Thursday, December 21, 2006

Say hello to my leetle friend

This little girl is an eight-month-old Russian Blue. Ty and I are watching her while her parents are on vacation. Isn't she sweet?

She is soft, playful, affectionate, beautiful. We simply adore her. On her very first day with us, she climbed into my lap to snuggle, purring all the while, and closing her gorgeous green eyes to show her contentment. She is as trusting as a baby, and has every reason to be. She went straight from her mother's bosom to a loving home. She has never been cold, or hungry, or abandoned. She has never been in a fight. With the minor exception of a few vaccinations and the Great Water Spray Bottle of Discipline, nothing bad has ever happened to her. We are crazy about her. She is everything one hopes for in a cat; the very pet I would have custom-ordered.

Yet, as I stroke her and coo at her, I can't help but be reminded of someone else. A very different kitty.

He was big and orange and strong. Appearance-wise, he bore almost no trace of his past, of cold, hungry nights, and alleycat scuttles. The one exception was his uneven pupils--for a long time, the sole physical manifestation of the illness that eventually killed him, the illness he most likely contracted when he himself was just a baby. A baby thrown out of his home, left to fend for himself on city streets that would be rough on a human man.

Somehow, he kept himself going. He charmed himself into my husband's life, into his home. When I came on the scene, he made it clear that he would not be pushed aside. Privately, he hunted and stalked and bit and scratched me. He made me work for his love like I'd never worked for anyone's love before. Then, one day, he simply crawled into my lap as if I were his nursing mother, and had been all along. I had no idea what he was doing--those sharp claws rhythmically kneading at my flesh--but I knew instinctively that I had broken through, that this was a good thing. I talked to him. He talked back to me.

I was with him when he took the first of his many labored breaths. I caught him when he first stumbled and veered to the side. I carried him to the vet, who took him in a back room and called for a "handler." A few moments later, I looked up to see a bouncer-sized man entering a room, fresh gashes on his arm. When I was finally allowed to bring him home, he stopped fighting. He sat and looked at me, weary from the effort of fighting and protecting himself his whole life. I knew then that he was almost done.

I was with him when he died, three years ago now. I still cry from missing him. He is the pet I never thought I'd love; a rambunctious, aggressive male who won the affection of someone who'd only ever parented a tranquil female.

He taught me tremendous things about being open to possibilities, and about finding love where you least expect it.


Blogger mamatulip said...

Have I ever told you I'm a serious cat person?

This post has me teary...

4:44 PM  
Anonymous wordgirl said...

I love this little kitty in the picture, but I can completely understand your love for the other one. Sometimes love is so surprising!

5:23 PM  
Blogger V-Grrrl said...

Adopted a second cat three weeks ago--a kitten who had been abandoned in a trash can at five weeks, eyes so infected they were swollen shut, body surrounded by maggots.

He is solid black, sleek and happy and had his first vaccinations today. We supposedly got him for my son but I'm completely IN LOVE, just as I am with our old girl cat, Amy.

Enjoy your sweet visitor...

12:49 PM  
Blogger Tink said...

Sometimes it's the ones you have to work for the hardest that you appreciate the most. When I got Duff he was so awful I told myself (every day) that I had to find him a new home. He would bite (I'd bite back), run away, tear things apart. And then... I finally broke through. Now I get COMPLIMENTED on how sweet he is. He would do anything for me.

4:39 PM  
Blogger Mignon said...

V-Grrrl, your comment is going to give me nightmares.

Arabella, those ears are awesome. And the story of your lost friend was too.

10:43 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Harridan said...

Awww, old Mr. Jasper. He was obviously a very special boy.

That Russian Blue is one pretty cat. Do I sense a kitty adoption in your future? You are a very natural cat person, and they LOVE you. Of course, cat + twin infant boys = insanity ...

3:17 PM  
Blogger DebbieDoesLife said...

Good Lord! You made me cry. I loved your ode to your first kitty and love the pics of that adorable baby you are taking care of.

9:00 PM  
Anonymous cm said...

the emma show(right mouse click, save as, open in itunes.)

11:03 PM  

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