When the musical Cats premiered in Toronto I was probably about nineteen or so and I was desperate to see it. Can you imagine being a cat lover all your life and then there is a show just about cats who talk and dance…for adults? I wondered to myself who was this Webber guy, and thought what a genius he must be. A nice man named George asked me to go on a date with him and I said yes, BUT only if he got tickets to cats (good grief where did I get the cheek). I don’t remember that much about the show all these years later mostly just fantastically coloured costumes and lots of acrobatics, but I do, as I’m sure everyone does, remember Grizabella. She is the very old cat who is “withered by her age to the point that she no longer resembles the proud, carefree, flamboyant dancer of her youth”. The other cats tease her and shoo her away, but at the end of the show she is chosen to be reborn and of course sings Memories while everyone in the theatre sobs.
I now live with a real life Grizabella. At almost nineteen, Molly is a very old cat; her coat is graying and despite my best efforts continuously forms mats, she is slow and shaky on her paws and I know that one day in the not too distant future she will leave us and be reborn. But until that time, her heart is still strong and she still greets us with chirps and coos and lovingly sits between us in bed dispensing affection. She still sleeps on my pillow and at 3:00 in the morning her purring sounds like a freight train running through our bedroom. When I am sick she still stays by my side until I am well and she is still the best cuddler of the bunch. She still engages with us and has quality of life. In spite of the foibles of age I think she is happy and I think she likes her life. I’m certainly glad she has been a part of my life all these years!
“If you touch me you’ll understand what happiness is, look a new day has begun…”