Clara the Cat isn’t perfect, but she’s just what I need

Clara likes watching me type on my computer late at night.

I’ll admit it — I’m a Cat Lady. I have just one cat, but I love her and spoil her as if she were my kid.

For the past three years, Clara the Cat been there. Whenever I come home after a long day at work, she greets me, silently meowing from behind panes of glass. Clara usually falls asleep shortly after I get home, but I still like knowing she’s there. She makes the apartment feel less empty, and makes me feel more whole. When you live alone, you grow to rely on your pet for company, and comfort.

Clara’s not perfect. She meows a lot and pulls at my hair when I’m trying to sleep. She sheds all over my apartment and breaks my blinds. And she sleeps on the kitchen table, despite my repeated attempts to get her to stay off it.

But still, she’s a keeper.

I couldn’t help but feel bad when I was out of town for her 3rd birthday earlier this month. I had asked someone to feed her, but he forgot, meaning Clara was left alone for four days with no one to celebrate with. Poor kitty. Usually on her birthday, I give her wet food and blow up some balloons for her to play with. Then I take a bunch of photos of her. (I know, some of you might be rolling your eyes by now. But hey, I warned you I’m a Cat Lady!)

One of my favorite food bloggers, Joy Wilson, recently threw a little birthday party for her cat Jules. She made him a tuna “birthday cake” and tied a yellow bow around his neck. She also created “Cat Land” for him, giving him full access to his favorite toys — headphones, an earring, toilet paper …

Headphones would also be on Clara’s list of favorite toys. She’s eaten her way through three pairs. Her other favorite toy is “Da Bird” — a feather on a string. Pretty simple concept, but highly entertaining nonetheless. My laptop would also be among Clara’s favorite toys. Whenever I’m typing, she sits alongside me and places her paws in front of the keyboard. Sometimes, she’ll walk across it. Whenever there’s a typo in my blog posts, I blame her.

She’s here with me now as I’m writing this post, occasionally hitting the keys. She’s keeping me company in her imperfect way, making me realize that even when I’m home alone, there’s really no need to feel lonely.

Published by Mallary Tenore Tarpley

Mallary is a mom of two young kiddos -- Madelyn and Tucker. Mallary absolutely loves being a mom and often writes about the need to find harmony when juggling motherhood and work. Mallary is the Assistant Director of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at the University of Texas at Austin, where she manages the Center's various programs related to distance learning, freedom of expression, and digital journalism. Previously, she was Executive Director of Images & Voices of Hope and Managing Editor of The Poynter Institute’s media news site, Mallary grew up outside of Boston and graduated from Providence College in Rhode Island. In 2015, she received a certificate in nonprofit management from Duke University. She now lives in beautiful Austin, Texas, with her kids, husband Troy and cat Clara. She's working on a memoir, slowly but surely. You can reach her at

2 thoughts on “Clara the Cat isn’t perfect, but she’s just what I need

    1. Aw, thanks Joy! I’m so glad you came across the post. Have I mentioned that I’m a (BIG) fan of your blog? I love the honesty in your writing, and the way you really let your voice shine through. Oh yeah, and your recipes are pretty awesome, too. 🙂

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