My Cat Cosmo Taught Me About True Friendship


This is Cosmo. Due to his facial markings and intense expressions, people tend to think he’s cranky some of the time. They are dead wrong; he is cranky most of the time, but his snark is directed toward other people. With me, he’s a total mama’s boy. When he and I are together, the cranky fades and the love fest begins.

When he came to us as a teeny kitten in 2002, he followed me everywhere. He was my one-member fan club. I’d drape him over my shoulder like a baby and there he’d happily perch as I washed dishes, folded laundry, and kitchen-danced. Yes, we were quite the dance partners, sliding and bouncing around the linoleum to Ella Fitzgerald and the Clash. He loved it. Even now he’ll twirl with me once in a while, but his patience tends to wane after a few verses. He’s not the dancer he used to be … and really, neither am I.

When I was diagnosed with mixed connective tissue disease in 2003, he never left my side. He didn’t care that I couldn’t dress myself or was the Stay-Puft Prednisone Girl. He’d lie beside me in bed, where we watched bad TV and shared endless naps. I’d rest my palm on the warmth of his sleek black belly and he’d blissfully purr, soaking the sheet with happy drool. Yes, he’s a drooler. My family thinks it’s repulsive, but I don’t mind at all; I just position a napkin or tissue underneath his chin to catch the runoff. Someday when I’m advanced in age, I hope someone does the same for me.

Thankfully my bedridden days are few and far between, but Nurse McDrool is always on duty when I need him most.

And he’s obsessed with the bathroom. Well, I suppose he’s ultimately obsessed with the closed door that stands between him and me. Seriously, I have no recent recollection of what it’s like to visit the loo without a furry escort.

While I’m showering, he paces between the curtain and liner and bats at my lathered legs. The unexpected paw-pokes were startling at first, but now they’ve become part of our game. He whomps me and I pet him through the liner. I enjoy this, but rubbing his head through the clear plastic feels a touch bubble-boyish.

Oh, and when I’m doing my, um, “business,” he insists on sitting in my lap, purring and drooling all the while. Thank goodness for triple-ply toilet paper.

At night, Cosmo likes to burrow under the covers and press his fuzzy form flat against me. This is a bonus during Minnesota winters, but in the summer, my little heater can be a tad too toasty. Seconds after I scoot him a few inches away from me, I feel the soft touch of a paw pad against my arm. He must make physical contact with me, if only with a toe.

Honestly, the comfort of his touch helps me sleep; however, his habit of hijacking my pillow has the opposite effect. No, really … resting my head on a tiny triangle of my pillow is surprisingly comfortable! See how I use a positive affirmation to make up for the fact that I don’t have the heart to move him? I’m a total sucker, but don’t pretend you’re not. You too balance one butt cheek on the edge of a chair so you don’t have to disturb your cat, right? Don’t lie.

Ten years later and Cosmo’s unconditional love continues to bathe me in light, laughter, and a little bit of drool. He’s still my fuzz-butt nurse when my health is off-kilter, and when I feel like dancing, he humors me with a few minutes of tripping the fluorescent light fantastic at the kitchen disco. Sure, my neck is sore from sleeping on a tenth of my pillow, but necks are overrated.

I’ve even gotten used to the tandem toileting and surprise paw-swats while I’m shampooing my hair. Actually, “gotten used to” isn’t a proper term to describe my feelings about our relationship quirks. Truly, I wouldn’t know how to go about my day without our little idiosyncrasies.

Through Cosmo’s gifts of unconditional love and compassion, he’s taught me more about true friendship than any human friend. In fact, I consider him my very best friend and companion, which is high praise, because I am blessed with some pretty wonderful people in my life — none of whom, however, I allow on my lap during potty time.

Editor’s note: This post originally ran on Catladyland, Angie’s awesome website about all things cat.

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