I’m Angel. I’m a big fluffy orange girl kitty who’s been living with my mom n Jackie for, hm… mom, how long? Three n a half years now. Mom said I could use her blog to tell my story. And Mom’s going to fix up my spelling so hyoomins can read it more easily. This is me:
Mom and Jackie and Mom’s mom were all renting a house together. They had kitties inside, but they were putting food out on the porch every night for the strays.
I ran away from where I was before. They fed me, sure, but they did things that were mean to me a lot. I was an adult, but not very old, Mom and the vet thought about a year or so, which I guess is close enough. I wandered around and got hungry, and I found the food at Mom’s house. I ate there that night, and I went back the next night. Mom and her family saw me, and convinced me to come inside. Mom put me upstairs in the room she used as an office. There was cat food and water there already, a couple of inches off the floor on the lower level of a table, but I was terrified, I couldn’t go on the furniture, I was sure someone would punish me! Mom put it on the floor for me and I started eating like crazy. Then I found a nice dark safe spot under a chair and went to sleep.
For the next couple of days, Mom spent lots of time in her office with me. She sat on the floor and let me come to her, and she petted me so gently, and she didn’t mind that I kept getting anxious about food and running back for a bite to eat every minute or two and then coming back for more pettings. There were other kitties in the house, they sniffed around the door, and Trick, he’s my best friend now, kept sticking his paw under the door at me.
Mom said she put up posters that she’d found me, in case someone was missing me, even though she wasn’t so sure that was a good idea given how scared I was all the time. Mom knew pretty quick that I wasn’t just scared because I’d had a couple of rough days and was still shaken up, but that I was scared because people had been mean to me a lot before that.
Mom told people later that no one answered the posters, but that isn’t what really happened. Someone did answer: two overdressed girls barely in their teens if that, and their mom. I knew them and didn’t like them. Mom let them take me, but I knew it upset her a lot. She told them that if they were going to let me out I should have a collar, and they said my ruff wouldn’t look as pretty then. They didn’t have a carrier, so Mom offered to lend them hers, but they said they could carry me. Ha! Several blocks, including across a busy street? Right. Sure enough, they lost me and had to go back and ask Mom to call them if I showed up again.
I was scared but I got hungry and that evening came to get food. Mom came out and talked to me. I wasn’t sure what to do and stayed out of her reach, but finally, I had to choose. There was a dark space under a porch where Mom couldn’t have reached me, I could’ve gotten away for good, or there was Mom. I chose to let Mom catch me, and she hugged me carefully and took me back in the house and promised to look after me forever and keep me safe. I never saw those other humans again.
Mom finally let me out of the room, after a few days, and let me meet the other cats. The boys were okay, but the one other female really didn’t like me at all. She lives with Mom’s mom anyway, and we moved a couple of months later, and there was enough space in the house that we mostly avoided each other.
I was still scared, though. Noises, or being on furniture, or jumping up in windowsills, or brooms, or, oh, lots of things. The first time I just could not keep from bringing up a furball, Mom was right there, and I was so terrified, I kept watching her and trying to choke it back down. Mom just sat down and talked quietly to me, and when I couldn’t stop the furball, she just cleaned it up and didn’t get mad at me at all. I heard her tell Jackie a bit later that she’d never seen a cat look so frightened of something so simple. I can’t help getting furballs, I have a lot of fur you know! Sometimes I still try not to bring them up, but no one ever yells at me now, so it’s not so bad when I do.
I have this, well, thing… I hold sweaters in my teeth and knead at them with my front paws and it makes me feel like a little kitten again with my kitty-mom. My eyes go closed and I purr so loud Mom once said I woke her up from eight feet away. Sometimes I drag the sweaters around to the spot that I want. Ones that smell a lot like Mom or Jackie are best. I used to get scared when someone noticed me, but no one minds. Sometimes now I even drag the sweaters so I can be close to Mom or Jackie when I do it, and they just wait until I’m done and then give me cuddles. I don’t do it as often now, except that I do it more often if something is making me nervous, like noises outside or something.
I even climb up on furniture now! Mom and Jackie praised me and petted me and gave me treats every time I tried something new, and now, I’m not scared even to jump up on top of the tall bookshelf, although the boys get annoyed at me because they thought that was their private space. I sleep on the bed during the day sometimes, and I sleep on Mom’s pillow for part of the night some nights, or on the pillow in between Mom’s and Jackie’s that they keep there for me. I love Jackie, but she wears this noisy mask thing to bed and I don’t like being that close to it, even though I’m not scared of it.
I still get anxious about food sometimes, even though Mom always makes sure that we eat well. If the crunchy food bowl gets low, well, I used to get all freaked out, but now, I just sit by it and wait to get Mom’s attention so she’ll fill it for me.
