Sometimes, when I’m sitting in my living room, my cat Malcolm will jump up into my lap. He sits there, cleaning himself for 20 or 30 minutes, then lays down to go to sleep. It’s at this point that I usually need to get up and pee. So I pick the cat up and set him aside, and he looks at me, as if to say “the hell’s wrong with you?”

I tell him “What’s wrong with me? You’ve been asleep for four hours.” But he doesn’t know what ‘four’ is, or an ‘hour,’ plus he can’t understand me anyway, and if he could, he probably wouldn’t believe me. So I’ve done nothing to assuage my guilt, and it seems like the relationship between me and my cat deteriorates a little more.

Then I sit back down, Malcolm jumps into my lap, and the cycle begins anew. But does he remember these things? Is he marking these instances down in some mental cat-ledger? What happens when I cross the limit? Is my life in danger?

And why do I have to pee so much?

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