I’ve already written a post about my former cat, Copper. But it’s no surprise that after his passing, we had to get some more cats. Ever since my youngest moments, I’ve been pretending I was a cat, buying cat stuffed-animals, or fantasizing about being a cat-trainer. Now, these are my cats. Vanessa is on the left, and Figaro is on the right. Before you start theorizing about their hierarchical positioning, don’t let them fool you. Figaro is the king; Vanessa is the quiet compromiser. Figaro is also very heavy. He’s about 20 pounds. Vanessa is roughly 8 pounds, so she’s much more petite. These are my cats; I love them a lot. If ever I show signs of sadness, Vanessa doesn’t fail to show her affection. If ever I need some warmth at my feet, Figaro is going to be there.
Trying to pinpoint an exact story where they were funniest, is near impossible. So instead, I’ll just start with one that happened the other day. Both cats were quietly enjoying each other’s company on my bed. As I went upstairs before school, I decided to give Vanessa some nice affection. Leaning over to give her a sweet kiss, I noticed Figaro’s glaring eyes piercing me. Figuring that he was jealous, I moved over to give him a nice pet, too. Soon after, I patted Vanessa one more time before I left. As I went downstairs, I was baffled that they had both been there together. They weren’t enemies, I knew, but they definitely weren’t great buddies either. Remembering that I had left my phone upstairs, I quickly bolted back up. As I came into my room, I noticed Vanessa was gone. Figaro had a satisfied look on his face; he definitely knew something that I didn’t. Vanessa had been run off by Figaro’s jealous brutality. He knew she was my first choice.
I’m not going to sugarcoat it; Vanessa is MY cat. I got her in May of my 3rd grade year. We went to the pound a few months after my other cat, Sidney, had been killed. Walking around the pound, there were tons of kittens to choose from. Fat ones, grey ones, orange ones, white ones, and then, a Vanessa one. I instantly knew. She was unidentifiable. Was she long-haired or short-haired? Was she calico or tabby? Honestly, it depends on the season. She had sass, and she needed me as much as I needed her. “Are you sure you want that one?,” I remember my Mom asking. Of course I was sure. She wasn’t the cute poster cat that Figaro had been, but she was unique. She was also kind of like me: skinny and brownish-haired. Vanessa and I understand our similarities too. Whenever I cry, she sits by my side, or she rubs my arms.
My favorite story of her involves a lonely time in both of our lives. In 2012, my family dropped everything and moved to India and Bangladesh for 6 months while my dad did agricultural research with the State Department. As we were backing up to leave, I had no idea how to say goodbye to my cats. We had a house sitter, yes, but I knew that Vanessa would be lonely without me. Noticing the abnormalities of our packing up to leave, Vanessa hid herself under my bed for days, which never happens. Trying to say goodbye, I reached under my bed in tears and looked at her. Her eyes were worried. She looked at me for long moments, and I almost felt as though we were betraying her. Finally able to reach her, I held her paw for a couple of moments. Then we left. That six months was lonely for both of us. Not being able to enroll in school because of a language barrier made everything hard. I had no friends while I was gone. Vanessa too, spent long hours under my bed while we were gone. Arlene, our my dad’s grad-student taking care of our house, said that Figaro was by her every moment, and Vanessa was hardly around. Finally, after six months of being gone, we were pulling up into our driveway. Would they remember us? Would they know? Running upstairs, I saw Vanessa hanging out under my sister’s bed. She then sat in the middle of the room and stared at me. Immediately after, I sat on the floor. “What was wrong?,” I remember thinking. She then ran to me and started rubbing against me uncontrollably. Purring and looking at me in disbelief, she was the happiest I’d ever seen her.
Figaro is the guest favorite, no doubt. He’s the entertainer who hangs around and gives kisses. Seriously, if you lean down to kiss him on the head, he will spring up to meet you half-way. Vanessa, however, is the true loyalist. She likes often, but loves rarely. When she does love though, she loves so much that she’ll refuse to love anyone else as much as you. I refuse to imagine what she’ll do when I leave for college, and I’ve always thought that I might just have to sneak her along with me. I have a confession to make: I am a die-hard cat-lover.
Here’s some more of my favorites: