Sometimes love can feel oppressive, even suffocating, especially when it weighs 14 pounds and is sitting on your chest.
I’m speaking of Thor, our tabby cat, and his deep devotion to me. He’s always been a mama’s boy, but when our tuxedo cat, Milo, died in November, Thor’s adoration intensified.
To be perfectly honest, I’m not even his first love. Thor’s heart actually belongs to whatever comes out of the refrigerator, pantry or kitchen cupboards. He has a food fixation, and since I’m the primary provider of meals, his passions are twofold.
He doggedly follows me throughout the house, like I’m littering cat treats in my wake. It’s sweet, but it’s also dangerous. I’ve tripped over him many times, and I’ve often trodden on his tail.
Love hurts, but occasionally it’s just annoying.
For example, I love to start my morning by curling up in bed with a hot cup of coffee and the newspaper. Thor likes to start his morning by curling up under my chin for a serious round of petting and affirmation. Coffee and a newspaper are no deterrent to a feline in purr-suit of affection. After he’s had enough chin-scratches, he moseys down to my feet and naps.
He’s already had breakfast because our son, Zach, is the first one up in the morning, and the first one awake has to feed Thor. Otherwise, the rest of us won’t be allowed to sleep.
Sometimes the mix of a full tummy and cuddles zonks him out while he’s still on my chest. Thor is a heavy sleeper. Literally. It’s very hard to dislodge 14 pounds of purr.
When I manage to get up and start my day, he follows me to the bathroom to supervise my ablutions. He used to drink from the bathroom sink, but once he didn’t dodge quickly enough when I was brushing my teeth and we both discovered Thor is not a fan of mint toothpaste on his whiskers.
If I’m working from home, he follows me downstairs to my desk. We bypass his food dish on the way, and Thor sees his food dish is empty. Since it’s been at least two hours since breakfast, Thor assumes he’s starving and launches into a piteous round of meows and complaints, which I ignore.
He sidles up next to my desk chair and nudges me till I pet him, just to show there are no hard feelings. Then he heads over to a nearby recliner to resume napping.
I swear he sleeps with one eye open because any movement from me convinces Thor I’m on my way to give him lunch.
I think he misses Milo most after lunch. Most afternoons following their noon meal, Milo would go cat-crazy and chase Thor up and down the stairs and all over the house.
Now and then Thor does the runabout on his own, but it’s not the same if you’re not in fear of a pouncing from your furry friend.
When I prepare dinner, Thor supervises, and his supervisory skills have gotten overbearing. He’s a micromanager when it comes to food prep, especially if there’s meat involved. He bats his paws at the cutting board and loudly demands a portion of whatever I’m cooking. If nothing I’m preparing is suitable for cats, I’ll give him a couple of treats.
He sits next to my chair during dinner. Just in case I feel like slipping him a morsel.
Since he’s so food-motivated, I’ve taught him to sit up, to beg, and occasionally he’ll even roll over for a treat. Playing dead? Well, he does that for hours at a time, with no treat needed.
I usually read for awhile before bedtime, and Thor drapes himself over me, lest I get cold. Or in case I decide to get up for a snack.
When Derek joins me, Thor will often try to suffocate him with affection, too, but we all know it’s just a ploy to get Derek to let him sleep with us.
Derek commands him to leave. Thor ignores him. Ignoring is prominent in his skill set. This irks my husband to no end, because when I get up to shut our bedroom door, I say, “Night, Night, Thor,” and Thor immediately jumps down and scoots out the door. This cat knows which side of his tuna is buttered.
His steadfast, fixated devotion to me may stem in part from loneliness. Thor has never been an only-cat. He came from a litter of four, and when we adopted him, he came home to Milo.
Perhaps it’s time to adopt a furry friend for our tubby tabby. I’m more than willing to share the spotlight of Thor’s saucer eyes.
Contact Cindy Hval at firstname.lastname@example.org. She is the author of “War Bonds: Love Stories From the Greatest Generation. Her Front Porch segments air Saturdays at 8 AM on Spokane Talks on FOX 28 Spokane. To see previously aired segments go to spokanetalksmedia.com and click the Front Porch tab.