The Office of Her Grumpiness

My 14 year-old-cat, Calliope, is stalking Kent as he sits at the breakfast table, reading his morning paper.

He is the new man in her life as well as mine. She is using her feline wiles to get his attention. Threading her way between his legs, she rubs back and forth against his warm skin. When he crosses his legs, she sidles up to the foot that hangs in the air, using it as a scratching post. When he gets up to refill his coffee, she flops down where he cannot avoid stepping over her on his return.

More often than not, he stops to massage her belly with his foot. But woe betide Kent if he tries to pick her up. She will whine and flail her paws and arch her back until he lets her down. Or if he scratches her head when she’s snoozing by the fireplace or napping on cushion in the kitchen. She has been known to purr in such situations, but mostly she hisses and bats his hand away.

Kent takes it in his stride. He loves her even though she hisses.

It is embarrassing to realize how much I am like Calliope. I crave Kent’s attention. I love having him stroke me, literally as well as figuratively. But like Calliope, I often hiss when he enters my space unexpectedly. My hisses reflect nothing more than surprise … a broken train of thought … a momentary of loss of control over something that ultimately doesn’t matter anyway.

As with Calliope, Kent seems to take my grumpiness in his stride. It seems he loves me even when I hiss. But can I assume it will always be this way? Kent expects nothing from Calliope. She’s only a cat.

But I’m his partner, not his pet. Woe betide me the day that Kent genuinely needs something and I hiss at him.