Ghost Cats

I had just turned into a sleeping position when the cat jumped up on the bed.

I could feel the soft impact, feel each paw as it explored the duvet for its own perfect place to lie, and then the solid sense of a cat settling down to sleep beside me.

I don’t have a cat.

I did, at one time, have five cats, but slowly their number was whittled down until my last cat died in bed with me one New Year’s Eve a few years back.

But I don’t think it’s the ghosts of those cats that come to curl up on my bed. Or if it is, it is just one of several visitors I’ve had over the years. Even when I had cats, I would sometimes feel the presence of one turning ‘round at the foot of my bed, making a nest for itself in the comforter, but when I would turn to welcome it, there was nothing there.

Even now, when I know there can be no cat on my bed, I very often raise my head and look, just to be certain. Kind of like the feeling you can sometimes get, looking in the bathroom mirror, that there is someone behind you, and even though you are a grown woman of a certain age, you still feel the need to check for vampires.

I’ve had a few run-ins with panic attacks and other nervous ailments (how 19th century of me, right?) over the years, and have finally gotten them under control with a little pill called Escitalopram. But it hasn’t done away with the ghost cats. They don’t bother me – not nearly as much as the sudden need to check for vampires – but I am curious.

Still and all, I hesitate to mention them to my doctor. For one thing, I don’t think I want to get rid of them. For another, I’m a little nervous about bringing it up.

Doctor: “Is there anything else, Barbara?”
Me: “What do you know about ghost cats?”

I’m not really ready for that conversation.