I had no idea what to expect when I adopted you. Never having grown up with pets – unless you count goldfish and a hamster – I was as naïve as they come.
You looked depressed in your cage the day I saw you at Petco. When they placed you in my arms you didn’t put up a flight and flopped right into them. A handsome green-eyed Tabby of uncertain origin, named after the neighborhood where he was found.
You were the perfect lap cat (or so I thought). Having just broken up with a boy, I was looking to be comforted. I needed some kitty snuggling. Being depressed, I figured a depressed cat was the perfect match.
To say I was in for a surprise would be putting it mildly. I’d barely closed the apartment door and opened the carrier when you jettisoned yourself out of it and flew around the apartment. I don’t think you stopped moving for weeks I’d been duped.
I recall coming home from work exhausted and you’d “hide” behind the ottoman expectantly, waiting for me to throw mice for you to “catch.” I did this diligently every evening – because you were so darn cute – with a large glass of red wine in hand. If nothing else, it gave me no time to wallow. Perhaps this was part of some master plan.
You gave me the experiences I hear people with children speak about. You opened my eyes to the wonder of little things. The fascinating movements a cap from a juice bottle made when batted around, the inexplicable beast (my foot) under the sheets that must be “killed.” Even the adorable way you closed your eyes when crunching on a treat.
You’ve always been a one-cat social committee (CAT-mittee?), running to the door greeting friends and strangers alike. Let’s face it, you’re a bit of a slut – or maybe just needy – accepting scratches from the superintendent, UPS man, and even rubbing up against an unsuspecting cereal box if need be. If I’m lucky, I may get my hand in there from time-to-time. Truth be told, it’s one of the things I love about you – how excited you get and trusting you are by the appearance of a new arrival.
Despite your social side, you’re a very perceptive kitty (the other cat are truly rather clueless). After coming home from a hospital procedure, I remember my Mother recounting incredulously that you stood on-guard at the head of the chaise lounge on which I slept, for over an hour. Never leaving to use the litter box or grab a snack.
When I cried over silly boys or was sick in bed you knew just what to do. Plastering your entire body against mine. And staying there for as long I as needed you – or until hunger won out. As the number of cats in our home grew, you naturally took on the role of the caretaker, always ready to give anyone willing (or not) a tongue bathing.
Even now, should one of your plumper siblings stick their head in you food, your only reaction is to back away and look up at me with your big eyes, pleading, waiting to be rescued (Mama’s boy!). Your gentleness in these situations is one of the things I adore about you, and you certainly didn’t get it from me – it must be from your father’s side. Sometimes though, I wish you’d just give them the paw – one good smack on the head so they’d leave you alone. Stand up for yourself Kipper!
The older you’ve gotten, the more loving and cuddly you’ve become. The years have flown by and you’re close to twelve now, officially a senior. It’s a mixed blessing. While I cherish it, as it’s what I always wanted, Kippie the lap-cat. You’re getting thinner and I’m remembering something I failed to consider when I adopted you.
I let you into my home and eventually my heart. A unique little soul and was more than ready to care for you and reap the rewards. But by doing this, I opened myself up for inevitable loss and pain in the future.
How did this not dawn on me that day at Petco? You swept off my feet my handsome Tabby. I was giddy at the thought of you. Isn’t that the way it goes?
I can’t fathom coming to a home absent of greeting me with your gorgeous excited self and eager head-butts. You are my greatest comfort, my sweet, gentle little man. I’m crying just writing this I was fortunate to have you as my first cat. You were always so patient with me. Others told me how lucky I was but I only now understand.
You will always be my first. My handsome green-eyed Tabby boy. No one can ever take that away. Thank you for letting me be your “mom” Kipper. I love you with all my heart and soul. I can only hope I’ve done right by you.
Breed: Rescue Tabby
Tamar Arslanian of I HAVE CAT, Single in the City with Cats