About a month before I moved to Canada in 2000, I had to put down my beloved cat, Colonel Mustard. He was declared extremely sick on a Monday and I said goodbye to him on Tuesday. I loved Colonel Mustard like no other cat I’ve ever had. He kept me company through the loneliest, most difficult times of my life up to that point. He was an orange tabby and his personality was the best I’d ever seen in a cat.
We had quite a few cats through my childhood and quite a few got squished, since we let them outdoors and we always seemed to live on major four-lane roads. So, I was no stranger to cats dying, but Colonel Mustard’s sickness and having to make the decision to put him down was the hardest on me.
When I moved to Canada, Matt and I decided that we’d get a second cat together. He already had a cat named Delta - a sweetheart, but she was very attached to him and didn’t appreciate my finer qualities in the way that Matt did - he welcomed my moving in; she did not. Just after Christmas that year, we took a little trip to the OSPCA shelter. We looked for a grey cat. I wanted a solid grey cat so that our new cat would be very different from my Colonel Mustard.
As we walked around the room of floor-to-ceiling cages filled with cats, it seemed that all the solid grey cats were already spoken for. Not that the other cats weren’t lovely - they were - but after losing the Colonel, I wanted a different cat. Different look. Different personality.
At one point, Matt tapped me on the shoulder, I turned and he pointed at a cage that was tucked into the corner, so no one was paying attention to the cat in it - a beautiful grey cat. Years later we decided she must be a Russian Blue (with a healthy dose of mutt), though she’s a lot rounder. When she’s a normal weight, she (mostly) has that sleek look of a Russian Blue.
Delta was even less impressed about this cat’s arrival than she was about mine. There was hissing, spitting and even a bit of growling from a cat that was usually pretty quiet and laid back. Eventually, they got used to each other and we decided on a name for the new grey cat. We christened her Sigma after deciding to continue on with our Greek theme. (We had three fish - Alpha, Beta and Pi. Alpha and Beta were actually beta fish, Pi was a catfish.) Delta had actually been named after the airline, because I spent so much time on their planes while I was still living in Florida and visiting Matt up here.
For the first few weeks of Sigma’s life with us, we had to feed her warm, canned cat food. There is nothing in the world more disgusting than cat food - until you warm it up. She was underweight and had a respiratory infection, so warming it up made it smellier so she would eat it, despite her clogged noggin. Once she recovered, we 86ed the canned food for good, but we quickly realized that this poor dumpster kitty thought we weren’t going to feed her regularly. If her food dish was empty, she would yell at us.
Yes, cats can yell. Well, Sigma can yell. We’d walk in the door after work and she’d practically scream at us that her bowl was empty. If our breathing changed in the morning, she started more softly, but the yelling was never far behind. Because overnight, that bowl got emptied. And if it was emptied, it need to be filled again.
Loudest. Cat. Ever.
Except she’s also the sweetest cat ever, too. So sweet that she will lick every bit of hair product off of Matt’s head, leaving his hair sopping wet. She loves being petted, especially by people who don’t like cats. She jumps right up into their laps when they come for visits. See? A total sweetheart.
For all her annoying habits (even the yelling), she really is such a nice cat. And it’s seriously adorable how she curls up next to Matt every night in bed. ;)
This post was based on the prompt “Your pet’s least likable character trait.” from Mama Kat’s writing workshop