I have a cat. She's an old cat. I'd probably realize that more often if I thought about it. I tend to not do so. She is precious to me. Recognizing the years might mean that I'd have to start counting them. I'm not ready to think about that.
She has been in my life for over a decade. Funny little gray, tan, black, and white beast. Back when we both lived with my parents, she used to bring me gifts. One Christmas, I came home before the rest of the family. For the week before everybody else returned, she brought me daily gifts of mice. I think she was worried that I'd go hungry. The presents stopped once my parents came home.
All of her life, she has loved me and exuded great loyalty. I never deserved it. She was an impulse buy. I thought she was cute. I brought her home. I was still so stupid about being a responsible pet owner. Still, she was always affectionate towards me. She'd wait up for me when I'd go on dates. After I moved out, she took to laying in the driveway, always running up to greet me when my car approached.
In 2001, I went farther away from her than I'd ever been. I would like to say that I should have taken her with me. I probably should have. In spite of the hardship she endured while I was gone, I do think that was the better choice. I couldn't even take care of myself during that time. I was so heartbroken. I don't know how I ever found my way back from there, only that I did.
2003 brought me to Canada. I was even farther. I made excuses, then half promises, then more lamebrained pardons. I shared our home with three other kitties. One of them passed away before a year was up. I couldn't stop thinking about her.
In early 2004, My Girl's brother died. It hurt. I had always half fancied that Ogre and I would have a house while he was still alive. I could have brought the both of them up. Now, there was only her.
...Christmas, 2004: The house in which I grew up isn't even a shadow. At least that would hint at some sort of substance, however fleeting. Home is like a gossamer cloak, at the whim of a winter's breeze. Of course, she was waiting. She meowed, but didn't really come to greet me. I noticed how much older she seemed.
I already knew that I would bring her back. There was a vet appointment made, and a carrier purchased. Paperwork was obtained (clean bill of health!). I gave her a mild sedative - at least, the vet said it was mild. She was out so fast that I was scared that I killed her.
That flight was one of the worst of my life. The medication wasn't enough to keep Kitty from freaking the heck out, and slicing a gash in her nose as she thrashed in the carrier. On top of that, delayed flights meant that she hadn't used the bathroom in about 13 hours (she didn't want any food or water that was offered to her). I really thought that she was going to die before I got her home.
We made it, though. She's getting a bit rotund, which I'm trying to control through diet. I think she's happy. She doesn't jump on the window sill, or try to get out when the front door is happy. She talks to me when I wake up in the morning, and gets in my way when I'm trying to stretch after my run.
In spite of my efforts, I do wonder how much more time we'll have. I'm hoping that it's a good, long while. I have a lot to make up for.