Gypsy is my calico cat I adopted on October 28th, 2011. She is the light of my life and one of my best, dearest friends in the world.
I first found her – or rather, she found me – two days before I brought her home. One night my boyfriend and I walked into Petsmart to look at cats in an attempt to put off homework, and we sat there for a good half hour just watching the six or seven cats in the isolated glass room play around. They were being sponsored there for a few days by HALO, and they were all happy to be out of their cages and were bouncing around in the enclosed room we sat outside of.
After a little while of seeing the other wild cats play I noticed one little kitty hiding under the cages, watching the happenings of her cagemates with big eyes. She looked so scared, so lost. The lady who was there feeding them said she had been to several other homes already and had most likely been badly abused. Somewhere along the line of hearing her story and watching the way that little girl looked around at the room from her shelter, I fell in love. Even before I left the store that day I made up my mind – that cat was going to be mine. And her name – as a reference to the number of homes she had been in by the age of two years and partly as a reference to the Disney character Esmerelda who stood for strength and healing – would be Gypsy. (Rain is my favorite girl’s name and is the name of a character in my favorite movie.)
So much has changed since she first crept out of her carrier and slunk around my room for the first time, frightened and unsure. She told me so much about her past life during that first week, by bolting away from me in terror if I made any sudden movement or flinching in fear if I raised my hand too quickly to brush the hair out of my face. She didn’t leave my room for eight days. I couldn’t pick her up and hold her for at least a month.
When she got hungry, she crept to her food bowl and would quickly and sadly eat as though she wasn’t sure about its abundance. I remember when I gave her wet food for the first time; she was so happy and astounded she ate like she had never eaten before. (My boyfriend and I were in hysterics as we watched her eat an entire can without pausing for breath.) She was curious about her surroundings, no doubt, but she wanted to hide more than she wanted to explore at first. Her eyes were constantly worried, and every now and then I caught her looking up at me with upmost confusion.
Now when I lift my hand and offer it to her, she thrusts her nose into my palm and begs to be petted. She loves getting her cheeks and her chin scratched, and she willingly (!) rolls over on her back so I can rub her tummy when she’s half-asleep. She walks all over the house now, though she doesn’t really come downstairs unless I’m there with her.
We have routines now. Every single morning she wakes me up so I can open the blinds for her so she can look out at the world. If I sleep in too late she gets pissed off and starts eating my calendar, thus getting me out of bed to shoo her away from it. She follows me downstairs when I make breakfast and waits patiently as I bitch to her about how I don’t want to go to work (or school, or wherever) or listens to me talk to her about socks, or watermelons, or whatever it is I’ve decided to talk about at seven in the morning. She’ll then walk over to the staircase where she will stay at the bottom of the stairs and look out the window, though that is prone to change if I have chicken (I need to eat a lot of food in the morning). She follows me upstairs to where I eat and begs, knowing fully well that she gets a piece only when she stops begging. (She is also prone to beg for bacon, pork, tortellini, pizza, and silk milk).
When I leave the house, she raises her head until I kiss her goodbye. When I come back, she runs to the top of the stairs to greet me and lets me pick her up and kiss her until she’s squirming to be free.
She sleeps on my bed while I’m doing my homework or watching Family Guy online and dictates when I take a break so I can play with her. Our most important and sacred routine, however, is her wet food time. Every evening around 5 o’clock I give her a third of a can of wet food – something she absolutely lives for. She follows me downstairs and mews continuously as I fix it for her, then happily runs up the stairs with me and meows without stopping until I put it down next to her water bowl. Every night. And she knows when it’s time for it, too. Just like she knows what time she needs to come in my room and sit on my computer and tell me to go to sleep.
It’s so hard to believe how much she has transformed in the months I’ve had her. Looking back at the night I met her now, I saw what she could be when she was hiding under those cages, terrified. And I am so happy that what I saw – a happy, healthy little creature living life to its fullest – has become reality for her.
We are exactly the same, the two of us, and I think that’s why I love her so much. We were both previously scared of the world, previously abused, previously trusting absolutely no one for fear of getting hurt again. Somehow we both found enough faith to let our walls come down. And somehow, somehow we found each other in these insane lives we’re living.
My life tends to get crazy a lot – especially during the school year – and I constantly take on more than I can handle and I’m constantly battling stress and homework and work and people and sickness but one thing is for sure: as long as I have my little Gypsy to come home to every night and as long as I get to have her look up at me with so much love in her eyes, I wouldn’t have it any other way.