Smashing Sunday – September 8, 2013

Today’s ‘smashbook’ challenge was “Favourite Animal.”
If you know me at all, this is not a hard thing to guess.

Challenge Two: Favourite Animal

Challenge Two: Favourite Animal

If you’ve never met the above kitties:

Cleo wasn’t originally “my” cat.
She was originally Dana and Eric’s cat and Dana had taken her with her. Eventually, her life circumstances changed and she asked Eric if Cleo could return to live with him. When she came back to live with us while she was already 11 years old and firmly established in the fact that SHE was the ruler of whatever house she resided in. In fairness to her, she was a fantastic snuggle buddy, if more than a little crotchy. But when you live a fantastic 18 cat years, raising FOUR kittens, THREE dogs and one human child…well yes.
Her preferred spot in her later years was snuggled between my body and the arm of the recliner, where she could take full advantage of my heat – and most often, the heat from my laptop’s air vent. While she and Neith are often pictured together as “almost” snuggling, Neith was simply too active for Cleo’s taste, and was utterly uninterested in playing by that point in her life. Meret, on the other hand, Cleo almost seemed to like. She’d actually tolerate Meret snuggling up to – probably to take advantage of a heat source, and Meret has always been pleased to flop down and snuggle. Although, I don’t think she appreciated Meret’s desire to ALSO fit between the armchair and my body. Especially as it was accomplished by occasionally sitting on Cleo – or Cleo’s head.
We lost Cleo in July of 2012.

Neith was the first kitteh who owned me entirely. We went looking for a new kitten in January of 2009. I was originally looking for a Russian Blue, and an older cat. Instead, we walked into the “new” arrivals and saw a tiny little black thing reaching through the bars of her cage, calling desperately to us. No other cat reacted that way, so I took it as a sign and we asked to meet the little black fuzzball. We were shown to a meet-and-greet room, and the staff member hadn’t even finished closing the door before the black fuzzball leapt out of her arms, bounced once off the floor and landed in my lap, snuggling/smushing her face into mine. And that was how Neith stole my heart. We took her home two days later, after she’d had some shots and had been fixed.
Her name, “Neith” took two weeks to come up with. I’m a firm believer that a cat will respond to you when you find their correct name, and I was originally frustrated, because none of them seemed to “fit” her. We’d taken to calling her “BugBug,” originally because of the way her eyes bugged out when she was interested in something, and then because of the way she hunted bugs – most especially spiders. This eventually led to a friend suggesting “Neith,” and the first time I called her that, she perked up, meow’d and walked over to me.
She later developed some interesting habits – including “barking” like a dog. How I WISH we’d been able to catch that on video, but it happened so rarely, it always surprised us. To be clear, this was clearly a “meow” sound, but you could just see it in her face, she was attempting to make a “bark” sound. She raced around at night, chittering to herself the entire time, running headfirst into things, bouncing off of them, barking and continuing on at full speed. She was also the only cat I’ve ever known/owned to want to “play” with water, drink straight from the tap by sticking her head UNDER the water faucet, and who LOVED to ride around on my shoulders.
Neith ran out the front door in 2011, breaking my heart when she never returned. Looking through the pictures to create this blog, it hit me once again how much I loved this kitteh, and I had to stop and snuggle with Meret for a few minutes.

Meret is my current derp. My wonderful former roommate, Kari, decided a few months after Neith had disappeared that I needed to go look for another kitteh. To her credit, she persisted even when I was not originally thrilled with the idea.
When we went, I didn’t have much of a preset, other then I knew I wanted to continue to be owned by black cats, and I didn’t want a cat that looked too much like Neith (I honestly was a little afraid that all black cats would remind me of Neith as soon as I saw them – which was not the case thankfully). I knew I also needed to find a kitteh who was open to being with another cat, since Cleo was 17 by this point. When we walked into the “socializing” room, Meret (then named “Trixie” which gave Kari and I a good laugh) was lolling about on a shelf in an open cage, sharing the room with two other cats. Meret decided to show off for Kari at one point, streeeeeeeeeeetching oh so adorably…until she rolled right off the shelf and belly flopped, spread-eagle on the floor of the cage. Her face just HAPPENED to conveniently land in her food bowl, so she took advantage of it and started eating – pausing to look up at us as if to say “What? Clearly, I TOTALLY meant to do that…”
When I first picked her up, she latched her front paws around my neck in a near death grip, hugging me for all she was worth. That was the sign I was waiting for, and we progressed straight to the paperwork, taking her home that night. I have pictures somewhere of the Cleo and Meret introduction, which went something along the lines of:
Meret flops down on the bathroom floor
Cleo approaches, sniffs her,
Meret doesn’t react,
Cleo sits, contemplates and decides she can stay.
Meret’s name came much more quickly then Neith’s did, though occasionally I question if I named her correctly. At the time of her naming, we had not heard a single peep out of her mouth and so the primary meaning of her name was perfect. Until I called her, and she started meowing at me. She hasn’t really shut up since. We used to hear her wandering through the house at night, having full conversations with herself. We could tell she was asking questions and then answering them herself as her voice changed in tone and pitch! The alternative meaning “Guardian of the Pharoh’s tomb” is perhaps more useful to describe her behaviour – clearly, watching over a burial tomb has driven her insane…
She’s been derping through life with me ever since, and I wouldn’t trade her for anything. One of the hardest things for me about the last few months was actually having to leave her with Eric for six weeks while I got things sorted out and finished up my contract. I am incredibly thankful to him for being understanding and loving her just as much as I do. She’s settled quite happily with me in Vancouver though I do think she’s a bit bored occasionally, without Cthulhu to harass and mutually groom. One day, she’ll have a new kitteh or puppeh who will abuse her most viciously. It’ll be awesome.

And that just leaves the random picture in the bottom right corner. So why the frog? Long before I discovered the awesomesauce that was being owned by a cat, I had an affinity for frogs – my first email “Froggie_49” is a artifact in testament to it, since I used that email from the time I first registered it in 1999, until the death of MSN rendered it utterly useless. I’d long since abandoned using it for anything else, thanks to the mountain of spam it received. Fourteen years will do that to an email address however…

Interested in my other Smashbook challenges? Check them out by clicking the #SmashingSunday tag at the bottom of the page, or see the whole “Ambrosial Alliterations” blog series by clicking the category at the end of this post. Enjoy!