Eightest and greatest

Every time I write my annual Gotcha Day post for Layla, I always breathe a little sigh of relief. Whew, we ended up doing a lot of cool things together this year, Layla. I hope we’re as lucky next year so I have something to blog about. I mean, let’s be honest. She’s a cat. It’s not like we’re hitting major milestones here. But somehow, I’m always able to recall an experience or behavior that’s worth sharing. (Not everybody’s this good at dreaming up new content about an old animal. The Cat Lady Force is strong with me.) Getting a photo together that’s worth a sliver of a darn is…more of challenge. Hence the one-week lateness of this post.

If lucky year seven was about upheaval and transformation, the eightest and greatest year was about planting roots. About settling in, bunkering down, and getting comfortable where we were planted.

And nothing said “we are committed to our new lives here” louder than Sean’s entry into grad school. Not long after your seventh Gotcha Day, Layla, he started working on his MBA, which meant we got to spend many a night alone together while he was in class. I’m the last person who’d ever complain about “me” time, but it was still nice to have a chatty, kitty-friend around while I busied myself at home. Particularly during the cold, dark months of winter. And boy, were there plenty of those!

Our first winter in Boston was one for the history books. (Literally.) For nearly four months, we all watched in awe as blizzard upon blizzard upon blizzard dropped dumped fat flakes of snow from the sky. You’ve never been particularly fond of the cold (even enduring the indignity of pet-sized sweaters over the chill of 20°F) but you somehow managed just fine. Perhaps our comfy laps, snug blankets, and warm cuddles helped. (The worst thing about summer is the lack of cuddles #truth.)

But we didn’t spend all our time together. In fact, one of my favorite cat lady moments happened when we were apart. I went on a river cruise four months ago with a number of more…mature ladies, so naturally, our conversations regularly turned to our kitties. On the second-to-last day of my trip, one of the travelers that I’d bonded with came up to me and said, “I bet you’re excited to go home tomorrow and see your cat.” She knew very well that you weren’t the only one waiting for me in Boston, Layla, but I appreciated her priorities.

You’ll be on your own again in just 2 days when we leave for Africa, but you’ll be in capable, cat-loving hands while we’re away. And if you’re really good, maybe we’ll bring home a big-cat friend for you to play with. But no matter how many cats I meet, I’ll always give you all the credit for bringing out the crazy. Happy eighth Gotcha Day, Layla.

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Lucky year seven

On Sunday we celebrated Layla’s seventh Gotcha Day. (And by “celebrated,” I mean we patted her on the head, took a picture with her, and wondered if maybe it was time for us to start buying senior cat food.) I can’t believe my little sugarpie (<—–an actual name that I call her on the reg) has been in my life for seven years! Layla’s not like any other cat my family has ever owned. She’s dog-like in that she’s sweet, playful, and loves her people, but she’s also all cat — a totally unpredictable weirdo who often acts like royalty.
layla_weirdoI was a little nervous about how she was going to handle our move earlier this year. You hear stories all the time about cats moving thousands of miles away from home with their owners and then walking all the way back from whence they came. (I mean, duh, Homeward Bound.) When we decided to move to Boston, I worried that Layla would be one of those cats. But she has coped spectacularly well.

I should’ve known she’d be a champ as soon as we started driving. The vet gave us a good stock of tranquilizers before we left and they worked well enough, but they gave Layla such crazy eyes that I couldn’t stand to look at her. We didn’t want to overdo it, and she ended up behaving surprisingly well without them, so we only used them on day one. (She was actually completely quiet and content when we let her ride in her litter box. It’s disgusting that she spent the better part of two days lounging in her poo, but whatever.)

She had to be boarded for a couple of weeks while we waited on our apartment, and she absolutely loathed that (Sean even had to go into the “Employees Only” area once to get her out of her cage because she was being so ornery) but she thought hotels were the most exciting places ever. She was like a little kid on vacation — leaping from bed to bed, crawling all over the furniture, and drinking water straight from the faucet.
cat_travelShe’s taken to our apartment just as easily. As expected, her favorite feature is the bay window. She spends hours watching the people meander along the busy street outside (and freaking out when cars honk for absolutely no reason — an all-too-regular occurrence, I’m afraid). She’s had to adjust to the lack of air conditioning, but, like all of us, she’s learned to appreciate leather upholstery and a strong fan. She tends to be a weenie about cold weather, so it’ll be interesting to see how she handles September through April (when I say “cold weather” concerning Layla, I mean anything below 65). It’s a good thing her cat-grandma bought her a couple of sweaters before we moved.

In the five-and-a-half months that I’ve been working from home, Layla has been my saving grace. She’s turned an ear when I’ve needed someone to talk to, cuddled when I’ve been upset, and indulged me when I’ve felt playful. I’m so, so grateful for that cat. Happy Gotcha Day, my sweet puddin’ head (<—–another name I call her daily). Mama loves you!
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