Fast forward several years, and my adult self was living with a boyfriend. We had his and her cats - Molly was "his" cat and Beauregard was my cat. When we broke up, I had no place to move that would allow me to take Beau, and seeing as how he and Molly had pair bonded, it made more sense for my ex to take the cats.
My next two roommates and my next boyfriend were also allergic to cats. I moved in with my cousin after my last relationship ended, and while she is also allergic to cats, she still had one: Gracie. Gracie loved cat nip and wet food, but was not what one would call a "lap cat." She tolerated my presence.
The day finally came when I was able to move in to my own apartment. That apartment would need a cat, so I adopted a little boy kitty that I immediately named Bustopher Jones. Bustopher was my baby boy. He would bring me toilet paper rolls that he "killed" and was my constant companion.
|Bustopher Jones. RIP.|
But waiting for me back in my hometown was a little black kitten named "Bella." My brother and sister-in-law had adopted her but couldn't keep her. "She's sweet," my brother told me, "but she doesn't play much. I will say this, though: If you have a fly in the house, she'll kill it."
Broken-hearted me drove down to retrieve this little kitten. She was almost the spitting image of Bustopher. And despite never having met me, she was clinging to me from minute one.
On the drive back to Indianapolis, I renamed her "Lillith Electra." No cat of mine was going to be named after some ditz from "Twilight." She meowed quite a bit on the way to her new home. When we got in the door, I put the carrier down, opened the door, and waited for her to dash out and hide under a piece of furniture.
|"There's not enough stuff to destroy."|
Meanwhile, I was working two jobs. Lily was bored. She let me know it whenever possible - but mostly when I was asleep. My bedroom closet was a major source of contention. I wanted it closed. She wanted it open - and she wanted to be the one to open it. Glass objects were broken. My hands were covered in scratches. Lily needed a playmate.
The problem was finding the time to adopt a kitten - and finding one with a personality that meshed well with Lily's. In May 2010, shortly after Lily turned 1, I called up the wonderful lady who had coordinated my adoption of Bustopher. She was devastated over the loss of Bustopher almost as much as I was. She told me that I could adopt a kitten for free and told me she had some 11-week-old kittens that would be ready to adopt out in about a week. I was a little afraid that Lily would maul a baby. Still, I was curious. I went over to her house and spotted a tan kitten named Carson that was full of energy. I sat down in the middle of the kitty pen and watched Carson. He was exactly like Lily - brash, adventurous, chatty.
But while I was sitting there, a little black ball of fur climbed into my lap, jumped on to my chest, put both front paws on my face and kissed me. How could I say no to that? I looked at the foster mom, and we both broke out into wide grins. I'd been chosen. Little Pierre was going to go home with me in a week.
I was giddy. I visited him once during the week and rubbed him with a piece of cloth to take home to Lily. She wasn't interested.
The day that I brought him home, I did something you should never do. I introduced them almost immediately. Lily was ... well, pissed. She'd sniff him and hiss. Pierre didn't mind. He curled up in my lap and fell asleep.
|"Being this adorable is super exhausting. Mind if I snuggle?"|
One morning during that first week, I was in the bathroom, and Lily was playing with a toy. Pierre marched in, picked up the toy, and marched out. Lily sat there in total silence for a split second, then let out a quick hiss.
That moment let me know I hadn't made a mistake. Lily was brash, but Pierre was brave.
Something wasn't quite right, though: the name. Pierre didn't exactly roll off the tongue. He also had a strange habit: suckling fingers. He did it whenever he could to whomever was around. He craved physical contact and loved to snuggle up on my chest.
So, Pierre became Chester "The Molester" Escargot Tirey.
I don't feel the need to adopt any more cats. These two are constantly on the move, constantly breaking my things, and constantly cracking me up. They have two completely different personalities.
Lily is a smart-ass (trust me on this one), a superb hunter and a diva. She even has her own walk - I call it her sassy pants strut. She puts her tail straight up and almost dances toward me. She is affectionate to no one but me.
Chester is a complete cuddle bug and is incredibly welcoming to anyone who comes into my apartment. He guards the refrigerator in case one of his lost toy mice tries to sneak out. He's certain there's something of import in a kitchen cabinet where I keep my wine glasses. The bathroom is a scary place.
And me? I just live here and try to be a good caretaker. I bore other people with my cat stories. I take random pictures of them both and I sing songs to them.
If I'm a crazy cat lady, so be it. They make me smile. And I'm hoping stories about them will make you smile and share your experiences with your "furbabies."
|My little jerks - I mean, babies.|