The Cat in the Laundry Room

My parents have a cat that I cleverly named “Dipstick”, due to her solid blackness with a white-tipped tail.

This cat was born at our house in the laundry room which is an exterior room off the garage. With a washer and dryer in there, it was always warm and with the garage door closed, wild animals weren’t a concern, so it was a safe spot to birth and raise a litter of kittens.

Dipstick was the runt of the lot and was born not breathing. My father was watching over the natural progression of things and quickly swooped in, as naturally, this would have been that for that kitten. He held it upside down and pumped its chest, and fluid poured out, and it started mewing.

We’ve always had multiple cats wandering around the house, and we’ve let them decide if they wanted to be indoor or outdoor cats. We’ve had some cats that would only go outside once a week or so (and less than that in the winter), and some cats that stayed completely outside, only swinging by to eat.

Dipstick was a cat that lived in limbo, not really an indoor nor an outdoor cat, instead deciding to live entirely in the same laundry room she was born in. So where she could have a warm house to sleep in, or dozens of wooded acres to wander through, she has instead decided to spend her entire existence in a 48 square foot room.

Dipstick is now approaching 12 or 13 years old. This cat has spent all but a few minutes per day in this crowded little room. This makes me sad on some level, as she’ll pass on eventually within a few feet of where she was born, but she doesn’t seem to be in bad spirits at all about it, and she knows both what the inside and the outside holds, and she’s chosen her lot.

I’m not sure why I think so much of this cat when I’m home. Now that I’m only coming home once a year or so, things are always slightly different and off from the last time I visited, but that black cat with the white-tipped tail is always curled up in the same spot she’s literally spent her entire life in and that kind of constancy is reassuring, especially when my own travels have taken me very far away from home.