Without apology, I must issue fair warning: if you’re one of those people who hates stories from animal-lovers, stop reading now. Come back tomorrow.
That said, to those of you who still remain – Loooooooook:
Eleven years ago today, as I sat at my desk in the now defunct post house on Sunset Boulevard working away, a call came in to our office:
“There are cats in the kitchen.”
“Cats in the kitchen?”
“Yes, B’s wife is here with kittens; she’s giving them away.”
I paused for no more than the count of three. I knew I wanted a cat, but had been waiting to make sure I wouldn’t be moving any time soon. My fantasy of meeting Prince Charming and being swept into his mansion had not come true in the 2 & 1/2 years since I arrived in L.A.; so I figured the danger of putting a furry little one through such an upheaval was slim to none.
Cats in the kitchen. Yes! I ran down the hall, down the stairs, down the other hall into the large kitchen that had hosted the likes of Robin Leach, his cigars, Garry Shandling and Phil (God Rest His Soul) Hartman. Everyone I saw was holding a kitten.
I rushed over to B’s wife, “Are there any left?”
“Yes, just one.”
“Aw, may I hold it?”
It was so small, it fit easily in the basket of my two hands, “Is this one a boy or a girl?” I had heard that male cats had behavior issues. I was raised with three female cats so the notion of a girl-kitty felt safest to me.
“She’s a girl; the only girl in the litter.”
“Is she taken?”
“Nope, she’s available.”
“I’ll take her!”
Within hours it came to me, “I’ll call her Lily.”
On the way home that night, she sat on my lap under the steering wheel. I had to drop a colleague off, but after that, the first moment Lil’ and I were ever alone together I said to her, “It’s you and me, girl. You’re safe. I promise to take care of you for as long as we both shall live.”
She was so tiny & vulnerable back then.
Once she finally grew out of kittenhood & calmed down, I got to know the real Lily. I think she used to be a glue sniffer in her former life. The evidence? Although some of these behaviors are off limits to her now, her preference is to lick plastic and photos, and she’s most comfortable sleeping on paper, particularly newsprint.
We’ve celebrated all of her 11 birthdays . . . and while I do not delude myself that the ritual is for her, I will continue to find myself at the bakery every October 22nd in search of fresh cat-sized cakes.
I know her preference is Angel Food with whip cream from a can.
I also know she likes to sleep in dark places.
And she loves to be near our clothes.
In recent years, she’s become brave enough to peer outside, but she’s never willingly crossed the threshold.
Her world is here.