First, there was Seamus. My first independent, little buddy. I just moved home from London, was trying to live in my own apartment, and thought the perfect companion would be this prickly, warm, sleepy ball of snorts.
I wasn’t wrong!
For the first time in my life, I was trying to conquer anxiety and depression. Therapy and meds were a huge part of my recovery, but also the warmth of Seamus sleeping in my pocket. I remember the first time I felt his snoring, unconscious weight in my hand. The trust this little one had for me, and I promised that I would earn that trust every day.
Then, I had to move.
And, move again. And then, again. And finally, Seamus and I were able to settle long enough for me to bring in Axl, my first kitten, into the humble, life that Seamus and I were creating.
The first time I laid eyes on Axl and his siblings, I knew that I was ready to become a cat-mom. I had no idea what that meant, coming from a “dog family,” but I knew it was time, and it was the right decision. I wanted someone to come greet me at the door while I lived alone, and far from my family.
And home he came.
Axl was a huge, explosion of energy, with very sharp baby teeth and baby claws! We learned so much about each other, and quickly. (It turned out, I really was a cat-person). With all his energy, I always amazed at how gentle and cautious he was around Seamus – even though I never let them touch.
And, I thought that was it. Me, Seamus and Axl.
Me and my two boys, taking on Troy, NY.
But, that didn’t last long…
Soon, we needed to move again. A crazy landlord, and a cursed apartment nearly killing Axl three times, led me on another journey that prepared me for some of my most favorite years.
I got a new job.
I met James.
A man, who not only loved animals as much as myself, but who also was able to keep up with my need to care for them all.
And Seamus, Axl and Kristin, added James to another new home, until Seamus passed away early last year. While Axl and Seamus never played, they kept each other company all night while I slept, or while I was away. I have dozens of pictures of Axl sitting calmly outside Seamus’ home watching him as he ran on his wheel, or playing with his little, toy balls.
When tiny, little Seamus passed away, he left a huge hole in my heart and an emptiness in our home. He had been my cure and strength over years of great change and stress. And, I could tell that Axl felt it as I did. That someone in our family was missing. He would check out Seamus’ home a few times a day, which led to me feeling incredibly guilty anytime I needed to leave Axl for an extended period of time.
Months passed when finally, my friend (and boss) drove me to an animal shelter to pick out a new kitten – a friend for Axl.
In comes, Gaia.
Tying herself into my hair, wrapping herself around my neck and purring like she’s never been held in her life (she’s still the same). In a crazy, summer storm (true to her name), I brought her home to Axl who took to her in minutes, only hissing when she surpised him. A cuddlier, a chatter, a “must touch both her people when we watch a movie on the couch-er,” I truly felt as though our little family had come together.
It’s been almost a year since Gaia and James moved in with Axl and me. And, it’s been three years since Axl became my shadow – a true representation of my feelings, the good and the bad.
And, then, this summer we met Ollie.
To be continued…