More Sugar

There are huge, important things going on in the world today. The global issues are being hashed out and debated all over the world with minute-by-minute updates. In my own life, there are things happening that I am not in a position to talk about yet, but that are overwhelming my thoughts. All of this is making it difficult for me to focus on my writing today.

I have frequently written about my beliefs and the reasons I hold them. I have frequently written about my family and told you about all of the special people that I am fortunate enough to have in my world. Today though, I am too distracted by everything that is going on to write about any of these really important issues. I am tired. Not tired of what’s going on, but I have been made exhausted from the magnitude of everything that is going on.

All week long I have tried to find something to write about that strikes the right tone. I don’t want to make light of everything that is happening, but I don’t want to re-hash what is being debated on every street corner. I will eventually share what is happening personally, but it’s not time yet.

So, after a lot of false starts on this week’s post, most of which fizzled out after the first paragraph or two, I have decided to return to my most accessible muse: my cat Sugar.

Sugar came into my life ten months ago when she was found abandoned and injured in the country. She was emaciated, flea infested, and scared. Humans had proven themselves to be untrustworthy in her experience, so while she was grateful to be rescued, she was in no hurry to bond.

This was all fine with me. I wasn’t that sure I wanted a roommate, so her hands-off approach worked well for me. However, slowly, she got healthier and feistier. She went from never leaving her sanctuary under my bed to going through a period of tormenting me for hours in the middle of the night when she thought it was time to play.

Sugar was slow to show affection. One day, after we’d lived together for a couple of months, she was lying a few inches away from where I was sitting on the couch.  Slowly, without looking at me, she reached a paw over to rest on my leg. In the months since that breakthrough, she will now occasionally curl up right next to me placing her head on my arm and her paw on the keyboard I am invariably working on. It’s taken time, but we’re getting there.

Sugar’s progress in socializing was not always smooth, but it was almost always humorous. There was the evening I came home from work to hear a piteous mewing coming from somewhere in my very small home. After searching all of her normal hangouts, checking my home studio, (which she is banned from entering,) I finally opened the hall closet to put my coat away. Out came Sugar, regally exiting the closet without so much as a glance at me.

There was the morning earlier this week when the cat and I were sitting in the living room. I was trying to figure out what to write this week, and she was taking a cat nap by the front door. Without warning, I heard the cat desperately scrambling to push herself under the couch that I thought she was now much too fat to fit under. As I wondered what on earth had stirred her to such a fit of desperate energy, I realized there was a street washer going by outside the open window. Who knew something so innocuous to the human ear could cause such desperation in a feline? Who knew I was so unsympathetic to her plight that I couldn’t quit laughing at her?

I have called Sugar a lot of different names. A short list includes: Sugar; Sugar Bear; Sweet Potato; Sweet Pea; Sweet thing; Sweet girl; Pretty girl; Sugar substitute; Asshole; and Shithead. Please note that, yes, there is a descending spiral there. The more irritating her behavior, the quicker the name devolves from sweet to spicy.

One name I have never called my cat is stupid. There is a corner in my kitchen where I have a basket that I have let Sugar know she can scratch on to her heart’s content. The basket is right next to a small area rug where she is also allowed to scratch. The cat knows this area is where she’s permitted to scratch without being moved or yelled at. However, being a cat, Sugar often scratches at other surfaces. When I catch her doing this, I chastise her and either grab her to take her to her free zone, or I grab a water bottle and spray her.

Her latest trick is when I catch her scratching at non-approved surfaces, she runs for all she’s worth to her “scratch corner.” She then proceeds to scratch at her basket and, I am not exaggerating, she looks over her shoulder at me as if to say, “See, I’m scratching where I’m supposed to.” Ornery little shit.

Another interesting trick she’s learned is to scratch that same basket when she wants to be fed. She always gets praised when she scratches there so she assumes it’s where she can go to get rewarded too.

In the last ten months, I have gone from being skeptical about having a cat in the house to being grateful that there is someone who is glad to see me when I come home. True, her happiness is usually derived from the knowledge that she will soon receive more food, but it’s still nice to have her saunter up and acknowledge my presence in her world. I don’t know if we’ll ever reach the stage in our relationship when she curls up on my lap, but in the meantime, it’s nice to have a live-in muse who helps me pull my focus away from all of the serious shit that’s going on in the world and focus on petting the cat’s belly. Twice.

What are your thoughts?