My Ziva has such enormous eyes. You wouldn’t believe them unless you saw them, so here they are on display.
Ziva is, at best guess, between eleven and twelve weeks old. We don’t have a birthdate for her; we think Lollypop picked her up as a stray. She was between eight and nine weeks in the picture. She was also a spindly little thing, like as not still feeding up from a life on the streets. There’s a difference in her face now she’s been living in the land of treats and kibble. Her eyes are still big like that, but not so hollow. Neither are her cheeks. She’s getting muscle on her bones.
My mother called her a gremlin in those first days. I thought waking up to her dear little face was, despite mother-love, somewhat akin to Harry Potter waking up to Dobby. Now I mostly wake up to her strident voice in my ear and her perhaps three pounds parading over my back. It’s nice when she walks on my back, really. It feels like a massage. Less fun when she uses my innards as a launchpad, but who am I to complain? She’s launching. She’s playful and keen and bright, and I can’t fathom not having her in my world.
She sits up behind me on the sofa back. Sometimes when she dozes, she slips down and down until I’m wearing a little fur stole. Or a cap. Today she was trying to get comfortable on the sofa proper, only she almost went headfirst into the gap where the cushion corners don’t quite meet. She will use the sofa as a way to get into our kitchen sink, so we now block the drain on the side she prefers, the side with the garbage disposal. Pardon my wave of nausea at the possibilities.
Emmy — is coping, we think. Emmy, who has had a growth spurt herself, might still be looking for Adalyne (she sniffs everything, especially the litterboxes). But Emmy will also chase Ziva until both of them flop out on the carpet or the laminate. She hisses, sure. She doesn’t growl as much anymore. She gives the odd swat.
Remarkably, Ziva is teaching Emmy to speak.
Emmy has long been our strong but silent girl. She purred. That was about it. Now we hear her squeaking some, almost meowing. Well, Adalyne was never vocal, either. Ziva must be a considerable difference from anything she’s ever known. Emmy, mind, has never gone without; she was born into a house and taken to the shelter with her mother and sister, once it was safe to move them. Then she came home with us. She’s never had to speak up, to ask for food or love. She has always had these things.
I get the idea that Ziva’s babyhood was lonely. I don’t intend that she should ever be lonely again. She might wander about the house looking, but she will always find us in some room or another. She knows where I sleep and is perfectly comfortable joining me there. A little too comfortable sometimes. Well, having to tell her “wrong end, inkblot” is no problem. She’s small enough to be turned so her arse faces the right way, far away from my nose given her farts. Silent but deadly, that girl.
Silent, deadly, and great at disguise. I wear enough dark clothes, and we have sofas and blankets that approximate her coloring. If you’re not careful, you can lose her while you’re looking right at her. Which I have done.
And now I’d like to go and tuck her into my cardigan for a cuddle, while she’s small enough. They said at Lollypop that Ziva didn’t like being held. Egg on their faces, isn’t it? She’s perfectly fine so long as you let her down when she wants down. That’s the way with most cats. They just have different tolerance levels. Ziva’s is notably higher than when we got her, yes, so did we teach her this felt okay?
The de-institutionalisation of cats: a thesis for a DVM.
So I’m going to continue to teach Ziva that home is home and she can be herself here, if you don’t mind. Maybe you will be lucky enough to meet her someday.