Dear Abbie,

First of all, I’d like to assure you that, no matter what I might have ever said, you are in no danger of being asked to leave the apartment. I understand that this might not be the best news for you. I presume you miss the old house, where you could run outside and roll in the grass, nipping at flowers and chasing butterflies and mice. I presume that when I moved you into this apartment as my unwitting roommate it was a bit of a blow to be forced to make that kind of adjustment. I’ve seen you gazing out the window here, through which you only see buses and treetops and hardly any grass or fellow cats.

Don’t think I haven’t tried to make things better for you than they are. You know that wheat grass you occasionally nibble? I only got that in case you ever had an upset stomach and craved grass. I spent a lot of money on a nice scratching post, just so you would be somewhat entertained when I’m not around. I play with you, feed you, give you toys, rearrange the furniture to give you new things to explore. I accept the fact that I always go through the day covered in cat hair, just because it’s more important to make sure you get a hug when you need one. I do it all for you, Abbie. And I know you’re a cat and you didn’t ask for this lifestyle. I know you didn’t ask for me, just as I didn’t ask for you. If you remember, which I doubt you do, we were given to each other by a mutual friend. Like an accidental pregnancy to a pro-lifer, I accepted your presence as divine intervention. I vowed that you’d forever be a part of my life. And I’ve done my best to take care of you, but, Abbie, sometimes you need to try to take care of yourself, too. And, like a strict Christian mother who might have otherwise had an abortion, I admit that I sometimes resent you a bit.

For instance, who pays the bills to keep the heater running, the lights on, the music playing, the food fresh, and the litter box changed? It’s me. While you’re lying around the apartment, bored, staring out the window, playing with your toy mouse, or sleeping, I’m out slaving away for us. And in return, yes, you give me entertainment and affection. Right now, here you are, lying in my lap, shedding and being cute and purring. I appreciate that, Abbie. These are the moments we share that I really treasure.

But then there are the moments where you reach up with your cute little paw and swat something on my face. Is it an odd hair? A pimple you want to catch? I don’t know, but you scratch me! You scratch the face of the person that feeds you! Why, Abbie? I’m always nice to you.

And then there’s the way you sometimes treat our guests. I know, maybe they feel like my guests and not yours. But I’ve observed too much of your behavior, and too many people have told me about how you bite their toes at night when they sleep over, and I’ve seen you attack their drawstrings, or their shoelaces, or their dreadlocks. People don’t like being attacked, Abbie. If you want to get along in this world, you’re going to have to understand that.

Cats, dogs, rats, and all of you animals who survived by evolving through the dregs of the human race need to understand that your survival is based upon your ability to get along with us. When you refuse to cover up your poop in the litter box and I can smell it from the next room, perhaps you are trying to send me the message that I need to change the litter. But sometimes I see quite clearly that you could have just covered it up and thus controlled the smell for both of us. We’re in this together, Abbie. And it’s very sweet the way you like to lick my chest and neck, but a lot of the time it feels like you’re trying to be intrusive, or territorial.

I’m happy to be here for you, Abbie. I’m happy to share a home with you and feed and entertain you. You are a great friend. But I want to start seeing a bit more mutual respect. I know you are a cat and all, but I think you could really stand to examine your life a bit. Next time I go out, I’ll leave the computer on. Maybe you’ll choose to start browsing the classifieds for a job or a boyfriend or something. I know you’re spayed, but you can still have fun, right? I’d really like to see you try to get out more. Maybe find yourself a life outside these walls.

But I know that takes a while. I’ll leave the shades open, so you can keep looking out the window. I’m sorry, Abbie. I don’t know what I did wrong, exactly, but I’m sorry if it’s my fault you miss being able to play in the yard. But we’re still young. We’re going many places from here. Please, keep your spirits up.

Now wait, look! Where’s the mouse? Get it! Get the mouse, Abbie!

Sincerely, your friend,
Libby Black