I Will Never Get to Retire, 2011

tortoiseshell cat on box
A kitty's work is never done.

I sit atop this box of stuff my mom finds important in my role as Guard Tortie.

I don’t think this box goes out to someone else, I think she’s planning on doing something with it because it was upstairs for a long while, then she took it out and removed the white shirts from it, looked at them, and put them back several times. Now she’s moved it to the kitchen table along with these soft little rolled things. I have the feeling it’s on its way out to the deck for some reason because she’s been setting things up out there for the past day or two, and she’s not letting me come out with her.

I’ll never understand her, but I’ll make darned sure nothing happens to this box.

The other day, I sensed something was amiss upstairs, and when I arrived in her studio I found my mom on all fours on the floor making those loud noises that I know are the human equivalent of the Tortie War Cry, the same one she makes when she bangs her toe against a furniture. I saw that all the little colored sticks she uses on her paper, the ones she won’t let any of us even sniff, were all over the floor. I don’t understand these though I know they are dear to her but she really needed to chill, so as she crawled around on her hands and knees, I walked under her belly and did figure 8s around her arms, purring like a bumblebee, looking up at her sweetly and exploring other areas under her drawing table and desk. For some reason when I do this she tells me how sweet I am, and she quit yelling and laughed. “Cookie, you’ve got little purple and green pawprints all over the floor!” This is what I do to take care of my mom.

The next day she was still working on projects, and often she doesn’t want to let me assist her but it’s my job to tell her when she needs to take a break. She had the long table that usually hangs against the wall and the hissing hot thing she presses onto fabrics. She seemed so tired and needed a lift, I could tell. I can’t jump up onto anything and I could tell she had moved things in the room so I couldn’t get up on to that table she was working on and be there with her, but she’s only human and doesn’t know everything. I can climb and I have all day to figure it out so I started in one corner of the room and walked up and up and up onto one thing after another, a box, the stepstool, a shelf, a stack of frames to her big table, then stepped right over onto the ironing board and paraded around, very pleased with myself, waving my tail and purring loudly! She stopped for a few minutes and petted me and smiled and laughed again.

I love nothing more than to make my mom laugh. I may not be able to get around like I used to, but I will do what I can to make sure my mom stays in a good frame of mind. I don’t guess I’ll ever retire from this job, but what else would I do?

I remember this day, and the day I knocked all 1,000 of my pastels—the little colored sticks—onto the floor and broke them all, so frustrated with my studio before I tore it apart and made it into what you see today. Cookie really did make me laugh, intentionally, she always knew just what to do, and I left the pastels there on the floor and gave her lots of love, and in that moment decided that she and I needed a new studio.

And the long table and hissing thing? That was the iron and ironing board, and I was pressing iron-ons to tote bags and such for sale last summer, and I was indeed miserable, it was hot, the iron-ons weren’t working well because I’d bought cheap ones, and Cookie did indeed stand by the doorway and study all the boxes of stuff and furniture, then purposefully step from one box to another to get up to my level; it took her about ten minutes and lots of little steps up, but she got to me and made things all better.

The box she was guarding was indeed a box of t-shirts onto which I printed her and Kelly’s images, out on the deck, and the little rolled pieces of fabric were tests for different fabric types and different inks.

No, Cookie never got to retire, but I don’t think she minded working practically up to the last minute. We used every single minute we had.

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Bernadette

From health and welfare to rescue and adoption stories, advocacy and art, The Creative Cat offers both visual and verbal education and entertainment about cats for people who love cats. From catchy and creative headlines to factual articles and fictional stories, The Creative Cat provides constant entertainment and important information to people who love cats, pets and animals of all species.

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