Tomorrow, we will have been together for 6 years. I can still remember our first day together like it was yesterday. After striking out at the local shelter, I walked into the Santa Fe Petsmart, hoping they'd have a shelter kitty that was meant for me. As I approached the cat room, our eyes locked. You sat, watching the shoppers go by with your piercing green eyes, and I knew you were mine. I tried to be practical and look at each cat in the room--Chico, the fat brown cat, wanted my attention, but while he batted at my fingers through the cage, you waited patiently for me to return my attention to you. You didn't meow. You didn't bat at me. You just watched. As I was finishing up my poetry thesis at the time, I appreciated your powers of observation.
|Even after they let us interact out of the cage, you were more interested in observing than anything else.|
Your patience continued when we got home. You seemed to understand that I knew nothing about cats and as long as you had a windowsill to watch the world go by, you were happy. And watch you did: the Rough Riders motorcyclists, the people coming in (and sometimes not out) of the funeral home below our apartment, the 3 homecoming parades held that fall.
You didn't mind that I would lie under the covers giggling at night because I was nervous you'd jump onto the bed, but I didn't want to shut you out of the bedroom where you'd be alone all night--those were the days when you'd attack my toes if I moved at all during the night and I couldn't fall asleep while anticipating the pending pounce.
|You also took great pleasure in hiding under covers then.|
|And seat cushions.|
You didn't even seem to mind when I watched Marley and Me for the first (only) time and used a full box of Kleenex while blubbering about how I could never love you as much as I'd loved my first dog. (I lied.)
The shelter volunteers at Petsmart said you were a lovebug and would snuggle with me all day. (They lied.) But I have always loved you more for your independence. It makes the moments you do snuggle all the more special (which is why I always pull out the camera for a selfie op every time it happens). (Also, I get it. I really do. I hate being snuggled, too, but just like my mom will never stop hugging me, I'm never going to stop hugging you.)
|This may be our first selfie--6 months into our love affair.|
|You even got your non-cat-loving Grandma to snuggle you.|
|And Sothy kisses are my favorite.|
|Aunt L also loves your kisses.|
You've also been the best helper when it comes to grading and lesson planning. For example, you remind me that I need to take a break from work often and that naps are not wastes of time.
|It's impossible to type assignment sheets when a cat has your hand.|
And I'm sure that you thought you were improving the printer by shoving 5 hair ties inside of it until it jammed. You didn't judge me, though, when I got a wireless printer and hid it in a closet--you just found new places to store your most prized possessions.
I might not have ever thought that I'd be a crazy cat lady, but, my lovey, I think you know that I'm crazy about you. We have more in common than I'd ever have guessed.
You're persistent and don't stop until you get what you want--especially when it comes to food and I'm sure our selfie appears under the definition of hangry. I don't know how many travel coffee mugs you've broken by throwing them off the counter in fits of hungry rage. I can't even be mad about it because I want to break things when I'm hungry, too (just for the record, though, I usually refrain from giving into those destructive tendencies--you might benefit from similar self-control).
|Grandma adopted this spider plant because you weren't giving up until you ate it all.|
My favorite moments, though, are the ones when we stretch out in the sunlight on the carpet. That's been my favorite thing since I was old enough to crawl to patches of sunlight and I love that we can share that joy together (and it's something your sister will never understand).
I'm sure neither of us got what we were expecting when I took you out of the cage at Petsmart and loaded your carrier into the car, but I wouldn't trade you for the world. You've shown me that love is work and it's worth it. You've taught me patience and compassion. You've helped me overcome my germ phobia by giving me regular practice in cleaning up bodily functions (even just scooping the litter box used to make me gag and run to the toilet and now I clean it 5 times a day). I hope that I've taught you what home feels like--even if you never expected that home to be 2000 miles from where you were born or to include a crazy dog sister.
I can't imagine my world without you in it. You are my strong, independent, stubborn, handsome little man cat and my first born, and I love you more than rainbows, my boy.