Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Speaking for Both of Us




Zelda, our black and white cat, has been with us for fourteen years and has always had special place in our hearts.  She is a sweetheart, sensing when anything is wrong and coming to comfort the human involved.  When I was going through rough times and woke up at night, crying, I felt her coming up, sliding between my arms, staying there until I fell back to sleep.  She is an incredible cat.

Evan, who is 20 now, loves Zelda and proclaims her as “the best cat in the world.”  We all learned a valuable lesson when we got her from the shelter fourteen years ago.  We had already picked out an orange tabby kitten and went to the pound on the first day we could get her, only to find that another family wanted the same kitten.  

They won the coin toss and we watched as they carried "our" cat away.  We sulked for a bit and then looked around.  Within a half an hour, we found Zelda, a little, tiny black and white ball of fur.  We took her instead.  Now, we know that things happen for a reason.  Zelda was destined to be a part of our family.

Through the years, Zelda and Evan have spent a lot of time together.  He barely remembers a time in his life when she was not around. Zelda has never had children, but mothering instincts are strong within her, especially concerning Evan.  When he is home, she is by his side, in his chair, or seeking him out.  When he gets out of the shower, she likes to try and groom his already-wet hair. 

Evan, like so many other college-age students, has headed back to his university to start another academic year.  His absence is palpable here.  As all parents know, when there is offspring in the house, even when they are quiet, there is a certain warm feeling that permeates the house.  That feeling is gone now.

I loved having my boy home for the summer.  With him came his friends, and activity and, for me, still getting used to living alone, a sense of normality again. 

Now, I pass by his room and miss the pile of clothing on the floor, the humming computer on his desk, the pizza delivery uniform he wore for his summer job slung over the chair.  It is so very, very quiet in this house.

Needless to say, I am proud of Evan and what he is doing in his life.  I am so happy he is at college, pursuing his education.  

It feels selfish of me to miss him, yet I do.

Zelda misses him as well and she shows it by seeking out his socks from under his bed or where he left them on the floor near his dresser.  She takes one sock at a time from his room, and walks through the house, meowing a deep, guttural, mournful meow even as her mouth is full of sock.  It is a haunting sound, especially late at night.  

She deposits the socks all over, leaving it to me to go and pick them up in the bedrooms, the bathrooms, the living room and occasionally, the yard. 

I pick them up, wash them, and take them back to his room.  I stand near his dresser and consider putting all the socks inside the drawers to save myself the trouble of picking them up again.  

But I don’t.  

The mother in me understands that she needs to do this.  

I leave some for her beside his dresser, and beside his pillow she likes to curl up next to.

Late at night, I see her walking down the hall, carrying one of his socks and meowing.  

“I know you miss your boy,” I say to her.  “I miss him too.”  

Then I hear her plaintive meow even louder, echoing against the walls, touching something deep within me and I know she is, in her own Zelda way, helping me once again by speaking for both of us. 



28 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Let her carry around his socks if it makes her feel better. Gives you funny stories to tell Evan. 'You won't believe where she left your socks today...'

mama .bonnie said...

Poor kitty, she is mourning the loss of her love one. Too bad she doesn't adopt the dog ;o)

Leah J. Utas said...

Poor Zelda. What a lovely, loving cat.

YrHmblHst said...

great post. Your ability to communicate so effectively and emotionally in such a short space continues to amaze.
Hard to believe such understanding and affection from a cat, but apparently some have the capacity. Zelda sounds more like a dog. Indeed, she may be the best cat in the world.

Shelly said...

This is beautiful.

Cranberry Morning said...

What a touching post! I am glad Zelda has you to comfort her and understand her - and for her to comfort you and understand you. It is amazing what companionship a little cat can bring to one's life. I know the feeling about your son being gone. Our youngest selfishly got married two Octobers ago. ;-)

Sweet Zelda. So glad you're leaving the socks for her.

The Chicken's Consigliere said...

I'm glad you have each other to ward off the loneliness, and that Zelda has his socks. Hope Evan has a great year at school. Do you think he forgot all his socks?

thesweetsimplethings said...

Our Boo Kitty was the same way. She joined our family when our son was four and we had her for 17 years. Jon was her favorite person.
~Laura

Deanna said...

What a beautiful post. Zelda sounds like an amazing cat.

Deanna said...

What a beautiful post. Zelda sounds like an amazing cat.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Betty .. that's wonderfully thoughtful of you - I bet Zelda blesses you ... but she has to pick them up too.

It's great Evan is pursuing his learning and studying .. must get it from you ..

Have a happy Autumn ... Hilary

Madi and Mom said...

ZELDA IS A BEAUTIFUL KITTY BUT HER BEAUTY IS TRIPLED BY HER LOVE OF HER BOY AND HOW TENDERLY SHE CARES HIS SCENT AROUND WITH HER. TOO PRECIOUS AND PEOPLE WHO THINK CATS ARE NOT LOVABLE OR CARING ARE MISSING SO MUCH. ONE HAS TO EARN A CAT'S LOVE THEN YOU HAVE IT FOR LIFE.
HUGS MADI AND MOM

Ms. A said...

I know how she feels.

jenny_o said...

It's good that comments must be typed because I cannot speak yet - you've touched my heart so, with this post. Hugs to you and Zelda.

Pat said...

Oh how terribly sweet. There is nothing like a bond between a first pet and a child. I bet that cat misses your son as much as you do. Let her have the socks.....it might appease her somewhat!

Ann said...

Aw poor Zelda. It's got to be harder for animals than it is for us because they just don't understand why their favorite people aren't around

Old Kitty said...

Awwwww Zelda!! What a sweetheart!! Hopefully her bestest pal will be visiting soon! Big purrs and hugs! take care
x

Gigi said...

I know exactly how you and Zelda feel. Makes me kinda wish I had some of Man-Child's (clean) socks to carry around with me.

Brian said...

Zelda is very wise and picked the right family!

Retired English Teacher said...

What a great story. Thanks for sharing.

Hilary said...

How I love felines. My males are also 14 and one of them is my son's co-mother just as your Zelda is Evan's. I so understand this. Beautiful Zelda (and Betty), your boy will return.

Que Merrill said...

So much more eloquent than just vomiting on the quilt of the missing child.

Nancy Claeys said...

Our German Shepherd Sioux does the same things with my husband's socks. Cute, but creates a bit of work for us, eh? :)

SueAnn Lommler said...


And she speaks very well indeed.
Beautiful cat.
Hugs to you both
SueAnn

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

You made me cry. My 18 year old cat is yowling all over the house for my daughter who went back to college. My daughter has called everyday to check on her. And the house is quiet and peaceful.

Pat Tillett said...

Whew! Darn allergies are making my eyes water. That was sad and beautiful...

Heidrun Khokhar, KleinsteMotte said...

Yes this post has me feeling a lot like her. Except for Buddy my girls are gone again too. And our Ellie show she misses them by curling up on blankets they used.

Baby Sister said...

So beautiful. And such a sweet cat!! I bet Evan enjoys the love he feels when he comes home.