For the last four feline residents of this house, December has been the Coming Home month.
The Month of Cats began when I fell in love with a Christmas Kitten – admittedly Boboko and his sister Laptop (don’t look at me my husband named her) came to me when they were eight or nine weeks old, so in early March of the year following the Christmas on which they were both born, but they were definitely December Cats, and my beloved Boboko was a most precious Christmas gift. He was my absolute shadow, following me around everywhere I went, we knew we were meant for each other the moment I clapped eyes on this furball with four fat feet and this preposterous stump of a tail – he grew into what I called a min-Coon, a very Maine Coonish cat full of floof and a full plume like tail (I don’t know where that all came from , given what we started out with…) He was beautiul but he never played with a full deck and the joke was that his sister Laptop swiped half his tail and most of his brains while they were sharing the womb (she was as fiercely intelligent as he was dumb and sweet).
Boboko lost what remained of his tiny mind when he was only nine years old,and came toa horrible and untimely end for which I still feel guilty and griefstricken about – he trusted me to the end, and it was I who held him when the light of life left his eyes. That left us with Laptop, solo. I was inconsolable and broken hearted and it took me a year to even consider the possibility that poor Laptop might be better off with a companion and that it was maybe time to find another friend – not a replacement for Boboko, there could never be one of those, but a new little furry soul to love.
We were told to look for a young male cat as that would be best accepted/tolerated by our aging resident queen, so we finally went to the local shelter to see what they had. They introduced us to a sweet four month old kitten but aside from “cute”, which was a kitten job requirement anyway, there was zero chemistry there and the woman who was dealing with us could not help but notice that. She scooped up the cat to take him away but told us to stay put, there was someone else she wanted us to meet. She left, and returned with Blackjack.
Blackjack was the Imperfect Cat. He was an ex-street-cat feral moggy, as witnessed by the cropped ear that told of a catch-neuter-and-release history; he was also blind in one eye, congenitally, nothing battle scarred or anything like that the eye was simply dead. How he survived his childhood I will never know.. But this cat came into the meet and greet room, sat down, took a long look at the two of us, and promptly rolled over on his back presenting his stomach to be rubbed. Needless to say home he came with us… right around Christmas time. He spent a couple of days in solitary isolation as they all said needed to be done when introducing cats to each other, and he was just so GOOD. There was never noise or damage or any ill behaviour at all he simply waited it out, quietly and with serenity. I used to come downstairs where he was being housed to spend time with him and right from the beginning he was the ultimate people cat, if I was down there he was all over me like a bad rash, if there was a lap this cat was in it and purring and then I would leave him and he would simply sit down and curl his tail around his feet and wait for me to come back. I kind of fell in love with him, and he became the guardian of my soul, always ready to comfort with a gentle touch, sleeping under the blankets with me for most of his life, becoming known as the Little Emperor because he was (a) so spoiled rotten and (b) because somehow his own sweet gentle way always ended up accomplishing what he wanted. He is my sweetheart and he is my BEST boy; he had his emergencies (at one point what seemed like a small dental issue turned into SEVEN extracted teeth one of which had been abscesed to the bone, and then there was the urinary blockage that nearly ended him) but we weathered it all and he helped me out through the darkest days of my life. Many’s the time I just cried helplessly into his fur and he just sat curled up in my arms and held onto me and held my gaze with that one good green eye with a telepathic message of “whatever it takes, I am here”.
In the fulness of time, at the ripe old age of 19, I finally lost Laptop, the kitten whom I had reared since she was a scrap of cat weighing just about a pound of flesh and tiny enough to fit in my hand. Her passing was the end of an era… but in her wake I knew I wanted to indulge a long-time desire. I wanted a Maine Coon.
And so, again in December, on December 10 last year to be precise, the royal White Lady whose full august name is Mountainview Avalanche but who goes by Ava or more often AVA!NO! or sometimes (irreverently) Creampuff, arrived at my home and took up residence.
In the year that followed I took more cat pictures than I had done in three or four years that had gone before, and in the backwash of various griefs and losses the White Lady and her magnificent goofiness has made me laugh for which I am grateful. Happy Gotcha Day, Your Majesty, and I am happy that you chose to love me.
The aforementioned Creampuff turned three in November; the Little Emperor, whose precise birthday is inknown but whom I designated another Christmas kitten because that was the time of year he came to me, will be twelve this month. I know my time with him is – while not necessarily imminently over – certainly entering into deeper waters and he is a “senior cat” at his vet’s. I intend to love and treasure him all the days of his life and he and his new companion (who is literally twice his size) are fast friends and frrequently sleep in a furpile where the only way to differentiate that there are two cats there is because of the difference in their coloring.
But I do know that he will leave me some day and I dread that day. He is such a huge part of me. My consolation is that the WHite Lady still has a long and illustrious career to follow as the resident Diva of this house, and I look forward to every day I am gifted with her.
No doubt when the time comes for the Next Cat… it will be in December.