If you read much of any of my social media, you've probably figured out that I have a new cat in the family.
What I haven't talked about much is how we also lost a kitty. My James Bond Villain cat died. She was a wonderful cat, and I didn't plaster it all over town because I didn't feel like it was anyone's place to know but me.
I hurt so much that I had a very difficult time with the whole "moving on" thing. People sort of expected me to be able to just get up and move on like I had when I was younger. For those of you wondering, when I was younger, my cats were never quite the same part of my life. Those cats were indoor, outdoor cats, and they never had the same level of affections. They were obligations, meat machines to be properly fed and watered with the occasional pet, but Villain cat was different. She sat with me when I read books. She slept next to me at night. She patiently waited while I worked on my master's degree and then later when I sifted through all manner of research. She waited up with me when the baby was crying. She was like a presence in my house that I had come to take for granted.
And at first, the hardest thing was to think about another cat. My other cat roamed the house yowling all night long. He had always done this, but only for a few minutes a night. After the death of Villain Cat, he roamed the halls singing the songs of his people at all hours.
It was clear, we would need to get another cat, because the companionship alone was killing my kitteh, and he was making sure we all knew his suffering. But whenever I met new cats, cats looking for a new home, I just couldn't attach myself to them. They felt like shoddy replacements, and I was definitely struggling with the too soon problems. I clung desperately to the memory of how Villain Cat and I had met, the only thing in the world that she wanted was out of that cage, and anyone would do. By the graces of luck, it had been us, and she had changed our life.
And then we found Jack.
He snuggles on my daughter's lap and climbs the curtains. He ate the edit letter from a revise and resubmit. He ate the chicken right off our plates when we looked away for a second. He's so very different from Villain cat, it's funny. My other cat, Tea Thief, loves him too.