At the time of the photograph, Minoes must have been a little more than 3 years old. A lean and feisty young girl, eager to get up to the top of the highest cabinets and cupboards in our house, finding improbable routes to jump and climb until she could regally regard her humans below.
Spin back three years. A friend of ours had told us that her cat had just given birth to a litter of kittens and she (the friend) was looking for people to adopt them. I told her we would love to welcome a little cat into our home. Soon after, we heard that our friend was moving out of town, so I figured our agreement wasn’t going to go through. I was even looking to adopt a cat from an asylum.
A few weeks later, I got home and there was a note on the kitchen table. It said : “Your furry new black cat-friend is waiting for you.” Our friend had stayed at our home for a few weeks when she was down on her luck, and she had come in with her backdoor key. I thought she meant I should call her to meet up and collect the kitten we talked about, but she was unreachable on her phone. I decided to call back later that evening and started making dinner.
An hour later, I heard the teeny-tiniest mioew…
And again… mioew…
There I was, crawling through our house on all fours, desperately trying to get a read on where that plaintive little whimper was coming from. Finally honing in on the source of the sound, I stuck my arm behind our book case and gently pulled a fluffy ball into the light, small enough to cradle in the palm of my hand. It was so covered in dust and lint and cobwebs it was nearly indistinguishable from a dust bunny. But it was a kitty instead!
Our friend had come to our house with the kitten on the way to her new house in the new town. She knew I’m a houseman, so I should come home soon. She was also very stressed for time because of an appointment with the moving van people. So she left the kitten in our house and the note which I misunderstood on the table.
Now, kittens are supposed to stay with mommy for at least six weeks, preferably longer, up to twelve weeks, before moving to a new family. This little kitten was not even five weeks old, barely old enough to start weaning, yet here she was without her mommy.
We surrounded her with love and affection and cuddles and gave her special kitty food and milk, but that early weaning and the shortage of mother’s milk nutrients at such a young age stunted her growing process.
Not her spirit though! She soon got used to first the wet food, then the kibble, and with her appetite grew her lust for life. She was one-an-a-half when our son was born. She immediately took him under her paws, sleeping as close to him as we would let her. She sat on my love’s lap while she (my love) breastfed our son. She caught spiders and brought them to our son as presents.
Minoes is twelve now. She doesn’t jump on cabinets anymore, instead preferring to curl up inside them, comfy in the dark. She still sleeps in our son’s bed on many nights, especially after we come home from vacation. She’s still small and spirited.
One of my absolute favourite moments of the day is when I take my book and settle in my comfortable chair. The second Minoes hears the scraping of the footstool’s legs as I rest my feet, she comes running to cuddle up on my lap. Sitting calmly in my chair, holding my book in one hand while the other scratches her forehead just the way she likes it. Purring noises and the turning of the pages the only sounds in the otherwise quiet house.