Coco was a sable Burmese cat suffering from old age and two very large and energetic dogs in the house. She lived in a cozy spot above the dryer in the laundry closet and was content to hideaway there on most days. Visitors barely even noticed there was a cat in the house. We met her by contract. She came with the house my husband and I were about to rent from a friend. As explained she was very old and a move might kill her, so we had to rent the property with her in it or not at all. (I had a cat once; she ran away after six months never to be found again.) We decided to take the place.
Shortly after moving in Coco realized the dogs were gone and she had run of the place once again. She slowly began exploring the house and grounds, every day venturing further away from the closet. I took care of her as if she were my own child. She began a new life and life was good. Coco explored the back yard, chasing lizards and butterflies. She ate heartily, played with her toys and slept on the computer when I used it. If I should sleep late, she would scratch on the bedroom door and meow until I got up. She would meow and lead me to her bowl or meow to lead me to the sliding door that led to the back yard. She became very vocal, letting me know her every wants and needs. I marveled at this old cat who seemed to be renewed in mind, body and spirit. The cat that hid in the laundry closet was gone and a new young and vibrant one was in her place.
While Coco’s life began again, mine started to fall apart. My husband and I began disagreeing about everything and anything. It was a major overseas move for us and while he thought that quitting his new job was not a big deal, I disagreed. We needed every penny. Suddenly our life was in disarray, bills started to fall behind, I was stressed out and my husband, well he lived as he always had, like a jet setter. His efforts to get another job became less and less every day. My mother-in-law tired of his antics, cut him off, but for my sake bought us groceries here and there. He was not pulling his weight and it was seriously affecting our marriage. I was very depressed and very annoyed that things were not going as well as expected. Feeling extremely alone in my new marriage and strangely detached from my surroundings, I took comfort in the daily love and attention Coco handed me on a silver platter.
I made sure her needs were met before mine and she appreciated it in special her way. I think most people think cats are selfish but not this beautiful sable Burmese. She handed me free therapy every day by waking me up to go outside with her or to feed her or to scratch her neck. She made me get out of bed and get dressed, she kept me busy so that I wouldn’t wallow in self pity and she loved me unconditionally.
April 1 was a beautiful day that year. I remember thinking this must be an April fool’s joke because my husband and I spent the day intensely arguing and slamming doors. He left to cool off and I retreated to the bedroom to drown myself in a box of tissue. One for getting married and two for losing control. I felt very stupid and used. Coco came into the room with that quiet smooth gait that cats are famous for and jumped up on the bed. She walked straight up to my chest, positioned herself with one paw on either side of my neck and snuggled. I hugged her back and cried and cried and poured all my sorrows out to her. When I finally let go, I thought she would run for dear life, but she didn’t. She sat next to me on the bed beckoning me to continue. Somehow, Coco sensed that I needed her and I needed to vent. She was willing to listen. Her eyes were like glass staring at me and I felt she could see into my soul. I was hypnotized by her. I just sat there talking and talking and talking.
I spoke about things that I had long held inside and she meowed in a melody I can only describe as comforting. She would pause as to let me absorb her guidance and then start meowing again. Careful not to interrupt me, she spoke only when I stopped speaking, each time touching my arm gently with her paw. I told her about the worries I had, the pain that I was suffering from and all the things that I was missing in life. I felt trapped in a bad dream with no way of escaping. I was a scared stranger in a foreign country and my life line with whom I pledged to honor and obey was not playing his role as a husband. To this day I am not sure if I understood what happened but with every meow, somehow, I understood what had to be done. The solution was clear. My burdens seemed to lift and float away as I came to the realization that I was holding on to a dream. I felt like a new person, enlighten so to speak. I left my husband two days later; smiling as I climbed over the rubble of the walls of my self-imposed prison of a marriage.
Arrangements were made for Coco to live at a friend’s house. She was not bothered by the move at all and lived there happily without looking back; so did I. That Spring, I learned a lot from Coco and her love was the best therapy a girl could ask for. Je t'aime, mon petit chat.