A Letter to My Cat

By Maranda Bennett on March 17, 2017

Dear Sylvester,

Hi there, old boy. I know it’s been a while since you last saw me, and you’re probably worried. Or maybe you’re not. I’m actually not sure if you’re even capable of distinguishing me from other humans. Most of the time you seem to oscillate between tripping hard and being coked out of your mind. I would love to see the world through your eyes — I bet it’s like you’re living in a black and white kaleidoscope. Or maybe you can see color. I’m still not really sure.

Anyways, I just want to say, I’m sorry. I’m sorry for packing up and leaving you in that house full of dogs with no warning or explanation. You know how sometimes “nature calls” before you can get to your litter box, and there’s nothing you or any of us can really do except break out the Resolve and take care of it? Well, nature called for me. There comes a time in approximately 79 percent of American teenagers’ lives when they have to say their farewells and hit the road. Except, before I shipped out, I never took the time to say goodbye to you. I think you were off killing mice somewhere, and you wouldn’t have been able to understand me, anyway. But that’s no excuse.

I Skyped with my family a few times (it’s a human thing, don’t ask), and they told me you were acting out. Just little things: scratching up the furniture, lashing out when people tried to pet you, meowing incessantly at the door and then running off when someone opened it. I understand you’re a teenager in human years, and things can get rough around that time, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel somewhat responsible. After all, the behaviors started after I left. Maybe you felt insecure and afraid, maybe you were experiencing some kind of deep-seated but misguided guilt, or maybe you were just trying to heal your damaged self-esteem. Whatever the case, I want to tell you something now, and I want you to believe me when I say this: you are important to me, and I love you.

It’s not just leaving you in the first place that I want to apologize for. Four months later, I did something even worse: I came back. It was winter break, and the air was crisp and sweet with the mingled scents of cinnamon, evergreen, and Little Debbie Holiday Snack Cakes. I burst through the front door, each hand gripping a wildly oversized suitcase, and my eyes immediately searched the room for you. I couldn’t rotate my body because of the suitcases, but my head did like a 180° scan. Then I saw you, creeping out from under the sofa, looking somehow older, embittered, and yet more vulnerable than ever. At first, you seemed not to recognize me, but then I saw that old, familiar light slowly come back into your eyes, and you sidled up to me and rubbed against my leg just like old times.

That was a beautiful month. But all good things must come to an end, and history repeats itself, as they say. Jackass that I am, I gave you hope, and then I snatched it away. In late January, I left again. I hope but doubt that it was a clean break this time. I can only imagine what I’ll find the next time I come back to you, you poor, broken, twice-abandoned creature. I must be making a psychological mess of your furry little head. You can’t read this letter — hell, your lack of opposable thumbs prevents you from even being able to hold it — but this is the only way I have to make amends. Just know that I really do care about you, and I’m doing the best I can.

Sincerely, affectionately, remorsefully,

Maranda

P.S. I finally saw Cats on Broadway. You’re not missing anything.

Maranda is an NYU student with a passion for reading and writing. She is originally from Arkansas and enjoys long walks on the beach and narrowly avoiding getting hit by bicycles. Her other interests include classical music, movies, traveling, and drawing.

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