A black cat laying on top of a sleeping older woman

Izzi curls up on Mom every night at bedtime.

The last truly nice thing my father did for my mother was getting her our cat from the shelter.

I should pause and give a bit of background, here–my father was not a nice man. He was an abusive, insecure son of a bitch, who would hit me if he didn’t like what I had to say. I’m still pretty screwed up.

He died in February of this year, and my feelings on the matter are… incredibly mixed.

But, like I said, the last truly nice thing he did for my mother was to let her get the cat. She’s a gorgeous animal; black, with a splotch of white at her collarbone. Sadly, our cat is the most skittish animal we’ve ever owned. We’re pretty sure she’s been abused. She is afraid of almost everyone; sometimes she gets scared of me, and I live at home, so she’s used to what I do and how I act.

She’s also incredibly sweet. She loves to be petted–on her terms, thank you very much–and she has the sweetest little meow, in this tiny voice. She still trills like a kitten. To say I love this cat is an understatement. When Dad and I brought her home from the no-kill shelter on Valentine’s Day in 2010, he and I actually had a very pleasant discussion in the car… even if I thought he’d kill all three of us with his reckless driving.

It took us about a week to name her. I suggested Bast, after the Egyptian cat goddess. Dad really liked the name, but Mom decided on Izzibella, the Queen of Dormont. After Dad gave her the concussion and she left (I’d been gone for about three months at that point, because he’d hit me and I’d finally hit him back), the cat had to be left behind. It took about a week before Mom could get Dad out of the house long enough to get poor Izzi and boarded her while Mom stayed with her deathly allergic sister. Once she found an apartment, she got the cat out of the pet hotel and brought her home.

At this point I was still living with friends, so I’m not sure how long it took for the cat to acclimate to the new conditions. I do know that she was underweight when Mom brought her home. To this day, the cat gets one can of food a day, with kibble to supplement her diet. She’s not a fat cat because of it, either. She’s svelte and beautiful.

When I moved in last year in late December, the cat and I had a fast bonding process. Mom had gone to visit my brother’s family in Atlanta before having her hip replaced in early January, so I was her sole caretaker for a fair bit of time. Even though she was less afraid of me because of that, I still didn’t see her often. She would do what we’d call “purrito”–crawl into Mom’s bed between the quilt and the sheets and hide there. She doesn’t do it much, if at all, anymore, and for that I’m thankful. I trust that it means she’s more comfortable, despite two moves in less than a year, my other brother coming to stay on and off for a month and a half, and most recently, the house being “invaded” by a team of maids.

I’m not sure why I’m writing this. I think it’s because I needed to write something, and cats are pretty darn cool. Maybe this will help me break my writer’s block!

Also, insomnia sucks. Just a random aside.

(Photograph taken with my cell phone, hence the crappy quality.  I have permission to use my mother’s photograph on the internet.)

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