If you’re one of the twelve people who know my life, you no doubt feel my sadness at the mere mention of the word felicity.
Felicity means happiness.
Happiness is what my beloved kitty, Felicity, gave me for eleven precious years.
She was a beautiful bitch kitty. Yes, she was a bitch cat. Her affections were rarely obtained by anyone else.
I loved her.
She loved me.
We had one of those bonds that you cannot explain to someone who hasn’t felt such an affinity with an animal.
She loved me, veterinarians, and my friend True (who practically lives in a zoo) — that’s it. She merely tolerated everyone else she encountered, including my husband and my children.
My nephew would ask me, “Joey, why she *hiss* like dat to me?”
“She’s fussy,” I’d say.
When I got my first place, I searched the classifieds for a calico kitten, because I’d had such good experiences with them. Calicos always seem sweeter and more affectionate to me. My mother and I went to pick out a kitten. None of the calicos liked me. But this little gray ball of fluff climbed up my chest and mewed at me until I paid her attention.
My mother said, “This one.”
“But I wanted a calico.”
“I know, but this one loves you. You don’t choose a cat, a cat chooses you.”
So I took that little gray puffball home…
…to love her for too short a time.
She hid so well I thought she’d slipped out the door. Tiny kittens sleep in mysterious womb-like places humans don’t think about, like laundry baskets, under the tiny eaves of furniture, behind the books on the shelf…
She slept with me every night. We frequently fell asleep holding paws. I often woke up with her on my pillow, curved around my head.
When I came home from work, she’d cry her heart out and walk to and fro on my bed while I changed my clothes. Sometimes she did not wait for me to finish, and she’d leap onto me.
This cat would literally jump into my arms.
If I reached for her, she’d reach up for me and jump, as Clara does now. But with Felicity, I could stand tall and pat my chest and she’d take the leap.
She climbed the door jambs when she was feisty.
She hunted birds and left them at the door.
She perched on the edge of the tub while I bathed.
She never minded a her bi-annual bath in the sink.
She was the first cat I had who drank from the bathroom faucet, although all since her have done so.
She stood underfoot while I cooked.
She always came to my lap when I made one.
She’d offer up her tummy at night when no one else was around.
Felicity was perfect in her cat-ness.
She was my best companion in a way that only animals can be.
Cancer took her swiftly. Sarcoma. I asked how many months. The vet said we’d need to put her down within days.
So now, I have memories and photos. For years, I kept Felicity’s collar and tags, but every time I’d encounter them, I’d think about when I took them off, and I wanted to remember her life, not her death. I had to throw them out for my own good.
I had a kitteh-shaped hole in my heart for a long time. Yes, we had other cats. Yes, I love(d) them. As I said, she was special. She will always be special.
Clara is the cat who filled that kitteh-shaped hole in my heart. She’s the neediest, talkiest, spoiled cat ever. (I blame the half-Siamese in her.) She’s my baaa-by. With her, I went to get a gray kitten, but she’s the one who chose me.
Much like people, pets are not replaceable. But a human can be lucky to get chosen again.
Have you experienced such a connection with a particular pet?