A year ago today, you were poised on the edge of a new life. You were officially mine, but not yet in my house – that would happen the following morning. but this time last year I was lovingly preparing the way for you – the room where you would be for the first days in a new place, as custom demanded, with a brand new cat bed specifically bought with you in mind, your own bowl, toys set aside and waiting for you, for my Maine Coon kitten (you were barely two years old) to come and claim as yours.

You were delivered to my house by the woman who received you into her hands when you were born and loved you a great deal. You came with bags of stuff, a large bag of kibble, more toys, treats you liked, all of it pressed into my hands  before she left with tears in her eyes after I promised I would love you and protect you and care for you and worship you and that I would take many many photos and let her know how you were doing.

this was one of the first photos I took of you on that day, after I got you out from under my bed and into your room; you were skittish and frightened and upset and I had to beg you to eat (hah, these days you howl for your breakfast every morning…)

I couldn’t believe how beautiful you were, and that you were now officially mine – I leafed through your pedigree (lengthy) and your certificates of achievements (grand champion, no less…) – you would never be a “Show cat” again but you would remain showstopping, and every time I have taken you to your vet since then (twice now one for your intro visit and one for an annual checkup) we’ve had the techs scutting for phones to take pictures of you. they call you my “princess”.

these are among my favourite photos of you, my beauty:

You left your room quicker than I expected and became best buds with your housemate

You came with the name of Avalanche and boy was that the truth. But it was a mouthful and you go by Ava or more frequently AVA!NO!  Your buddy had nicknames, so you accreted your own to match him – where he was the Little Emperor, you were the White Lady; where he was Muffinface, you were Creampuff. You are gorgeous, majestic, chatty, VERY food motivated (if I am in the kitchen that means Cats Get Treats, right?), playful, curious, the world’s biggest goofball, and yes, my princess.

We’ve been together a year now and I love you SO MUCH. 2023 was only the culmination of a couple of dark years of deep personal losses and grief, but you have brought love and laughter into my life since you’ve come to live in my house, and I am grateful for that, and I feel privileged that you have been entrusted to me to care for. Happy Gotcha Day, my baby girl.