When the world seems to be spinning out of control in ever more frightening ways and I have to ugly-cry for a while, I feel especially grateful for Trudy. Trudy, a calico cat, is closing in on sixteen years old and has lived with me for three of them. The family she came from named her “toothbrush,” (yes, really) — “toothy” for short — so I renamed her “Trudy” because it sounds close enough.
It’s easy to make Trudy happy because she asks for so little and seems content with a very simple life. Yet even within her daily routine, she can be unpredictable which is one of the things I love about cats. For example: her night time sleeping spot. At first it was my big futon in the living room. Then it was on a pillow next to me. In the fall and winter she sometimes preferred sleeping next to the heater all night which I would leave on for her. But now, suddenly, it’s on top of a box.
I moved into my apartment over two years ago and there are still a couple of rows of big boxes in my bedroom stacked against the wall. (Yes, really.) They’re filled with personal stuff I hardly ever use or look at — old letters and a few school notebooks, jewelry, blank journals, cute little soaps and tubes of exotic hand lotions purloined from hotel rooms as souvenirs, a miniature checkers set from my dad who passed away just over three years ago (there’s a little drawer for the checker pegs built into the playing board), some very old one-dollar coins my grandfather gave me — that kind of stuff. What’s the point of unpacking it all so it can collect dust? That’s my rationale. One box on the bottom row is where Trudy has decided to settle.
I took a big fluffy towel and folded it twice — four layers — for her ladyship’s comfort. The picture here doesn’t begin to convey how cute she looks when she’s washing herself or dozing there. I can’t say why I love it that of the probably ten possible sleeping places I have for her in my apartment (including a plush cat bed she’s never used once), this is the spot she suddenly selected.
Trudy LOVES heat. I bought a radiant heater on wheels from Target just for her because I knew the air vents in the walls, two feet up from the floor, would be useless from her point of view. When I returned from a trip once, my cat sitter observed, “She’s very faithful to the heater.” Yes, indeed. She’ll spend hours snoozing on the floor right next to it. Then when I kneel down to give her a kiss and some love, her little tummy with the baby-soft fur is SO warm from that heater. Oh my goodness, what a soft and warm little tummy.
When I notice sunshine on the window ledges, or sun puddles on the floor in the living room, I say, “Trudy! You’ve got some sunshine out here!!” She saunters out, takes a gander, and jumps up on to the window ledge to bask there. She doesn’t realize that for me, she is a form of sunshine — a miraculous kind of sunshine that feeds my soul in ways I can probably never articulate properly. Yes, really.