Last night I woke up with a shock when something very cold touched by nose. My head had slipped between the pillows, so my nose was the only part of me above bedding. Tinkerbell, one of my boyfriend's cats, was lying on my pillow with her nose touching mine. As I brought my hand up to stroke her she started purring enthusiastically, then turned her back on me when I returned my hand into the warmth of the bed.
Tinkerbell has somewhat of a reputation for being a difficult cat. The vets use big gloves to handle her, finding it amusing how feral she is with them. She's one of three cats. She spent her life growing up with two cats who were brother and sister, not from the same litter as herself. The two siblings always snuggled together. Tinkerbell was not allowed to join them. She was the loner.
When I joined the family I started talking to her with cat language. She responded immediately. My other half hadn't been aware of some of the nuances of what cat body language means. As such, no one had really 'talked' to Tinkerbell her entire life.
Last night she was trying to get close to me. Frequently, when my head is actually on the pillow, she will rest a paw on me, or even curl herself around my head. As she turned her back on me last night I realised that all she wants is someone to curl up with. This 'outdoor', 'feral' cat, just wants to be loved. I realised that she'd felt alone for ten years.
And my heart melted.