I am lucky enough to have two boisterous boy cats in my life, very different in personality but equally lovable. Funnily enough though, my role as cat lady began when I was ten. I even have proof in the form of an embarrassing but hilarious snapshot. My mother took me to a portrait studio with my cat Pharaoh aka “Kitty” an adopted sphinx mix. I had donned an oversized tie dye tee while Kitty rocked strings of plastic pearls. Even mom can’t remember why we chose such an odd motif. Kitty was my angel, but passed away from a heart issue my first week of high school. He was only 4 years old.
Growing up it was just me, my mother and anywhere between four and six loud, yappy dogs. After losing Kitty my mom could tell that there was a hole in my heart without a feline companion, so she reached out to the local animal shelter where she volunteered. We met a foster litter of seven kittens all with cheesy names starting with the letter L. I knew I wanted a long-haired “teddy bear” of a cat, and in the litter there were only two kittens with long hair–Lorenzo and his brother Luca. Luca seemed more popular among his littermates while Lorenzo, the fluffiest of the bunch, immediately gravitated toward me. Lorenzo chose me. He stole my heart and I renamed him Teddy Bear because he was as cozy as a stuffed animal. I was sixteen at the time, and now Ted is fourteen–almost as old as I was when I adopted him. I think the half a dozen overzealous terriers we had growing up caused Ted to become a little timid in nature, but after all of these years he remains remarkably healthy and unconditionally loving.
I met my husband about five years ago and was delighted when he said he had a cat, too. Hobbes was over a year old when Ted and I moved in. I don’t know if it was because of his former situation, where he had to stand up for himself against a big dog or because he was in his rowdy toddler age, but Hobbes decided to bully Ted and me mercilessly. It was vicious but also kind of amusing. Chasing us at full speed down a narrow corridor was just one of his many pranks. It was obvious he needed attention–he was a big, fat, bored boy.
Over the years, Hobbes became increasingly affectionate and endearing, but when we had to make a big sudden move to our current apartment his health plummeted. I assumed he was stressed from all the packing, but then he stopped eating completely. We rushed him to the vet only to find out that his liver was failing. The vet wanted to put him down the very day we were moving but my husband was brokenhearted and wanted to give his first pet one more chance. Hobbes had a feeding tube inserted, and I hand fed him myself for almost a month until he began to come around. Ever since his brush with death, Hobbes has become fiercely loyal to me, and it goes to show that the love you put into caring for a cat is returned in spades.
Ted and Hobbes never became model siblings, but they both deeply enjoy being in my orbit after a long day at work. When I take a seat on the couch ted will curl up by my neck, and Hobbes will plop down into his favorite chair, both watching over me. There is no company quite like that of a cat.