It’s Moss’ First Birthday!!!
Birthdays are always special, but after all he’s been through, this one feels particularly dear.
I wrote this long-form poem, which is more like a journal entry, in October last year, right after Moss had completed recovery from his invasive gastro surgery. He’d ingested a bunch of string that perforated his stomach lining and got close to his kidneys. After a nerve-wracking night of surgery, and a thankfully successful recovery, he’d had his stitches removed and his belly was still growing back all his hair. He was out of the woods at last, and I was treasuring his safety and health, wanting to appreciate every tiny, seemingly insignificant moment.
So please forgive me for the following sappiness! Happy Birthday, Mossling! Here’s to many more!
The morning brings a new day filled with early meetings and long hours. But you, my kitten are sprawled out on my tummy, eyes wide, letting me move your soft paws to the music.
Then you attack me with tiny teeth and (thankfully) newly-trimmed claws. But your bites are so gentle, trained from playing with your sisters. That is until you kick your feet and really dig in. Only the pain makes me want to stop your play.
How is it, one so tiny, that in your room free of string, you’re a whirling dervish, the sounds of bells and mysterious thuds to be heard throughout the house. But when I bring you out to watch TV with me, held to my chest to keep you from getting into any more trouble, you become a fuzzy living toy. You hardly struggle against my protective hold, which slackens as I scratch your cheeks and between your ears. You want to crawl into the couch cushions but you’re so easily diverted with a readjustment and a snuggle.
You sprawl out like a proper longcat, paws akimbo, looking upside down at your big sister on the floor below, who looks back at you with an unreadable stare, save for deep throated growls and stubby tail flicks. It’s as if she forgot what kittenhood was like. She was once as content to sit in my lap or be kept in one place as you are now, accepting pets and snuggles for licks in return. But she’s like a child that grew up and forgot how to fly, though to me she’ll always be that little, warm kitten asleep in my lap.
Because of her, and because you are, frankly, too liberal with your kitty lives, I know this sweet cuddly time is precious. If you’re a very good boy and keep yourself healthy, one day you’ll get so old that you won’t want me to hold you for hours on end. You’ll be independent, and won’t want to be held and played with, unless it’s on your terms.
Tonight I would trade the promise of pay to stay here all night with you snuggled on my chest, to bottle this moment forever, to keep you like you are right now: safe, snuggly and unbearably sweet.