Until Theo, I had only one other cat in my life. His name was Socks and he lived with me and my mom in the Bronx before she passed away. I remember waking up in the middle of the night and crawling around the house with Socks in the hopes he would think I was a cat as well. After my mom passed away in 1995 I moved in with my other family members and I actually never saw Socks again, which made me really sad because as an only child, Socks was very much my first best friend.
After Socks, I didn’t live in a cat home or with cats. I was taught that all cats were mean and untrustworthy so I deemed myself “not a cat person” growing up. I believe because my aunt who raised me had a bad cat experience before I was born. I came to love cats again when I met my husband. His family had two cats (sisters) and he was known amongst our friends as a “Cat Man”. He took care of those cats, fed them and changed their litter and spent the most time with them. I made fun of him a lot for his unashamed love for his cats, but noticed it was also one of the first qualities that attracted me to him.
After we dated for a few years, one of his cats passed away from cancer and on Valentine’s Day in 2015 he asked me to come with him to find another cat to adopt because his cat seemed sad without her sister. His family asked us to find a kitten, so we went to several shelters, but had little luck as they said February wasn’t kitten season yet. Finally, we went to one last shelter, and that’s when I saw Theo, and it was honestly love at first sight.He was huddled in a cage with his sister and I can’t really describe the immediate love I felt for him. I couldn’t leave his sister there so we adopted both Rudy & Theo that day. Once Kyle and I moved in together, we took the cats as well because I was so close to them. Rudy now lives with my husband’s family again as she grew to want to live in a single-cat household.
Theo tries to drink tub water no matter how much fresh water we give him. He also refuses to sleep in a cat bed. He will only sleep in bed with us or in a cardboard box. He will also try to eat plastic if we don’t feed him exactly on schedule.
When Theo is hungry, especially in the morning, he does this passive aggressive thing where he tries to block you from getting ready until you feed him. If I’m doing my makeup he will lay right outside the bathroom waiting for me to leave so he can plead his case. If we are getting dressed he will panic and start to meow at us from in front of the closet as if he thinks we are going to forget to feed him. But once you feed him, he will take a few bites, walk over to where you’re sitting and give you a single meow and then go back to his food. We think he’s saying “Thank you”.
The bond I have with Theo is so special to me. He is talkative and extremely affectionate. When one of us leaves the house, Theo cries, and when either of us returns, he will actually start meowing when we are still about a block away. When he starts meowing and running to the door that is what lets me know my husband is still about 5 minutes away, it’s absolutely incredible. Theo has truly taught me the meaning of innocence, true unconditional love, and persistence. He also reminds me of my childhood. The other night Theo came to my side of the bed in the middle of the night asking to cuddle with me (he always asks first before jumping in the bed) and I cried, because in that moment I had a flashback, and saw my best friend Socks, and realized more than anything, Theo taught me I have a best friend in him as well.
Ryan Norville is a creative and multimedia designer. With a rich background in diverse fields, her professional journey has taken her into web design, fashion and product styling, photography, brand development, art direction, social media management and calligraphy.
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