When a cat begins to lose his fur, it is a very humiliating and terrible thing. He looked and felt so forlorn that he lost all appetite. And about this time it occurred to him that his housekeepers might give notice, that if he became a permanent invalid, they would no longer care to look after him. He knew how much they enjoyed stroking the top of his head and now there was nothing to stroke. And how often had he heard them exclaiming about his large green eyes, which grew marvelously dark at night and marvelously pale in the morning. Now they looked at him and said humiliating things like,
“Poor puss, he does look a sight, I must confess.”
And one day Brusque Voice said, “Nobody could love him who had not known him before. But we love him, don’t we? And we won’t abandon him.”
It was she who brought a disgusting bottle of greasy stuff with a hospital smell and rubbed it into his fur twice a day. Tom Jones was by now beyond caring and had gone into a depression so deep, that he allowed her to do this, from sheer inertia. His purring machine even creaked a good deal and it hurt him to purr because it reminded him of the days when his purrs were sheer poetry and he himself a swaggering, handsome Gentleman Cat with a white tip to his tail. Ah, he thought, taking a surreptitious look, after all I still do have the white tip to my tail. And I must not despair.
…Only a strange thing was happening little by little. He was coming to understand that even if he never got well at all, his housekeepers were now more than housekeepers, they were true friends and they would not abandon him. He was really and truly safe. They did not love him for his glossy tiger coat, nor for his white shirt front and white paws, nor for his great green eyes, no, not even for the white tip of his tail. They loved him because he was himself.
-May Sarton, The Fur Person