38: Between Friends

38: Between Friends

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: I Can't Believe My Cat Did That!

Between Friends

Who hath a better friend than a cat?

~William Hardwin

I lay on my bed, curled in the fetal position. Why, of all weeks, did I have to come down with a stomach virus now? Only a few days earlier, I had promised to cover for the other payroll clerk in my department so she could go on a much-needed but impromptu vacation. Authorization for that vacation was based solely on my willingness to process her payroll that week. And now I was laid up. How were those 400 employees going to get paid?

With that in mind, I drifted in and out of a fitful sleep only to awake in the wee morning hours to discover my faithful red tabby, Moo, beside me. Normally I welcomed Moo, encouraged him, in fact, to share my bed. Yet now, even his small body at my feet was irritating. I tossed and turned, seeking a position that would give me some relief. With each movement, Moo drew nearer. Gently, I nudged him away but he kept coming back. Finally, too tired to fight, I gave up. Then my little tabby did something very odd — he lay flat over my aching belly.

Now, Moo had been known to sleep in the most unusual of positions and places: on his back in the middle of the living room floor with all four paws up in the air; under the pillow of his cat bed instead of on top of it; and once, cushioned in my husband’s sock drawer. But never had he lain directly on top of me in this fashion. He wasn’t exactly what might be termed a lap cat, preferring his own personal space. Moo was independent, his own man, probably the result of his early years as a stray. Yet for some reason, he sought out this spot close to me now.

I must admit that I found the warmth from my kitty soothing. It must have been as soothing, I imagined, as the warmth of my arms had been for him when I found him huddled next to my back door early one winter morning, a stray seeking shelter from the cold and wind. A massive snow had fallen the previous night and his tail was covered in ice. I had held him against my body until he thawed, terrified that his tail, and perhaps other parts of him, had been damaged by exposure. After he warmed, I gently dried his body with a soft towel and fed him an entire can of my best tuna. I’ll never forget how he purred afterward, or my relief to see his tail swishing madly as he rubbed his body against my leg. The look in his eyes at that moment spoke directly to my heart. “Thank you friend,” it said.

Moo stayed with me throughout that harsh winter and when spring arrived, I imagined he would go back to his rambling ways. Yet, he never did and Moo became a permanent fixture in my home.

As we lay together this night, I felt my stomach begin to calm within only a few minutes and it seemed as though the soft touch of Moo’s body was drawing the ache out of me one breath at a time. Within half an hour, I was sound asleep and remained so until I was awoken by my alarm clock. Overnight, after I had fallen into sleep, Moo had resumed his usual position at my feet and when I stirred, he rolled over. Quietly, I slipped out of bed and readied for work feeling a bit weak, but still capable enough to face the day. Before leaving the house, I returned to the bedroom and ran my fingertips through the fur between Moo’s ears. He lifted his head and looked back at me with one sleepy eye. Then I bent close, kissed him on his fuzzy cheek, and murmured, “Thank you friend.”

~Monica A. Andermann

More stories from our partners