On March 9th 2018 I wandered around a newly opened Petsmart that my friend worked at because she said they had a bunch of cats there. I had had to put my first cat Tamsin down the May before because of a genetic disorder that was killing her and though I knew I wanted to adopt another cat one day in my life I didn’t know when. A big part of me was afraid that the whichever new cat I adopted would end up having the same illness as Tamsin and I’d have to go through all of that again, and another part of me was worried because I loved Tamsin so much I didn’t know if I could love another cat again.
But when I walked into that Petsmart last year and walked by the cat area, a tall and skinny calico walked over to me from her small living area and rubbed herself against the glass near me and I knew I had to adopt her. I ended up walking around the pet store for half an hour first though, thinking over my decision, making sure it was the right one. When I finally decided it was I found out I didn’t have enough money for her (the adoption agency only took cash) so I had to rush to the bank and rush back to the pet store hoping she’d still be there, though the workers said they’d try to put her on hold for a little while for me. Luckily I was able to adopt her and I named her Cordelia, after one of the princesses in King Lear (so far all of my cats have had literary names).
I brought Cordelia home and it wasn’t an easy adjustment. My sister’s cat Fiyero was for lack of a better word jealous. Though he got along with Tamsin it was mostly because they came from the same litter and once Tamsin died Fiyero seemed to adjust fairly well to having the whole house to himself but now that Cordelia was here he was not happy. He sat outside her carrier and refused to let her out and stalked her throughout the house and hissed at her for the first few weeks she started living here. But they adjusted, and though Fiyero and Cordelia don’t exactly love each other they tolerate one another, or at least Cordelia does. Though a few months older Fiyero will always be a kitten at heart and chases and jumps on Cordelia all the time to try and get her to play which she is not interested in, I think she still remembers how mean Fiyero was to her when she was brought home and she’s still cautious of him. There are spats between them sometimes, my dad says a lot of the times it’s like watching two toddlers constantly getting in little fights and annoyances with one another but they manage to live. Cordelia usually jumps up somewhere high or hides in a closet or under a chair to get away from her very energetic brother.
Cordelia has brought so much joy into mine and my family’s hearts and one year later it’s amazing to see how much she’s adapted to our home. She was so afraid and skittish when she was first here (which I blame a lot on Fiyero) always hiding under beds and in closets and now she’s so present in the house. She always sneaks up on us in the house or twirls herself around our legs or sits up on the kitchen table when someone is sitting there. She used to run away and flinch at loud noises, and sometimes that happens when she gets on edge. I don’t know what her home life was like before I adopted her but based on how she reacts to some things I don’t think it was good. She was also so incredibly thin when I brought her home, so thin I could feel her ribs and back bone and, well, just look at the pictures below. Cordelia has certainly filled out!
I love Cordelia with all my heart and I was so afraid that wouldn’t be possible. She isn’t Tamsin, and no one will ever replace that quirky little tortoiseshell. But I love Cordelia for everything she is: how she sleeps at the foot of my bed or the top of my pillow, her funny hoarse little meow, how she jumps up like a little horse when she’d feeling affectionate, and how she has a spark of fire in her. She means so much to me that when I’ve told my dad when I move out one day the two conditions of the future place I live is that it must 1) be clean (no bedbugs or cockroaches please and thanks) and 2) must allow pets. Not that my dad wouldn’t love to keep Cordelia at home but I don’t know if Cordelia wants to be with Fiyero all the time (she’s a very patient girl).
My dad recently came back from a trip from Florida and he bought my sister and I a book called When You Love a Cat and he wrote an inscription to us which reads: “May you always have cats!” I hope I will always be lucky enough to have cats in my life, I know I am already lucky for both Tamsin and Cordelia.