I Swear This Is Not a Column About My Dead Cat


This is not a dead pet column. Honest. The bar for a dead pet column should be quite high. If every American writer spun prose when their pets died, readers would be left with nothing else. Who would be available to write a take about what Selena Gomez whispered to Taylor Swift at the Golden Globes? Who would make sense of our night terrors over artificial intelligence, winter storms and Boeing 737 Max 9s?

So, I promise, this is not a dead pet column.

My cat died over the weekend. We think she was 18, an elderly, wildly chubby tabby with nary a problem in the world. This Rubenesque lady lived long and left peacefully, the best any creature can hope for.

Here is a short history of her presence: A dozen years ago, I bought a house with a partner. Then we broke up. Then my dog died. (I did not write a dead dog column. Shower me with praise for such restraint.)

You're narrowing your eyes and thinking: This sounds like a dead pet column. And I can see how you would think that!

Anyway, I found myself alone in a big, creaky house, and after several months I missed having a furry weirdo perceive me. I was not ready for another dog, but a cat? I'd never had a cat. Never wanted a cat. Never gave cats a thought. Maybe the New Me was a cat person?


I told some friends I was half-thinking of a cat. They happened to be moving and needed to ... offload a cat.

We made a date. They brought over the cat, Maya, so we could sample each other's personalities. Over lasagna, we resembled a stock photo titled "Laughing Over Wine While Auditioning Cat." The cat ignored us. At some point, we acknowledged that the cat would stay. Who auditions a cat?

Maya's energy was giving off Landed Gentry. Not quite royal, but the beneficiary of enough generational fortune that she didn't have to work. My now-husband gave her the honorary title of The Countess, which morphed over time into her name. I do not think that cats care or even know what their names are, not like dogs do, but I look forward to your emails to the contrary.

OK, you're impatient. You're saying, if this is not a dead pet column, what is it?


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