My parents have a cat whose picture I’m forbidden to post. She is (we think) a Norwegian forest cat, except that she weighs only six pounds. She’s all black, with gold eyes and long hair—and she’s half bald. There is nothing wrong with her. She’s young; she’s happy; she eats, and plays, and sleeps. She doesn’t get cold. All the vets say is that she’s just, “unfortunate.” That is their diagnosis. Her fur has departed her front legs, except for her feet, so that she looks like she’s wearing bunny slippers. She has no fur on her back legs, or her flanks, or her belly. She has a cape of it that goes from her head, across her shoulders, and in a stripe that moves down her back until it fills out her tail. She has a dust ruffle around her butt. Her name is Weegie—or La Weegie, or The Weeginatrix. But mostly we call her The Skeksi (as in those evil, bird creatures from The Dark Crystal).

These days, I sleep alone in my parents’ house, with our other cat (Tucker) and The Skeksi. She’s so light that I don’t feel her jump onto the bed. She settles on the pillow, right by my face. She lays a claw on my cheek. That’s what I feel first—a claw, and then a naked arm. And then she purrs, as if she once exchanged her hair for power over all that my room has ever held.

(Originally posted June 1, 2017)

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