The fluffy white fur on her belly, her backside, her tail. The silly noises she makes as she bounds through the house, in full abandon to the joys of the yellow ball, the pink ball, the turquoise jingle balls. She’s a silly, squeaky, cuddly joy.
Most of the time.
Sometimes, the nibbles on my legs, while I’m in a conference call or doing yoga in the living room, are not so delightful. Painful. I blow on her face – more effective than a squirt bottle! – and she looks at me with annoyance and then scampers off.
Bounding, bouncing, skidding across the composite wood floors. Crashing into her cat tree. Leaping up, skipping high into the air. Laughing in her catty way. Narrowing her eyes and glaring back at me, saucily, then the slow eyelid drop to say “I love you” in her cattish way. Forgiveness, I suppose?
This is Lady Stardust McKittyton Pike, the fluffy gray furball who scampers through this apartment, day, and night, still enjoying the youth of her four and a half years. We’ve been friends since the moment we met. My husband and I found an ad for a kitten, with pictures, and we were ready. Her fluffiness and snarky facial expression drew me to her. When we went to that home on the outskirts of Chicago to meet her and see if we’d get along, I knew. She knew.
She came out from beneath the couch. She played, bounced, and cuddled. Her siblings ran and hid. Her tiny – runt – self, claimed me. Claimed Matt. We were hers and she was ours. Is ours. Are hers.
This little fuzzy mess of emotions, more expressive than any other cat I’ve ever met, more personable than any other cat I’ve ever met, curls at my feet each night on the bed. But only if there’s a white blanket folded neatly and placed carefully there. Not white? She won’t curl up.
While I work at my standing desk or sit on my Swiss ball at the folding desk, Stardust weaves her way through my legs, rubbing, rubbing, teasing me with her furry beauty. She wants my attention! But if I lean down to pat her for more than a mere second, she scampers off again or scratches the hand that feeds her. Saucy minx! Er, is that lynx? (She does sometimes give the impression she believes herself a much larger beast. And those tufts of fur tipping her ears…)
My little gray sand cat. Puffs of fluff between the toe beans. A sticky tongue that exfoliates my face after a run. And her purring warm body while I hold her close to my chest as I pour water into the kettle for tea each morning. She loves showing off her friends outside the sliding glass door. Squirrels come and touch their paws to hers on the window. Skunks come and chatter with her at night. Birds tease her and bounce across the patio, fearless.
She’s one of a kind. She’s mine. And I’m hers. And even for all the nipping and scratches that come when miscommunication falls, I wouldn’t change a moment I’ve had with this joyous little squeaky toy God brought into our lives.
Love readings and performing arts? We’ve got a few more for you!
And bonus – a poem about Lady Stardust – The Cat’s Value
Editor-in-Chief of The MockingOwl Roost, Rita Mock-Pike is the granddaughter of aviatrix, Jerrie Mock, first woman to pilot an airplane solo around the world. Rita has found inspiration from her grandmother’s life and flight and pursued many of her own dreams in theatre, podcasting, novel writing, and cooking up delicious food from around the world. She now writes on food, travel, pets, faith, and the arts. She’s happily married to Matt, and faithfully serves the very fluffy kitten queen, Lady Stardust.