My grandmother has an awful cat. She picked up the cat from a shelter back when she was still living in her own home. With her children long gone, her husband passed, and little time to take care of a dog, it was no surprise that my grandmother greeted me at her door one day with a squirming ball of fur that she called “Buffy.”
Buffy hisses, she bites, she jumps up on furniture always – including surfaces meant for preparing or serving food, which naturally leads to constant, thorough scrubbings. She hates being pet, picked up, or otherwise bothered by anyone but my grandmother, and even then her presumed owner is given a short leash. My grandmother always laughed when Buffy walked through a Scrabble game or knocked holiday cards off of the fireplace mantle. We quickly learned that Buffy had license to do what my brother and I as babies would have swiftly been punished for, and learned to accept that my grandmother would never see her lengthy list of faults.
Pet owners, myself included, notoriously project their own emotional states or wants onto the actions of their animals, and my grandmother was no exception. She loved Buffy, Buffy loved her – at least, from my grandmother’s perspective there was love returned – and any word otherwise was quickly dismissed.