By Cassandra Larsen
I feel a bit blessed, we live in the bottom apartment of the house I grew up in. This apartment was the residence of the woman who owned the place. When we moved in it had been 4 years since her passing and close to 10 years since the passing of her cat, a massive orange tomcat named Monrico. After he died we would have scratches develop on the walls at cat stretch height, visitors would see him out of the corner of their eyes and sometimes when you were laying on a couch you would get a massive weight on your chest and the intense odor of Fancy Feast (chicken and fish with jelly, that is NOT a smell you forget) blown into your face. The woman experienced a stroke a year or so after Monrico died and when I would visit I would see her in her bed with him around her feet. She knew he was there, I knew he was there and I knew that if I sat near her feet, he would scratch the heck out of my back like he did when he was alive.
I have encounters between myself, Phalen and the woman but this piece is about Phalen and Monrico.
I did not tell my husband or son about the cat when we moved in. Did not share that after the cat’s passing I would see him around the house, all three apartments. Our first night in the place we heard noises, the scritch of a cat in a litter box then the thudthudthud of an animal running pell mell from the back room to the front of the house and back again a few times. He asked me if a stray might have gotten in the house and I responded with a chuckling no. He turned on every light in the house just before the noises started up again, as the sound passed us there was a thump and our ‘timeout’ stool went up on one leg and then down with a clatter. The noises stopped for night.
Next morning Phalen is laughing in his crib, he seems to be playing with something that I could see but my husband could not. I asked Phalen who he was playing with and he said “big big kitty meow”. I asked him what color, he said ‘olange’. He played with Monrico all day, would sit in his highchair petting the air while he ate his meals. Then play chase, back and forth along the same path shouting “kitty kitty KITTY!” then he stopped mid run and looked at me, confused “kitty gone”.
Phalen tells me most of the time when he sees Monrico, once or twice a month. Has told his grandparents and gotten very mad at them when they asked if his not real kitty is coming to play. He has also ‘introduced’ Monrico to Rowan and Ronan, his twin little brothers, since they started ‘playing’ with the noncorporeal cat a few months ago. Phalen came into the nursery where they were playing kitty chase, he shouted “Kitty is back!” and all three of them, and the glinting eyes of a cat (on our video monitor) played for hours.
Sometimes when the boys are asleep and I’m up alone I sit on the bed and read, I feel the bed jostle and heavy footprints make their way across the down comforter and a large kittyloaf dent settles next to me. It makes me laugh, our lease says no furred pets and yet we have a cat.