Malcolm, Old Friend

Malcolm never saw a pile of laundry he didn't want to sleep on.  Now he can't make the jump onto the bed.

Malcolm never saw a pile of laundry he didn't want to sleep on. Now the poor old guy can't make the jump onto the bed.

I’m the woman always wearing a sprinkling of cat hair.  Sometimes I take the lint roller to my clothes, but usually I don’t even notice the hair. 

I miss not finding Malcolm, our cat, lying on a pile of my not-yet-folded laundry. Yes, it used to irritate me a little, but he looked so adorable as he slept, shedding his lovely orange hair on my clean clothes.  He could be in the middle of a nap somewhere, hear the dryer door open, and be on my bed in a flash, ready to settle onto warm towels and clothing.  A dark load of black pants and shirts.  Perfect!  If he got there too late, even a cold sock or two would do as a foundation for a nice snooze. 

Just this year, he couldn’t make the jump.  He fell back onto the floor with an undignified thump.  He mewls pitifully now that he can’t get to his favorite napping spot, so I place him on the bed. I set the dark clothes aside, of course.

We brought Malcolm home sixteen years ago from Wayside Waifs, an animal haven.  My daughter chose Malcolm, because he was slightly fluffier than his sister, Sophie.  We should have taken her, too.

We knew nothing about cats, except that they seemed to be easier to take care of than dogs.  He came with worms, fleas and ear mites, but we managed to quickly get rid of all of the pests and felt proud of ourselves. 

Young Malcolm was like a rocket in our house, flying and leaping.  We couldn’t keep him from the counters.  He knocked plants over.  We learned about hair balls.  We discovered that cats can eat too much and then vomit.  Sometimes, if he was upset, he decided not to use his cat box.  We wondered what we’d signed up for.  It’s hard to remember that now when we see him waddling slowly around the house, a paragon of almost perfect cat behavior.  We have two younger cats, who remind us of how Malcolm used to be. 

No one appreciates Christmas morning more than Malcolm, who rustles in the torn paper and bats and chases the ribbons.  Malcolm has always liked to be held — or at least tolerated it very well — but he is much sweeter now.  He used to bolt at the sound of the doorbell and disappear when we had guests.  Some people didn’t even know we had a cat.  (Unless they were allergic….)  Now he seeks out anyone who visits and endures the tough love of children.

I could easily be one of those dotty old women who talks to cats, because Malcolm does talk back. He likes to sleep next to me, but that’s only been in the last two years.  Sad that he came to this so late, because now it’s a rare night he can leap onto the bed. He lies on the floor next to the bed, crying to be lifted to his spot.  Then he snores.

Last year, he lost a lot of weight.  It scared me.   Even the veterinarian was alarmed.  But after a change in food, he was quickly back to his plump self again.  I hug him tighter now.  He’s only a cat, but I can’t bear to think of losing him.


Filed under Cats, Family, Humor, Life, Personal, Pets

8 responses to “Malcolm, Old Friend

  1. Bella O.

    That was the most beautiful description of a cat I’ve ever read. I feel like I’ve known Malcom all my life. You show me what he’s like in you’re description, and he seems like the most lovable cat! I’m a cat lover, too. I have a black cat named Jack. He’s lovable, too. You really should pursue a career in writing. You’re amazing!!!! Visit my site and leave a comment! (


  2. leila

    He’s not just a cat; he’s part of your family, and he’s lucky to have somebody like you who cares so much. If only more cats could be so lucky.

    He’s gorgeous and looks like a sweetheart.


  3. alwaysjan

    What a beautifully written piece. You know I’m SO not a cat person, but you made Malcolm sound almost dog-like in his perfection! Old friends are the best, don’t you think?


  4. Catherine Sherman

    Old friends ARE the best! You know I was inspired to get Malcolm because of how loveable Wily was. Yes, Wily was a dog, but I never held that against him, ha, ha! I loved how he jumped up and down, as if he were on springs, whenever he was excited, which was often. He lived life to the fullest.


  5. ES

    I loved your post. Malcom is an adorable cat. Give him a hug from me.


  6. Catherine Sherman

    I gave Malcolm a great big hug for you, Elisse. He purred contentedly and settled into another nap.


  7. Pingback: Dog People vs. Cat People « planetjan

  8. Elliott

    Hi….that was a nice story. I have a cat of 17 yrs. and he has the same problems…the process has been the same too. I have found an answer though…just recently. There is a company that makes these ramps for cats (dogs too). And they make them specifically for geriatrics….cats 17 or older.

    Their website explains that the idea came from a cat they had for 22 yrs. Now…the stuff ain’t cheap. My purchase was $250 for a ramp that allows them to get on a bed unassisted. But, they are big pieces…the ramp can’t be steep so it has to be long. And they are nice looking.

    I don’t have the name of the company but I do have the phone number……it’s not MY number…this IS legitimate. The number is 603-668-7387. Somewhere up northeast. They are very understanding and courteous and make ramps for chairs, couches…and will custom design them. I know my cat, Malcolm, will be happier when I get his ramp. So will yours.

    Jackson, MS


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