As I write, there is a special location here at my writing nook. It is a rectangular space between the keyboard and the end of of the table. Here sits a fuzzy, comfy blanket. It is covered in cat hair. It is the home and throne of Wesley, my cat.
Or rather, I am his human.
-Here he is, cleverly subverting the “No Cats on the Counter” rule.
When he came into my life, Wesley, or Bandit as he was known then, had a rough childhood. He was found abandoned with his littermates, all freshly born, left in a box over night outside of a animal care facility in the middle of winter. The winter was punishingly cold, and only he survived out of all his siblings.
The next few weeks were touch and go, as he had to be fed by bottle, without a cat mother to take care of him. He was very sickly, falling prey to many illnesses. Eventually, a brave foster mom stepped in to take care of him, taking him home with her.
Bandit stayed with her for some time, growing stronger and recovering. The foster mom did her best to make sure he was healthy and loved. In time however, she had to let him go. She had a medical condition that made it difficult for her to take care of him, so reluctantly, she had to find him another foster parent.
My wife had made his acquaintance and felt that we could handle him until he was adopted. I can clearly remember the day he arrived, his foster mom was busy giving my wife his medicines and food and one or two of his favorite toys and other information about his needs. I was standing in the kitchen drinking a coffee when he cautiously peered from around the corner. He was so small.
I heard the foster mom warn us that he was afraid of men.
We stared at each other for a moment.
That warning suddenly seemed unimportant.
We became inseparable. He followed me wherever I went. He would jump, often at the most unexpected moments straight up and into my arms. At night, he would sit on the bed with us and just wait, wait for one of us to crack an eye open at him. Then he would pounce. More then a few times, the giggling of one of us would wake the other.
Then, one day, his old foster mom called. She had recently been given new medication and wanted to adopt Bandit. She had fallen in love with him. I don’t blame her, it was a very easy thing to do.
When she came back for him, he was sitting upstairs with me on my bed. He was holding me and I was holding him. We do that sometimes. His foster mom was so excited. I was becoming increasingly sad. I looked at him for a while, then I said very quietly, so quietly that only he could hear, “I love you.”
He gently placed his paw on my face.
I picked him up and took him downstairs, and she left with him.
I was depressed for a long while after that.
Some time later, I had finally come to terms with his absence. I could now freely walk around the house without being jumped on at random. I no longer heard his querying chirp whenever he saw me after a long period of time. I was resigned.
His adopted mom phoned us. Her medication was not working. Crying, she told us that she had to return Bandit to us. She loved him, but she had to let him go. As I once did.
Bandit returned to us and he immediately leapt into my arms. His mother said a tearful goodbye and left. The house was quiet for a moment. It was just he and I, it seemed.
I turned to my wife and said, “I can’t let him go again.” There was a tear in my eye.
She smiled, and said, “I kind of thought so.”
We adopted Bandit shortly thereafter. Wesley became his new name. It suited him more, it felt.
We are rarely apart. Even as I write. he rests between me and my keyboard. Sometimes, he grooms himself, sometimes he sleeps, offtimes, he watches me as I write.
I promised him, my cat, my friend, a lifetime of love. A lifetime of peace. A lifetime of adventure.
-But mostly this is what we do.