This Is What My Grandparents Taught Me About Caring For My Cat

My poppy, a Russian Jew, really taught me how to take care of my cat. I take care of my cat like he took care of his wife of 500 years, my nanny. They had emigrated from Russia in the 1900s. In the US of A, they mostly lived in Brooklyn, where my nanny had gone charmingly insane at times. There are a lot of family stories about her.

To me, she wasn’t insane at all, just my lovable, loud-mouthed nanny with a wonderful accent that I couldn’t understand sometimes but felt in my heart. You know poppy was taking good care of her because she had a fur coat and a smooth face, probably from treats, I thought. Nanny was always in a good mood to me, I thought as well, and while I don’t have enough memories of nanny, a home video shows her boisterously singing a Russian folk song in Yiddish, making lovey-dovey eyes at whomever was holding the camera with preternatural celebrity professionalism.

Poppy was a team with my nanny. He was always on the same page with her. Probably the thing that has stuck with me the most about how my poppy treated my nanny so nicely was that in line with the culture of Russian Jews at the time, he was always buying her things. They didn’t have a lot of money, but he made it count. I’ll never forget when a jewelry commercial came on TV and he said gruffly in a low voice to her, “You want it? I buy it for you.”

Such is the way with me and my cat. There’s not a lot to do during commercial breaks anyway. But every time a commercial comes on TV, I promise the product to my cat. “You want it? I buy it for you,” I say. I try to do his Russian accent mixed with a cat voice.

Today was no exception. My cat loves the mornings and daytime TV. It’s when she gets all her missing-yous out from the long night before, when my door is closed because otherwise she’ll just spend all night licking my face.

An animated unicorn toy? “You want it? I buy it for you.” The Montefiore Einstein Cancer Center is in New York City, and in addition to its researchers finding that BCG therapy lowered risk for Alzheimer’s, they have also found a way to reattach a unicorn’s horn. In this commercial, a little girl hails a taxi to said hospital and a doctor of an unknown race accepts her ill toy unicorn in loving arms. The unicorn undergoes surgery from 50 doctors, so I guess too many cooks don’t spoil the broth here. Upon a bill of good health, the unicorn toy dances in the hospital hallway. My cat deserves all these things and more, including the tender hand, or paw, holding.

Managing moderate to severe Crohn’s Disease? “You want it, I buy it for you.” Humira will help my cat from feeling like she can’t be there for people. In this commercial, a man takes his daughter window shopping and then they get a food treat. He lifts her up off the ground, much to her childish glee. I want all of these things for my cat. I just have to ask her vet if Humira is right for her. There is also hand holding in this commercial.

A stay at a Disney resort hotel? “You want it? I buy it for you.” The advertisement opens like a car commercial. I would like to buy my cat that car, for starters. That’s when a magical Dumbo swoops in. How much for the Dumbo? I joke. It doesn’t matter. I want this for my cat as well. I want the wide eyes from the car, before we take even one step into the Disney resort hotel, I want the friendly and reciprocated waves from the Disney hotel staff, I want the pools with mystical lighting. Gondolas would suit my cat so nicely. Let’s start planning our Disney vacation, eh, kitty?

Give my dogs the treats they deserve? “You want it? I buy it for you.” My cat needs the best, and the best apparently is Blue dog treats, and it doesn’t matter to either of us if it was originally intended for a dog. Why shouldn’t my cat look as happy as that yellow lab? I will take her to PetSmart and we will buy three and get one free. Maybe we will buy more. Blue offers dog health bars, and healthy is what my cat shall be.

Make our holidays shine bright with a New York Lottery ticket? “You want it? I buy it for you.” All the metaphors about light? My cat is the biggest light in my life. Moreover, her winning the lottery would mean me being able to buy even more things for her. Yes, she will live to be a very old cat, with a very smooth face. She already has the fur coat.