Cat Person

posted November 17, 2022

It’s not so much that I’m not a cat person
More like cats are not Nerissa people. 

All I wanted when I was five
Was a pink-nosed kitten,
Round blue eyes, milky breath,
Needly teeth and a rough tongue.

Oh! The sweet sound she’d make
Lapping up her saucer of milk.
Oh! The soft spot between her eyes
Which I could stroke whenever loneliness struck.

My desire so ensnaring,
It blinded me to realities.

My father is not a cat person.
My mother is allergic.
And yet.

One day, a wild kitten appeared
In my boyfriend’s garage, 
A feral fluffball.

My boyfriend’s mother, also allergic, put it in her pocket.
My boyfriend, also allergic, brought it to college
Named it after me.

My roommate welcomed the cat
We hid it from the authorities
Swore to clean its litterbox.

That summer, against the protests of my parents,
I sequestered it in my bedroom. It escaped 

Out the window, leapt to a tree, 
Fell and broke its leg.

What kind of a cat doesn’t land on its feet?

The vet set the leg in a long white cast
The cat slinked grouchily around the property
Dragging its injury defiantly.

A peculiar flavor of guilt, I felt. 
This animal, so clearly my prisoner,
I, its nemesis. No longer a blue-eyed pink-nosed
Lapper of milk, it sought revenge

By ripping, one by one, with its underemployed claws
All my rock star posters from the walls
As if trying to climb John Lennon’s 
Blue-jeaned torso. As if desperate to remind me
What getting my heart’s desire might cost.

The Comments

Join the Conversation. Post with kindness.

  1. Nerissa Free Cats

    Cats that make themselves Nerissa free
    suffer the greatest tragedy.
    When what you love doesn’t love you back
    it’s best to walk away and not be attacked.

    Your friends and family were allergic,
    and cats were forbidden
    but your friends loved you more,
    so they kept your cat hidden.

    Your cat was ungrateful
    for the love that it got.
    When it broke its leg it was nurtured not shot,… like a horse.

    Posters are replaceable.
    You’ll never be.
    So cats and people who live Nerissa free
    suffer the greatest tragedy.

  2. I love it. I’m a cat person or a cat– one never knows. I felt like a drum was playing as I read these words.

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