This is Taylor, who is named after the young woman who brought her to me
one cold night over two years ago, when the streets were covered with snow and ice.
She was thin and filthy dirty, her fur matted in places with oil.
Holding her was almost impossible; stiff-legged with fear, she did not
care to be held, and we both struggled, me to hold her, she to get free.
Someone had abused her because loud voices and heavy footfalls
outside my door would send her into hiding for twenty-four hours at a time.
Now, she's not gone so long after being scared and may even
respond when I call her name. If there is a noise and I tell her it's OK,
she will often stand for a moment, consider the information,
then come back to hide beneath the couch rather than inside the
I'd gotten my previous cats when they were small kittens.
Over the years we developed a vocabulary and they knew,
over time, that certain events would happen, or not,
related to whatever sounds had emanated from their human.
I could play tag with them, a version of hide-and-seek that Taylor
interprets as a threat, so that game's out. One would fetch,
the other would sit up, lie down, or leap for treats, at my request,
because, after all, you do not command a cat.
Taylor and I are a work in progress. She'll let me hold her a bit and,
when I rub my face in her fur, she smells like cookies.
Usually, she's curled up in a tight wad about six feet from wherever
I happen to be and spends a good portion of the time sleeping
beside me on the couch. We are developing our own
vocabulary, which is small, but she's telling me she likes to be
close and I am happy with that.