This title may be misleading, because I adore my cats. As I write about them often, I feel as if I should give a formal introduction, as they will play into some of the tales I tell. Part 1 will introduce you to my baby girl, Hisashii.
Hisashii is the first addition to my small household. Joining me in 2006 at the estimated age of 1 year, she sort of picked me out of the crowd.
I had gone to the shelter with the intention of bringing home someone to love. It had been nearly 3 years since my last cat had died (Priscilla, a small, feisty Siamese–also adopted) and it took me a long time to mourn her. A woman took me around the shelter, from room to room. Felines were abound, running, jumping, looking out the window in their cage-free environment… but I had not been approached. When we entered the new arrivals room, a small, caged area with cats from the floor to well-above my head, I stood and looked at all the sad little feline faces…
Just then–a tap on my leg.
I looked down to see this little white paw flailing at me. I crouched to the floor to see a small, fluffy gray-and-white girl looking up at me with wide green eyes.
I was smitten.
Her backstory made my chest ache: She’d been one of many cats surrendered from a hoarder. When she was brought in, her long fur was filled with fleas, her ears tormented by mites, and–on top of all that–she was pregnant. All of her litter died from her malnutrition. I bent down, took her out of her cage, and sat on the tile floor. The little fluffy one sat right in my lap, head-butting me for affection. My heart swelled as I buried my face in her soft fur.
“I’ll take her,” I said.
Although I couldn’t bring her home that day, as she needed to be spayed before adoption, I agreed to come back a week later, on February 18th–the day after my 25th birthday. It tore at my chest to put her back in her cage, and the look of heartbreaking betrayal on her face didn’t help. It was a long, hard wait as I remembered how comforting and blissful it felt having a cat on my lap once again.
When I arrived at opening on the 18th, I told the receptionist who I was and that I was here for my baby girl. The smiling woman’s face faltered, and I was somberly led into a private room. Alarmed, my heart thundered in my chest. Reluctantly I sat in one of the chairs, my eyes darting around the room, not focusing on anything.
Two women entered, one whose face was streaked with tears. My heart silenced in horror as I thought, Oh my God, my cat is dead. One of the women took my hand and looked me in the eyes, her tone gentle.
“Victoria, there was a problem yesterday… the spay went fine, but you remember asking that the cat not be declawed?”
I thought back to the previous week. Someone had asked if I would like the procedure to be done at the time of the spay. I knew though that it was a horrific practice, and I said no. The lady wrote in large red letters, DO NOT DECLAW, on her clipboard.
“Yes,” I said, not sure where this was going.
The crying lady broke out, “Well, they did it to that poor little kitty. I’m… so… sorry!”
“Oh!” My heart regained rhythm while I mulled over what she said.
“All four paws declawed?”
“No, just the front… do you still want her?”
“Well, of course I still want her! What a thing to say! I love her already.”
Both ladies then were in tears. “We are so sorry this happened. Not a lot of people choose to not declaw their cat, and we had someone say it wasn’t necessary to do, and the fact that they did it anyway… it’s so upsetting to us.”
“I know it is painful for her and I wish it hadn’t been done, but honestly, I thought you were going to tell me she was dead. So I’m really just relieved she’s not.”
And so I took her home. She wasn’t in the greatest state, as she had been spayed and–quite sadly–declawed the day before. I like to think that I rescued her that day, but in reality, the sadness I had been in for a long time ebbed away that day. She is my little cuddle-dud. Even at this moment she is rolling around on my lap as I tap away on the keyboard.
She is a little older now, and spends much of her time sleeping or watching birds from the window. In my bedroom, the windowsill is right in front of a gigantic bush filled with sparrows. When I am on the couch, she spends quite a bit of time on my lap. This is especially welcome when I am watching my Chicago sports teams.
And yes, she can be a little terror. But for the most part, she is even-tempered and docile. She still makes me girly-squee with her adorableness on a daily basis.
Chillin’ while watching the Chicago Blackhawks.
Unimpressed with the Chicago Bears.
Praying the Blackhawks make it to the Stanley Cup Final.
Next time: meet Echo.