I even enjoy outdoors now, as long as it’s on our balcony, because I know I’m safe there. And when people come to visit, I don’t run and hide anymore, I come check them out, and if they seem nice, I even let them pet me. People are always telling me what a beautiful kitty I am.
Mom thinks I’m most beautiful when I’m being brave, though. I like lying in wait for the boys and swatting them or jumping out at them and making them take off running. Mom laughs like crazy when I’m chasing a string, or wrestling with my favourite mouse and throwing it around the bed and pouncing on it and bunny-kicking it. When I want cuddles, I can almost always have them, and when Mom and Jackie aren’t available, I go wash one of the boys instead. Loki got all confused by that at first, but now I think he’s decided he likes it.
Oh, and I have an important job now! Well, two, really, but I don’t know if keeping the boys in line counts. Jackie has bad pain all the time, and when it’s really bad and her eyes get leaky from it, my job is to sit next to her head and purr as hard as I can. Sometimes I know when her back muscles are going to start spasming and I try to be with her then. Jackie calls me her nurse, and I know it makes her feel better if I’m with her when she’s hurting. Sometimes I wash her face and act like she’s my kitten.
So, after three and a half years of love and patience, mostly these days I’m just scared of the broom (that makes me run and hide when Mom is sweeping) or Jackie’s cane or anything like that, and sudden loud noises, and not very much else! Other kittehs out there that are scared need to know that. So do their hyoomins, that sometimes it takes a long time for all the scaredness to let go, but it can happen! Ai gotta go see if there’s any catnip left from yesterday’s party, now. Kthxbai!
Update, 7 April 2014
This is Angel’s mom, not Angel, now.
When I first typed this out for her, I fudged a bit on the story of her choice. Paranoia, since the friends I have told have universally agreed with why I tore up that number and kept her, but oh well.
Earlier today, Angel crossed the Rainbow Bridge. She was about a month short of being with us for nine years.
In those nine years, she helped raise Eva the Diva and Cory-Bear, the latter remaining very much her loving son for the next five years. She was my “teddy-cat” to hug in bed when the depression got bad, with much less fear of smushing her than any of the smaller cats, and purred thunderously. She loved ear-rubs, hard ones in just the right place, that made her curl her back toes and then explode into an earthquake-level headshake. She and Trick did grooming-fights, each trying to make the other submit to being groomed and neither one willing to give up, resulting in one licking the top of the other’s head and ears while the other licked the throat and upper chest of the first. We made jokes that her purr-switch was stuck in the “on” position because it seemed like every time we turned around, she was purring – even when she got a little older, a little heavier due to the food anxiety, a little less playful. She lived through a dental surgery to get rid of three teeth with very painful neck lesions. She adapted with grace to life with only wet food and with twice-daily insulin shots and to periodic blood glucose curves – all the while never turning her full force to resisting, let alone hurting us, even though she was quite large and powerful enough to do so. She was loving and brave and very much loved by her family.
A week ago she was diagnosed with a torn cruciate ligament in her right knee, which we had thought was a flare-up of her arthritis. She was put on meloxicam to try to reduce the inflammation while we scrambled for funding solutions for surgery. We discovered today that I’d misread the label (which I’m horrified by, since I always triple-check) and actually gave her a bit too much, but the vet says it couldn’t possibly be a deciding factor in what happened next. Her GI tract revolted, and other systems started to get involved. She stopped eating or drinking. After a terrible Sunday night of sitting with her, Jackie and I both expected the verdict of the very gentle, very understanding vet we saw before the vet clinic had been open half an hour on Monday morning. Something was very wrong, and while we could try putting her on an IV and try to investigate… things looked bleak. So, we chose to set her free. With the IV in place, she shoved her head into my hand for a last ear-rub, with a very small weak shake after it, and she fell asleep with her head resting on my arm like many times before, including last night for a while, and she was free of a body that was failing her. Right to the end, she was brave and gentle despite her strength and already being in pain and feeling horrible.
Jackie and I both think the other three knew, from their rather odd behaviour last night. Cory laid down near Angel on the couch for a while, but carefully didn’t touch even though a paw extended towards her in his sleep; Trick and Angel spent a little time together early this morning. Angel and Freya never had a close bond, but Freya kept trying to get close to sniff, then backing off. When we got home, Cory sniffed my arm where Angel was lying, then wanted seriously intense snuggling; Trick sniffed it, made an odd sound, and ran away.
For a cat who would probably have died miserably outside, or would have died as unadoptable due to behaviour if taken to the local humane society, she made a choice and the result was almost nine years of love and safety. Not long enough, never long enough, but for a big fluffball who in her own way beat the odds, not so bad.