The ever-delightful Suzy is hosting Show and Tell this week and I decided to hop on board because, well, I'm still stuck at home and it sounded like fun. I was also moved by her story of her first fur-baby, so I decided to share mine.
After college when I moved into my first apartment of my very own my mom's friend wanted to give me a housewarming gift, but she couldn't decide what to get. A few days earlier her son had dropped off a cat for her since he was moving and couldn't bring the cat. Well, my mom's friend wasn't getting any joy from this cat who stayed hidden and wouldn't show himself. I went over to visit and while I was still in the entryway the cat came out of hiding and began walking around me and weaving himself between my feet. When I looked up my mom's friend was standing there holding all of the cat's belongings, at which point she wished me a happy housewarming.
That's the story of how Bill became my cat. Yup, his name was Bill. But, I had many nicknames for him: Sir William Whitesocks, Bill E. Kitty, or Billy.
Billy was only truly affectionate with me, sitting on me, sleeping on and with me, purring, and kneading his paws. He didn't much like it when people would come over, and he would seldom even show himself if a male entered the place. It was typical of him to sit with his back to people, as if to show his total disdain for them.
This went on for years (like, 13 of them!) . . . until Brian came along. The very first time that Brian came over Billy immediately sat right next to him on the couch, and within minutes was sitting on his chest purring and kneading his paws. This continued until Brian was ready to leave. I can't really blame Brian for leaving, for by that time his eyes were all red and puffy and watery since he's allergic to cats.
Brian was the first boyfriend that Billy ever accepted, and things continued on happily over the next several months. During this time Billy slowly started losing weight. He'd always been a chubby cat, so this hadn't really been a concern. Right after Brian and I were engaged Billy started having other, shall we say, intestinal and elimination issues. I took him to the vet and found that he had lost 1/3 of his body weight at the vet was very concern. An x-ray and blood work revealed no cause for his troubles and medication provided no relief. An expensive trip to a specialist and much more invasive testing was going to be required. I just couldn't do that to Billy and knew that even if the testing did reveal something I was still going to have a very sick 14 year old cat. I decided that it was time to say good bye. Over the next few days I fed him a steady diet of canned tuna and ice cream and he was one pretty happy kitty, though still sick. I cried buckets and Brian was really very tolerant during this time and was quite understanding. It tore him up to see me like this.
I felt very guilty that Billy had been losing weight for a while and that I hadn't taken notice earlier since I was so busy with Brian. I would wake up in the middle of the night just crying, and keep Brian awake for hours. We had to leave social events early because I would start crying. Brian told me many times that Billy had taken care of me for many years, until Brian had come along, and now Billy knew that Brian would take over so it was ok for Billy to move on.
And even after all of this, Brian still wanted to marry me. I still have Billy's collar and tags. They are on a stuffed cat that looks just like him. I have this, as well as a framed picture of him on a book shelf in our room. Andy often tries to play with "kitty", but I won't let him.
After we were married and moved to Arizona we decided to get a puppy. We knew we wanted kids one day, and figured that this would be a good place to start. We picked a beagle breeder on the other side of the Valley who had a six week old litter and went for a visit. Two weeks later we had Molly. The rest of the story about Molly will have to wait for another time.