She starts to chew on the corner of the ottomans I received from my grandmother, I distract her away from that and say “Why don’t you go bother BHP? He needs to get up, go wake him up!” she decides to eat her dry food instead. She wanders around a bit more until she hears BHP actually get up and then she goes running into the bedroom to maow at him and start purring, hoping she can trick him into feeding her early.
At 6:30 on the nose, I get up to feed her and she starts purring and following me. I talk to her as I open the can and put the food on the plate. She is climbing into the cupboard and purring up a storm and maowing. I finally put the plate down and her purrs eventually taper off as I give her a few pets.
Minutes later, after scarfing down most of her food she is galumping around the apartment. An activity known to most as “having the zoomies.” But, because of how it sounds as she sprints from one end of the apartment to the other, I will call out “Galump, galump, galump…” as she does it. Now that she is fed, it’s time for me to get ready for work, so I will leave you all with this: