Meet Figment!

As most of you know, I very suddenly had to say goodbye to my little monster Brie in April. I am glad we caught the cancer fairly early on and were able to make sure she wasn’t ever in much pain. Making that sort of a decision for a pet was excruciating but I know it was the right one for her and me. Since then, I’ve moved to a new apartment and still have a giant cat tree in my living room. I found a new occupant for it last weekend. Everyone, meet Figment.

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I was long overdue for an animal with a Disney name and Figment seems the perfect fit for what I am finding is a rather adventurous and only mischievous with the best of intentions cat. Fig has a story that I wish he could tell me. He’s still recovering from an injury on his back left side that it looks like someone treated but then let him go again (?). I’ll never know what actually happened but he’s very affectionate, loves catnip toys and I’m sure he’s only just starting to come out of his shell with me. He’s working through a post-shelter cold right now (very typical of animals when they spend time in a shelter) and has the cutest sneeze that I laugh hysterically over because he is so disgruntled when he sneezes. He’s already enjoying lounging around with me during Netflix binges and is learning how to just lie next to me when reading and only bat at the object that is taking my attention from him, not sit on the book or in front of the book or try to use the book as a new scratching post. Book etiquette is the hardest thing to get a cat on board with I swear. Overall though, he’s a good egg and I’m sure he’ll pop up here occasionally so introductions were necessary.

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Brie

I grew up with lots of animals around. I don’t remember a time when my family didn’t have a pet of some kind. Dogs, hamsters, horses, cats, lizards, fish, rabbits – you name it, we probably had it at some point. I was also lucky enough to have an awesome fifth grade teacher who kept a Florida King snake in the classroom. We fostered baby snapping turtles that year too. I love animals of all kinds. So, not being able to have one around on a daily basis for almost three years was rather cruel. Where I lived before heading south didn’t allow pets and there wasn’t a lot of options in the apartment market there. So, when I knew I was moving, finding an apartment that would let me have a pet was essential.

Now, I think I am naturally more of a dog person. I think that is because my first best friend was a dog. Luk was the best friend a girl could ask for – I could do anything to that dog and he’d let me with this very patient, slightly pained look in his eyes. However, my mom put her foot down about another dog and it took me a few years to talk the parents into a cat. Me being me I chose a cat breed that grows to the size of a small dog (do you see what I did there?) I love big animals in general – I always have. Make of that what you will. However, I couldn’t see bringing a dog into my tiny apartment and then making it be cooped up all day while I was at work. A cat is more self-sufficient; more willing to be queen and rule the roost than a dog so a cat fits into my lifestyle better now.

After a series of delays, I finally brought home a cat at the beginning of April. I got Brie, my adorable little black shorthair, from the shelter. I’ve never actually been to one which I think was a good call. About five seconds in there was heartbreaking. Little Brie was just waking up from her spay surgery earlier in the day but she came right over to the cage door to say hello to me. She was tiny – they think she is about 7-8 months old and hasn’t quite grown into her ears yet. I took her out and played with her for a bit. I had to try to keep her from jumping or being too active since she was just out of surgery but I liked her and I decided to stick with her. Taking another cat out just would have made things worse for my decision making skills.

Brie has adjusted well so far; it’s clear she’s never been inside a house before and trying to teach her to not jump up on the kitchen table or kitchen counters isn’t going that smoothly but she’ll get the hang of being a house cat. When I first got her, she was by far the most zen cat I’d ever had. She rarely startled or jumped at things and just always wanted attention. She then fell ill with a massive cold. Poor thing just slept constantly and sniffled and sneezed and coughed if she was awake. I am happy to report she is definitely feeling better and acting much more like cats I am used to. She is playful and haughty and wants attention only when it is her idea and even then she might suddenly decide your hand is more fun as a toy than something to pet her. We need to work a bit on not using Krystal’s feet as toys whenever she walks but we’ll get there. I am just happy that she is adjusting well. I’m sure I’ll be sharing more exploits in the future but in the meantime, everyone meet Brie!

Marmalade


I wish I had a better memory on days like this. I wish I could remember why I obsessively started asking for a cat or why I decided on a Maine Coon. Dad had started dragging me to cat shows I know was a part of it and I knew asking for another dog was getting me nowhere so I went with the biggest cat breed I could find. Marm didn’t let me down. Smaller than her champion brothers got, she was still at 20 pounds most of her adult life. I marvel at how little she once was. Sadly, I don’t have any of her kitten photos digitized – they’re all at home in Marm’s album on my shelf. There are the early pictures, before she grew into her ears and when she would still chase her cat toys around the house. Then there are the middle years, Marm at her best, finding all sorts of interesting places to sleep. It was one of the things she was best at, along with eating, getting into things she shouldn’t and whining constantly to my mother. She also had a knack for choosing the most inconvenient times to want attention. She was my study buddy in high school. Call me crazy but I swear she knew French for a while there. She listened as I read aloud Le Petit Prince or tried out sentences for my latest sujet. She was my companion while I stayed up working on projects that should have been done long before the night before it was due. She laid with me when I was sick and always seemed to know when I was down. She watched movies with me, sharing popcorn with me and never failed to be there when I needed her. As long as it was convenient for her of course. She was queen of all she surveyed. We all danced to her tune.

There were certain things you could always count on with Marm around. One, it wouldn’t be quiet. She had a voice and she knew how to use it. Mom always said she was whining – I think she just had one of those voices and was a bit of a chatterbox. Two, if there was paper on the floor, on the couch, on the table, she would be on it. Three, if you recently got up from the couch or the easy chair, she would be in it when you got back. The incredible thing was, you just sat somewhere else then. To move her was unthinkable. Four, she had the look of distain ready at all times. No one could look haughtier than my cat could. I swear she had it down to an art. Five, if I was planning to give her a bath, she would mysteriously disappear. I am so sad I never took a picture of her looking like a drowned rat in the tub but I could never seem to do such an injustice to her. Six, if I had a book in my hands, she was in my lap. I think she heard a lot of stories because of that (I like to think Austen was her favorite but I think am projecting). I like to read aloud anyway and she seemed to like to listen. Seven, for a house cat, she loved our back porch. It was her outdoors and her goal was to become as dirty as she could in as little time possible. Eight, she couldn’t hold a grudge to save her soul. She was never very welcoming when I’d come back from being away at school. She’d ignore me when I first came in, wouldn’t look at me when I’d scoop her up but she’d saunter in as I unpacked, getting into trouble as usual and then, the second I sat down, she’d be on top of me. Nine, Miss Priss she was, no matter what. Looking like a drowned rat after her baths, she’d still sit up and glare at me as I dried her. Even a soaking wet Marm had her dignity. Ten, she wasn’t perfect but she was Marm and she was one of my best friends who was always there when I needed her to be, no matter what. She has been one of the things I have missed most when I am away from home and it never occurred to think one day she wouldn’t be there.

Marm left us on Wednesday of this past week very suddenly. She had cancer and we didn’t know until it was too late. My little Marmalade Blaze of Big Tree Cattery is gone and my last memory of her is sitting at the top of Grammy’s staircase, front paws crossed, looking all the world like a queen surveying her kingdom. And so she was, because for eleven years, she ruled our house and I know the next time I go home, there will be a something missing because we’ve lost our queen.

Daddy has done such a beautiful job of taking her picture over the years but I wanted to share one of my favorites. She had a knack for mischief especially on Christmas morning. I hope, wherever she is, she hasn’t lost it. Goodbye Baby Girl, I’ll miss you.