This is my cat.
His name is Westin.
This is my chair.
Well, it was my chair.
Now it’s Westin’s.
My kitty has purloined my favorite seat and turned it into a stuffing-shredded mess. I find no appealing esthetic in the now-exposed wood or raked fabric. The fact that he picked a piece of furniture smack in the middle of the living room is especially galling. That he pretty much ignores the rest of the furniture is peculiar.
Then again, Westin has always been an odd beast. The story goes that he was found abandoned in a hotel room with 29 other cats. He was practically bald from illness and allergies, and though the folks at the Humane Society originally thought it might be kinder to euthanize him, they did not. After months at the shelter — and long after all the other cats had found homes — Westin’s picture appeared in the local paper. His adoption fee had dropped to 20 bucks, a sign that a needle was in his near future.
Despite a vivid description of the costs we faced, we took Westin home. After my foster son’s pronouncement that Westin was just like him — because no one had wanted him either — really, was there any other option?
That Westin is one expensive cat is a given. Three days after he came to live with us, he ruptured an eardrum and was unable to walk or eat for ten days. Every morning, I expected to encounter a dead kitty sprawled on the carpet. But Westin is one tough feline.
Over the last several years, Westin has traveled to the vet so many times I’ve asked for a personal parking spot with his name on it. I always decline the offer of an itemized bill, because why would I want to know? I just hand over my American Express card and look away.
Westin is not a pretty cat. Black with gold eyes and a soft white belly. There’s a slight tilt to his head, a residual of his damaged ear. But, oh, the charm. He oozes charisma, planting himself squarely in the nearest lap and offering head bumps wherever he goes. Maybe that’s why, despite his health problems, the doctors at the shelter didn’t put Westin down.
“Nice chair,” my sweetie pie commented one recent evening as we shared a beer.
I rubbed the raw armrest. “Maybe I should get a new one.”
“Why? Then he’ll just destroy a new chair.”
Right. But, I struggle with lack of order. I can’t read the newspaper or eat dinner if there’s a crooked picture on the wall. I have to straighten it so life can go back to normal.
Note that our current predicament is not completely Westin’s fault. While the other kitties can go outside, he cannot. Westin is deaf, so inside he must remain.
I picked at the stray bits of fabric and stared around my living room, a place filled with things I’ve lovingly gathered on my adventures. The ragged chair amidst all the objects I’ve placed with such care bugs me.
But Ryan is right.
So, whenever you come to visit, be warned and don’t judge me when you see those stray bits of stuffing popping out of Westin’s chair.
You’ll just have to get used to it.
And so will I.
Blank Slate Press/Amphorae Publishing Group
Price: $16.95 Paperback, $9.99 eBook
As a Vietnam veteran and former Special Forces sniper descends into the throes of mental illness, he latches onto a lonely pregnant teenager and a group of Pentecostal zealots – the Children of Light – who have been waiting over thirty years in the Arizona desert for Armageddon. When the Amtrak Sunset Limited, a passenger train en route to Los Angeles, is derailed in their midst in a deadly act of sabotage, their lives are thrown into turmoil. As the search for the saboteurs heats up, the authorities uncover more questions than answers. And then the girl vanishes. As the sniper struggles to maintain his sanity, a child is about to be born in the wilderness.