I adopted Gatsby when he was just a month or so old. A friend of mine gave him to me after finding a litter of kittens in his yard. When he delivered Gatsby to me, he pulled this tiny furry creature right out of his sweatshirt pocket and into my hands. He was the cutest little thing, his fresh grey and white baby fuzz with the perfect goatee patch on his chin. I squealed at the sight of this tiny fuzzy babe. He became the most important thing in my life from that point forward.
I had just moved into my first apartment when Gatsby came into my life. This was 6+ years ago after I had been living as a Resident Advisor in my college dorms. It was my first real go at grown-up life and Gatsby was my first big responsibility. As the oldest of six kids and someone who loves to have people and things to take care of, I was thrilled to give this kitty all of my love and attention. He’s been my best friend ever since. He’s seen me through college, heartbreak, four jobs, three apartments, two cities.
He’s the kind of best friend who keeps you humble and isn’t afraid to call you out. I consider myself to be kind of a goof. I love giggling and don’t take myself too seriously. Sometimes when I’m dancing around my house or being silly, I feel like Gatsby is just sitting there rolling his eyes at me in his tuxedo, like, “girl what are you even doing?”
As serious as he is, he’s also super affectionate. When I’m gone all day at work and come back he greets me at the door, circles my feet, falls flat on his back waiting for belly rubs, then proceeds to yell at me asking where I’ve been in his adorable high-pitched meows. He won’t let me do anything else until he’s gotten at least 10 minutes of snuggles. He knows I need the snuggles just as much as he does.
Gatsby is always by my side when I’m home. He follows me around my apartment, helping me cook in the kitchen, reading with me on the couch, lying in bed with me, he even sits in the bathroom and waits for me while I shower. He loves to sit in the sink while I’m in the kitchen and waits patiently for me to turn on the water so that slow steady drips come out of the faucet. He will sit there under the dripping water, elegantly sipping each drip as it comes out of the faucet with his cute little tongue.
The thing Gatsby and I have most in common is that we both definitely get a little hangry when we haven’t eaten. We get sassy when we’re hungry and I will be honest, Gatsby has a dark side and can be a bit snappy and bitey at times. I’ve had a lot of people in my life tell me that I shouldn’t “have to” put up with that behavior. But, I love him so much and I genuinely feel like I rescued him. I’m not sure that Gatsby would be here today if he weren’t with me. We rescued each other. He came into my life when I needed him most and I’m so lucky to have this weirdo as my companion.
Vanessa Nemec is the over-caffeinated cat lady in black behind www.girlfriendtoast.com.