I recently read that cats can lower a person’s blood pressure and reduce stress. I thought it was a bunch of bunk until our tabby, Roy M. Quick, entered my life.

I have four cats. Go figure! Three of them don’t care a smidgen about what’s going on in my life. They don’t come when I call them. They stare at me from across the room until I feel uncomfortable, like I’ve done something wrong. They figure out where I’m walking and lay down right in front of me. In the dark. On the stairs.

Roy M. Quick is different. He comes when I call him and often when I don’t. We communicate. His multi-pitched meow lets me know precisely how his day is going and he listens to me even when I’m only thinking about things. He’s particularly attentive at moments I feel sad or discouraged. Roy lies on my chest, puts a paw on each side of my face and matches the rate of his cathartic breathing to mine.

Roy is task-driven as well. He helps me shave each morning. He checks the consistency of my shaving cream and the temperature of the tap water. He makes sure I never forget the plastic cap that goes back on the blade.

There’s no need for an alarm clock in my life. Roy M. Quick wakes me up in the mornings (and sometimes at night) by sticking his nose in my ear. It’s always wet and cool. And invigorating.

And when I’m losing to Sherry at chess or scrabble, with one swift swing of his tail, Roy M. Quick sends pieces flying across the table. I’m uncertain how he knows I’m losing, but I suppose the odds are in his favor.

You guessed it. My blood pressure has dropped and I feel less stressed. And I attribute it all to Roy M. Quick, one cool cat.

Update, June 15, 2016:

Five years later, 18-year-old Roy M. Quick is still my companion. He waited for me to return home from my heart attack in October of 2013. Roy still lays on my chest and listens to the beat of my heart. I tell my friends I’m a dog guy. Roy M. Quick doesn’t believe a word of it. Tik tok tik tok…