They say cats find you. You don't find them. I couldn't agree more. And so the story of Iggy Stardust begins.
Back in University I had spent an evening at the campus library toiling away (err...procrastinating...) on a Shakespearean essay. The library closed at midnight so I reluctantly packed up and headed back home at 12:01am. It was a lovely April evening, the air smelled like rotten mud and decaying leaves but when you've had such bitterly cold temperatures it's the welcome scent of Spring, thus Optimism.
Nobody was around, except for this little mew mew mew of a hidden kitty cat, somewhere amongst the bushes. Now my campus was small, and there weren't any pets allowed on campus, so off the get-go I realized this was likely a lost kitty. Sure enough I see some rustling in the shrubs and I catch a glimpse of a medium-haired white and orange tabby. Very shy.
45 minutes later, after jingling my keys, making kissy noises, shaking a plastic sandwich bag of ironic gold fish crackers, talking in a cat mom shrill baby "come heeeeere, come heeeeere" voice, out walks the lil muddied skinny character. Still nervous of me but somehow I manage to pick him up. He doesn't fight the arm-held squeezes. I feel his body relax. I walk him home in my arms. I'd never had a cat before, so I did what seemed instinctual, I set him up with some water, which he drank right away. I also tried to give him some food but he was a tad reluctant. That's fair. It was student tuna and not good for him any way. Now this was a Saturday night and the Humane Society didn't open until Monday. Obviously, I knew I'd be having a lil house guest for the next 48hrs so I made him a nice bed, on my bed. He turned out to be quite friendly, and had obviously at one time had a home, but he was really really skinny, like hip-bones a little exposed skinny, but still lovely, just straggly.
Over the next 48hrs i connected with this lil character, who I'd named "Puck" (hence the Shakespearean essay) something about him was just so endearing, and we bonded (naming him was likely my first mistake). My plan was to call home and tell my parents I'd be coming home with a cat at the end of the school year. Parents were reluctant, but you could tell in my mums voice that traveling home with a four legged friend was now an inevitability. I'd caught Cat Fever (though i still maintain through no fault of my own)
I took him to the Humane Society and told them that if nobody claimed him, I'd like to adopt him and pay them for all the vet fees etc. They said they'd call me in three days if nobody had claimed him. Turns out he was probably a year old and had been on his own for quite some time. I anxiously awaited the phone call telling me I could go pick up the little dude.
I get the call after only 24hrs. But it's not the call I wanted. The Humane Society vet tells me "Puck" is jaundiced, and in severe liver failure. They could try to medicate, but they couldn't guarantee quality of life. They said it's best to euthanize. The four worst words to hear. The vet said that often cats who are in dire straights will seek out humans they trust, and at least he had spent his remaining days in a warm place in a warm bed and that was a gift all its own. I thanked them and graciously hung up the phone with a chocked-up-quivering soon-to-be-shattered voice. I immediately started to cry. What a footprint he had left in my life. After only a weekend. At least I got to say good bye. At least he spent his last few nights pawing at my pen purring while I wrote my essay and not alone in the campus woods.
What followed was a gaping cat-shaped hole in my life. I then spent the rest of the summer researching, going to the library, thinking about all things feline.
Later that summer, I get an email.
It's a tail and old as time. University, someone discovers an abandoned cat wandering the apartment hallways. Friends take Hallway Cat in, Hallway Cat meets Resident male cat. After a week, Resident male cat goes in for routine dental clean, and passes away from bizarre complications. Soon after, friends discover Hallway Cat is pregnant. Resident Male Cat leaves a legacy.
So now I knew that there was a cat waiting for me when I got back for my last year of school. They sent me pictures of the litter, and said I'd be able to have first pick. They were born in late July, and I'd gotten to know them over a few months. Finally, it was time to take my kitteh home at Thanksgiving, a ginger girl, the only female of the litter who I named Iggy Stardust (Iggy for Iginla, and Stardust for obvious David Bowie inspired reasons)
Iggy would spend the next three years traveling with me, going back and forth on flights to Calgary, driving across the country, living in different apartments, being adorable. We went to visit my mum over Christmas three years ago, my mum, having said good bye to our elderly family dog at Thanksgiving, welcomed having a four legged friend around. Mum and Iggy immediately bonded more than usual, and so I said she could hang out there for another week. Well, another week turned into another week, turned into my mum getting Iggy a new adorable pink collar, and personalized tag, turned into another week. So Iggy's now a permanent resident my mums place, it just sort of happened naturally. She'd never had a cat before but Iggy is her constant companion and great therapy. I see her all the time, and it's funny because it's like she knows who I am. "Oh!! It's you! Hello. How are you? I'm having a great time here, check out my cat house, check out my shaky mice!" I've never felt sad about the natural adoption thats taken place because she's still in the family and she has daily if not hourly mew mew conversations with my mum who is always baking. I can hear her on the phone.
A few months later, I'd meet Doberdad who is ironically incredibly allergic to cats, so it's all worked out.
I love cats, they are amazing to observe and interact with. They each have such a distinct personality, and seem to do everything on purpose. If and when they do something that they didnt mean to, rather than look embarrassed for making a mistake, they simply act like they meant to do it. I love that about them. Theyre so unapologetic. I'd love to see Loki with one.
Without further adieu, I present to you Miss Iggy Stardust, whom I'd never have adopted if it wasn't for "Puck"