My relationship with Stella is complicated as I’m sure many human/cat relationships are. Before Stella, I never lived with an animal who peed on something and made it feel like a personal attack. I didn’t live with animals who talked to me, told me they were frustrated, and honestly seemed to hate me in some moments. I never lived with an animal who seemed more like a teenager than an innocent, happy child.
I knew I loved Stella from the beginning though. A part of me always loved cats. Growing up, one of our neighbors never had a shortage of kittens and my best friend and I would go to their house and ask to play with them whenever a new litter arrived. We would hold them in our laps and I always tried to lure mine to sleep – its almond-shaped eyes shutting into soft, fuzzy slivers, and dreaming above a soft, pink nose. I asked my parents if I could keep one of the kittens several times, but I was out of luck every time.
Stella is the first cat I ever owned and when I look at pictures of Travis that day we picked her up from Animal Humane, it takes me back to that moment he looked so happy – a smile from ear to ear – about his new furry friend. We added her to our family before we were even engaged, but it always seemed like the three of us were in it for a lifetime.
Stella has since proven to be that complicated creature I mentioned earlier, but I wouldn’t change her. If she could speak English, I’m pretty sure she’d be that friend I’d go to for honest answers. She’d tell me if my outfit sucked, or if my breath smelled weird, or if I needed to just buck up and be braver some days. She would be the friend who admits she’s so over life, or adulting, or stupid people. And she wouldn’t be hateful about these things, just very honest. And if I felt broken, she would show her big heart that lives and beats underneath all her soft fur and blunt answers. I know, because she already does that. If I’m crying, she looks up immediately, will cross the room and jump up next to me. On multiple occasions, she has licked fresh, hot tears from my cheeks and purred by my ears until I felt better.
Stella is social – she’s our herding kitty who wants everyone in the same room as often as possible. She doesn’t like feeling left out and eventually won my one-and-only rule that she would never sleep in our bedroom. If we have friends over, she will sit on the floor in our circle as we play card games. If we are eating dinner, she will join us on a chair at the dining room table and listen to our conversations. She doesn’t beg for food as I’m pretty sure human dinner is beneath her, but she will be part of the meal.
Like most cats, she loves her windows, and boxes, and plastic bags. To Travis’ dismay, she likes catching spiders and mosquitoes. She loves toys with feathers and stuffed mice that rattle. She has her daily crazy time where she runs back and forth around the house for no reason at all.
But even if she is like most cats in many ways, she seems to be her own little cat self, too. She only purrs in our bed or when she’s wrapped up in soft blankets. She puts up with us giving daily nose kisses, and she will sit in front of me and squeak until she gets whatever it is she wants.
I always thought I was more of a dog person, but now that Stella – our little star – is part of our family, I know I’m a cat person, too. I suppose I always have been, and I wouldn’t change that.