A Calico Named Lizzy
It was ten years ago I adopted a little calico cat who turned out to be a diva.
I was thirteen and my sister was eleven when we went to the ASCPA in Florida with our mother to pick out a cat of our own. I didn't want to get one at first because I wanted a dog. After never getting a chance to say goodbye to my golden retriever, Beauregard, I wanted a dog that I could raise with the help of my parents of course. "You can get a dog when you can afford the vet bills," my mother said to me.
We went into the shelter and went inside this small space with all these metal cages full of kittens up for adoption. Mom went to this cage where a little chocolate point Siamese kitten huddled in a corner scared and timid. I saw this little black kitten above him and wanted to pet it. I've always wanted a black cat since I was little because I liked watching Miyazaki's Kiki's Delivery Service any time I was home sick from some respiratory infection. It drove my parents nuts. But the little black kitten wanted to play and bite my fingers. I walked away from the cage, but another little girl who came in after us picked up the black cat and it purred in her arms.
My sister had luck with finding her first cat. A little grey and white kitten with golden eyes, whom she would later name Nikki. We call the grey and white cat "Nikki-boo" because she became blind in one eye a few years ago. She would jump on the door of the cage whenever someone walked by. My sister grabbed the little kitten and it stared up at her in her arms. She put the kitten back, only to have it jump back on the cage door. It kept repeating the process until my sister gave in and grabbed the cat and kept the little kitten in her arms while I looked for the perfect cat. My mother was busy playing with the Siamese kitten as I scoured the cages looking for a kitten to take home with me. It didn't help that across the hall I heard the yaps of puppies and dogs and my heart ached to go play with one.
I decided to try some of the older cats first, but they didn't seem interested in coming home with me. Especially since they smelled the scent of the kittens in the cages outside their circular enclosure. I noticed one cage with a note on the door saying a litter of kittens were brought up around people and animals around 4 weeks. They are friendly and loving and deserve a good home was the second portion of the note. I shrugged my shoulders and decided it wasn't that it wouldn't be a bad place to start. I opened the cage and peered inside to see three little kittens nestled close and sleeping.
There were two kittens who looked identical right down to their golden fur and chocolate markings, like those of Bengal kittens. But one little kitten stood out from the rest. She had a white face with black lines near her eyes. A bright pink nose and pink ears stood out against the boys in the cage. I grabbed the little girl with the pink nose and sat down on the bench. She slept in my arms and let out the loudest of purrs. She had blonde hair on the tuft of her head, pink paws and six blonde circles on her belly like little tattoos. She had a long tail that wrapped around her little body. She never opened her eyes and continued to sleep. My mom looked up that time and watched as I stroked her fur while she kneaded at my shirt. "Oh boy, looks like you got a love muffin," she said. She went back to the Siamese and continued to play with him. I put the little girl with the pink nose back in her cage. The two boys weren't interested in cuddling with me. "Why don't you get the one you had before? She obviously looked pretty comfy in your lap," my sister said as her little cat tilted her head backwards to look at me.
I grabbed the little girl with the pink nose again and sat back down on the bench. At last she opened her eyes and I saw they were a beautiful green color. My heart melted at first gaze. She closed her eyes again and dug her head into my elbow. I picked her up and placed her head on my shoulders. She opened her eyes up and looked out the window watching the birds go by. She looked over at me and began to nudge me with her head on my chin. Her little purrs felt warm and sweet.
"We should name her Blondie because she has this blonde hair on her head," my mother said when she looked up again from playing with the Siamese kitten. I looked down at this little kitten and how she reminded me of my best friend who had to move in the middle of her eighth grade year because her grandma passed away and left the house to her family.
"I want to call her Lizzy," I said. The kitten looked up at me and nudged her head against my chin. I called out the name Lizzy and the little kitten looked at me with those big green eyes. She kept nudging me and licking me, eagerly accepting her new name.
Lizzie was a childhood friend and probably my first friend in middle school. She liked Harry Potter and her favorite character was Hermione Granger. She was sorted into Gryffindor House like me when we tried the sorting hat quiz on Pottermore. She introduced me into anime and manga characters from Japan like Inuyasha and Princess Tutu. We always hung out together and had sleepovers at each other's houses. We did everything together to the point someone asked us if we were siblings. She lives in Saint Petersburg now, but we often stay in touch on social media.
But as for my calico kitten, the name stuck. She was a Lizzy. She always will be a Lizzy. She took it with great pride. When she played with the other two cats, she was capable of dishing out the same attitude during playtime (My mother ended up getting the Siamese kitten once she was able to get my father to agree to let her have another cat. She named him Sumo because he used his own weight to pull down the two girls in a play fight). She has this tendency to take her tail and wag it like a dog. She used to fetch, but not return the toy mice they played with. But the one thing she does is make sure everyone pets her as she enters a room. Her favorite people are boyfriends, my dad, or any kind of men. She is the first one to greet them and the last one to see them leave after they pet her.
Lizzy took on several nicknames growing up in my house. She was called "puppy-kitty" due to her tendency to act like a dog. Though we always call her "puppy" now because she follows people when she wants attention or meows outside our bedrooms so that she can snuggle and fall asleep in our beds with us each morning, or lays down on the ground exposing her belly for a nice little scratch from the local repairmen and neighbors who come to our house. Lizzy was once known as "Miss Finchmouth" because she successfully caught a small finch in our backyard and was going to bring it inside the house as a present for fighting the aviary enemies. But she is always known as "The Lizinator" because she hunts down lizards and kills them.
As Lizzy has grown older, she has begun to do things that she normally wouldn't do. As a kitten she would lean in for a kiss once I open my eyes in the morning. Now she lays on top of me to make sure I don't leave for work. She always did this thing where she would show off her belly when she wanted to play or to get some good scratches in before bedtime. Of course she still does that. But one thing that annoys me the most is when she is at the opposite end of the house and she would start to cry. I go to the part of the house where she is crying and she walks up to me and rubs herself against me, or she rolls over and shows her belly. If I am in the office, she jumps in the chair or lays at my feet, whacking my feet with her tail. Even if I was just sitting down or laying down on the couch, she jumps up and lays in my lap. Sometimes my mom sees us together, her asleep, me looking at a program on the television. "You got the Liz-Liz?" mom asked one time. Lizzy opened her eyes a little bit and then went back to sleep. I reached down and gently touched her head as it poked out from the blanket. She would purr a little louder.
My cat has been the one thing in my life I don't regret getting. She reminds me of the good times I had with friends and family. She even reminds me of myself when I was boastful of my accomplishments or had a pension for being dramatic. I will never forget the moment I looked in her eyes and I found happiness and love. She may be a cat, but she is more like my first baby than my first pet.
I hope I have several more years with her before it is her time to go. She is ten years old now, but she still makes sure we snuggle in the bed each morning.