Right behind me is a certain fluffy kitty, trying to get comfortable on a freshly washed white housecoat. It’s splayed out across the bed, and Marina finally curled up after determining where the good spot is.
She also likes laying on the teal runner blanket in my living room, on a folded up towel that I’m no longer able to take out of my bedroom, on dining room chairs and under a side table. Heaven help me if I need to vacuum and sweep up the pile of hair she’s shed under that table. It may be my name on the lease, but she’s the real ruler of the roost here.
Today is the five-year adoptiversary when I brought her home. Five years ago today, I went and picked up the cat I saw online from the PetCo in Westerville. Marina’s name used to be Amelia, although her foster mom said she didn’t seem to care for the name they gave her. I decided to name her Marina because her eyes are big and blue like the water you’d see in a marina.
The foster mom said she was a shy cat, preferring to stay back in the bedroom so she wouldn’t have to be around the noise of the other animals in the house. Once I got home that day and my mom opened the door to her cat carrier, Marina took off under my bed. I didn’t want her to stay under there and be afraid of me forever, so Mom suggested reading something to her so she would get used to the sound of my voice. That night I read something – I can’t remember what it was – and she poked her head out to look at me. She spent her first Saturday under the bed, and then by Monday was exploring the apartment and trying to figure out my morning schedule.
Marina is no longer shy. She’s part Siamese and in true fashion, she’s quite talkative. I know when she’s hungry, I know when it’s time for snuggles or to watch the birds out back. I’m also told when it’s time to unmake the bed and when she wants to see where I’m at. It turns out watching me fold laundry or clean off my kitchen counters is interesting.
This little ball of fur breathes life into the apartment, and I didn’t realize how much I needed a fur baby until I brought her home that day. But in a way, this adopt-iversary is somewhat somber.
Marina’s adoption paperwork says she was born on Dec. 8, 2010. She was five when I adopted her, which is a relatively young adult cat. She’s now 10 years old, and this adopt-iversary means she has lived half of her life with me. She’s in great health, and at the same time, I can’t help but worrying about when she will start to decline with age.
Growing up, I had four cats. Three of who are no longer here, and they passed on at 12 years old from age or health-related issues. So in my brain, 12 is cemented as a the average life expectancy for cats (the obvious exception being our still-living kitty – she’s 17 years old and still a bruiser.) I keep a close eye on Marina, and even though there’s nothing going on with her that should cause me to worry, the little voice in the back of my head insists upon reminding me, Two more years.
And frankly, I’m terrified of the inevitable. Experiencing pets pass away as a child, teen and young adult is never easy, and I don’t want to imagine what my apartment or home will be like without its personality zooming around it, rolling in sunbeams by the patio or talking at the birds out front. I remember how cold and lifeless my place felt, as though someone were missing from it shortly after I moved in here.
I can’t think of what life would be like without Marina.
So turning 10 last December and leading up to today has had its moments of realization and sadness. But for the most part and most of the time, it’s also a happy reflective time.
I have a fluffy baby kitty, and no matter how old she gets, she’ll never stop being the fluffy baby kitty.
And Marina has known and will always know a life of love and attention and peace. She’ll always know her mom completely loves her and will spoil her rotten, and make sure her life is always happy and comfortable.
You know, I originally started writing this expecting something one hundred percent sunny and feel-good, with no mention of my own worries. But you know what? Everything I feel is part of having a pet, and five years with an affectionate, protective (she checks on me throughout the night) and vivacious “fur kid” has been a ball. Even when she steals the water from my plastic cup or forgets to kick the litter back over her latest bathroom trip.
So today’s a short post. It’s about time to close my blinds and Marina is going to eventually let me know it’s time to unmake my bed. For those of you who have pets at home – make sure you spend time with them and cuddle the stuffings out of them. I’ve often heard our pets think we’re the world to them, but really, I think it’s the other way around.
Oh, and as a final plug: if you’re thinking about bringing a pet home, adopt – don’t shop.
Yours in writing and cat motherhood,