In 2019, I was moving out of my tiny apartment and on the lookout for a furry friend. Growing up, I never was really fond of cats: I had a childhood dog, who was tiny and affectionate, and died of old age in 2017. Dogs were fun, and friendly. Cats? Forget about it.
When I met my boyfriend, he lived at a house with four cats, one of which he owned, and a Rottweiler. And so I began to spend a lot of time around the four-legged babies. I wasn't a cat person. Until I was. My son was a toddler when we met, and grew quickly to adore the felines, who were small and cuddly compared to huge and playful. The dog was big enough to knock him over. The cats were small enough to sit on his little lap.
In 2020, after moving in together, I was on the lookout for a kitty of my own, putting my love of dogs behind me. The thing about dogs was that they were active, and I just couldn't sustain the type of motivation required to keep up with their lifestyles. I'd wanted a pet of my own since I was a kid, but never had a landlord who allowed me until I left that tiny apartment. I adopted Ziggy in 2020, a one-year-old tortie from a shelter in the city. She was feisty, snuggly, and won me over the moment I met her.
When we introduced the girls to each other, they fought a lot. Grrr was used to having the space to herself, and Ziggy was used to living in a shelter, in her own room. Besides, take two fiesty ladies and throw them together under the same roof, and things are bound to get exciting. This didn't last long. Within a couple weeks, our kitties grew used to one another.
Ziggy loves tuna, and pipe cleaners, and she always sleeps at the foot of my bed, guarding me from intruders. She loves to explore outside, but only if she gets to pick where we go for our adventure, and only if there's none of that scary white stuff on the ground. It sounds silly to say, but she makes us complete. I feel like, during her time in the shelter, she was waiting for me.
You know how cats are. They pretend to have no interest whatsoever in the presence of their humans, but deep down they crave those kissies and cuddles! My little girl is a bundle of energy, choosing to wait until everyone has gone to bed before she zooms at full speed through the house. The thing about pets is we need them just as much as they need us. When I struggle with emotional dysregulation or depression, the snuggles and purrs of my feline friend always bring me comfort. She's nearly three years old now, the temperamental teenager of the family, picking fights with her sister and hogging all the food. Like a true cat, she refuses to cuddle when I approach her, but decides it's the perfect time when I'm in the middle of doing something.
From a young age, we taught her to walk on a leash. In the warmer seasons, I or my son frequently take her for walks, and people stop to comment about how strange it is to see a cat on a leash! Ziggy loves grass, and bugs, often taking detours through bushy fields or climbing trees to catch a fly for dinner. She chatters at birds in the summertime, but won't watch them for more than a second on a television.
When I take a shower, Ziggy meows outside the door until I let her in. When my son is in the bath, she lies on the side of the tub and watches him. In the middle of the night, she zooms around wildly and knocks everything over. Ah, the Zoomies. Just cats doing cat stuff. I often wonder what sorts of things go on in the mind of a cat: what do they think about, what makes them sad. I speak to her, and she meows at me, and I long for the ability to understand the mind of an animal.
In 2022, Ziggy was diagnosed with feline asthma, and given pills to take over a couple of weeks. She hated them, obviously. We found it helped to always have a humidifier going, and to start vacuuming more - and while she does still have asthma attacks, they're much more frequent when the apartment is less dry.
Someday I'd love to get the girls a hairless friend: a sphynx, or a Cornish, if we can ever afford this. Ziggy, currently, is fighting with her sister over the loose catnip on the cat tree, and taking breaks to perform barrel roles across the floor. She loves treats and naps, as well as showing everybody just how fast she can zoom across the floor. I've always known how much a pet can impact a person's life and mental state - but I didn't understand this firsthand until the day I brought my princess home. She's a little sassy, a little sweet, and a little bit of an asshole.
I love you, Ziggy. Thanks for being my pal.
About the author
neurodivergent, trans writer and parent. canadian. lover of nature, animals, mythology, travel, and knowledge. doing my best to feel comfortable inside this flesh vessel i call home.
i enjoy writing gay shit and torturing my protagonists.