This weekend we celebrated my cat’s 18th birthday.
18 long years.
When my dog, Scottie, passed on, my mom did what is common in the usual throw away society.. It’s just a pet dear.. look there’s tons to choose from! She took me to the movies, and then the pet store nearby. I had my heart set on a chinchilla, but since my mom had no idea what they are, and they look every bit the rodent, my mom and I settled on a little mewling tortoiseshell kitten. I named her Precious.
Precious was my first cat. She was quiet and just kind of sat there.. My mom realized someone was wrong with the kitten and we took her to the vet after only having her less than 2 days. Precious never made it back from the vet. Her and her little mates had all inherited a genetic disease and they all had died within a week of being sold.
I lost two pets in the span of a week.. I was heartbroken.
The pet store let us pick out a new kitten of our choice. By that time there were three separate litters that had been dropped off and I had first choice of them all. I didn’t really look at any but another tortoiseshell. But with 5 of them to be chosen I had no idea which one I REALLY picked. We went to lunch while their vet checked out the litters. When I came back the attendant asked me which tortoiseshell I had picked…. Um…. She lifted a few up, then reached for one who seemed like the world had pissed her off. She was such the opposite of Precious. She was fiesty, and loud! I loved her.
I named her Miss Ellen after the attendant that was so nice… apparently.. I really don’t remember a thing about her…
And if you can believe she almost didn’t make it either.. She came home so flea infested that she became anemic and had to spend a few day at the vet (on the pet shop’s dime)
When she did get home she wasn’t very playful, but ate a lot and was active.
Miss Ellen would let no one but me pet her. She hissed at anyone and anything that came within striking distance. Where ever I would sit she would soon lay next to me.
I grew up with her almost always at my side.
She hated my husband, and if she wasn’t so old she probably still would lol. She dominated our bed and would attack him in the middle of the night on occasion. When he was out to sea she would sprawl on his side of the bed, often rubbing all over it as if trying to lay claim.
By the time I had my first son she was 9 years old. I worried constantly about how Miss Ellen would fare with him.
She loved on my son like she loved on me. She would lay near him and if someone she didn’t know would go near him, she’d hiss and howl. I even got lectured by a “Birth to 3” instructor that I was horrible for even letting my son sleep in a room with the cat was in..My cat is going to smother him since he smells like milk.. I tried pointing out my son was formula fed but apparently that doesn’t matter.. last appointment I ever had with that lady…
Miss Ellen let my son manhandle her.. Carry her around like a rag doll with no complaint. Even I didn’t get that privilege.
We eventually moved into our house that we live in now. Miss Ellen has lost her sight over the years. She stays in my room and only comes out to get some water and to see what scraps the kids are willing to give her at dinner time..
She has learned to tolerate my husband who now seems to be getting his comeuppance. He carries her around and reminds her of the days when she was big bad meanie.. but always gives her some sort of treat for the ordeal.
She waits patiently for me to come to bed and with a loud vibrant purr she gets what 5-10 minutes of attention I’m capable of giving before passing out. I feel guilty, but even then I’m usually so exhausted throughout my day that I get angry that I “just can’t go to bed” Then I remember that my time with Ellen is running out. And as she has been my personal confidant in my teen years I bite my lip.. apologize and give her the 5-10 minutes she’s asking for.
Now she’s 18.. Can’t hold her bowels so she’s peeing all over my floor. Which without complaint (but a lot from my husband) I clean up often. Although she’s blind and deaf she can navigate where she wants to go with little issue. The fighting spirit she had as a kitten is still alive to this day..
I am not niave. I know that this will probably the last birthday she gets to celebrate. It feels like when she does pass away, I will have no live link to my childhood anymore.