Note: If you are not a cat person, you may want to just skip over this post.
I remember the first time I saw you. So tiny and cute. Adorable little tabby stripes around your eyes, lemur rings around your long tail, your perfect little pink nose, the grey raccoon mask around your beautiful green eyes, not yet opened after your birth. Such a beautiful little girl, with your soft grey and white fur, your thick undercoat making you the softest little kitten I'd ever felt.
I remember driving home, with you sitting on the passenger seat. You were in a red and white cardboard cat carrier. You kept sticking your paws through every available space, and you quickly figured out how to open the top of the carrier. It was a wild drive, as I tried to keep you contained while we were in the car.
I remember bringing you inside. Introducing you to the other cat, the master of the house, who instinctively tried to force you out, and who would soon become your best friend.
I remember how you got lost in my little apartment. How you nearly disappeared in that tiny space under the stove. How you climbed in the hole at the bottom of my hideous old loveseat and hid there. I remember scouring the whole neighbourhood looking for you that one time, my family and friends all trying to find you, late at night, going through alleys and bushes in a rather rough area of town. And I remember returning home defeated, and finding you perched on top of that loveseat wondering what all the fuss was about.
I remember when you decided your litter box was too far from my bed, and you started doing your business on the floor. And I remember having to lock you in the bathroom at night, until you were old enough to be completely litter trained. I remember hearing you cry from inside the bathroom, and how my heart broke with each teeny meow. And I remember how your squeaky little baby meows sounded so much like you were saying "Mommy". And how you slowly outgrew that, and learned to meow properly.
I remember your feisty spirit. Swatting at you when you'd broken the glass in that one framed picture of my grandma. And I remember how you swatted back at me, defending yourself. How you tried to attack that little stray kitten that came into the apartment one night, and how I had to lock him away from you until morning for his own safety. Trying to teach you to walk on a leash and harness system. Your stubborn streak taking over, as you lay on the ground and allowed me to drag you about on your side, refusing to stand up and walk. I remember you sliding down the stairs, because there was no way you were going to walk down them. It just wasn't your style.
I remember all your kisses, the likely result of your being weaned too soon. How you would lick and lick at one spot with your little sandpapery tongue until the skin was all but worn away. How you loved to cuddle. How you'd make a nest for yourself out of my hair and sleep near the back of my neck through the night. How you'd sleep in the crook of my arm, nestled into my armpit, as I watched TV. And I remember how you originally preferred the arm of one of my friends to my own, and how we eventually got past that and bonded.
I remember being told that I was allergic to you. And I remember how I had to lock you out of my bedroom at night for awhile, until I had built up enough of a tolerance to have you with me once more. I remember you standing outside the door, meowing plaintively, begging to be let in. And I remember getting up, just to make sure you were still okay, and how quickly you bolted into the room to be with me.
I remember when you got out. Me, running through the building. Finding you in the basement, lying pressed tight against the bottom step, scared out of your mind, hissing at me as I tried to pick you up. And I remember how you'd get scared when strangers came over, and how you would hide under the bed.
I remember how your legs at one time looked so very long; much too long for your tiny little frame, and how you wobbled when you walked, all disproportionate. I remember how you always looked sleepy, since you had those dark grey streaks of fur in the corners of your eyes, and how that little cowlick on the bridge of your nose made you even cuter.
I remember the first snowfall of your life. Taking you outside so that you could experience it. And I remember that you hated the cold wetness on your feet, and you wanted to be held. I remember holding you, and lifting a little bit of the snow up to your face so that you could see it. And I remember how you sniffed hard, and got the snow up your nose, and how it made you sneeze.
I remember Christmastime. You climbing up the inside of the Christmas tree. Your sweet, easygoing nature. How you didn't even bat an eye when I stuck that Christmas bow on top of your head. And I remember how your buddy, the older cat, came over and swatted it off on your behalf. I remember how reluctant you were to play with any human, preferring instead to just sleep or cuddle. And how you would insist on that closeness at every opportunity.
I remember. I remember all of it.
I remember you. Always.