I understand. It is a cat. It is not a kid and honestly to some it is not even a family member. They will say in time another animal can start to replace him/her/it.
I am not sappy. I am not weak. That said, our relationship was just not simply that.
To all my animal addicted friends, to all my confused friends who cannot grasp these bonds, to all those in the middle… let me tell you my story.
I got Mia (aka Princess, aka the cat in this story) when I was a young, bright, slightly biased 22 year old. She was a barn kitty, so she was the size of my palm when we met. I know it is rare today to get them that young, but for us, total love at first sight. I even remember the first week I had her, I fell asleep with her by my chest (my grandmother told me it helps them feel comforted and loved), and I woke up at 3am frantically stressed that I had rolled over on her. I legit could feel myself giving her kitty CPR as I prayed I didn’t suffocate her. At that moment, I knew I was scared to death to be a mother, but excited as hell for the challenge. Feline, and children later.
We started what was clearly destined to be an amazing life together. We lived in different apartments, different zip codes, different houses, short periods with my beloved grandmother, grad school, a marriage, a divorce, first jobs, first losses, corporate business life chaos, entrepreneur life, many all-nighters, and that’s merely a sampling of highlights…
“my feline changed me”
In 2010 I got diagnosed with my first brain aneurysm. I always suffered from migraines and really didn’t know what I was in for, but what could I do. That surgery, as unplanned as it came, changed alot of our life directions. Shortly after recovery, I decided to leave public accounting and look for the American dream. I also got pregnant and miscarried quickly, due to developing pleurisy and not being stable after surgery. The child loss was hard mentally for then my biggest dream was to have a family. For some reason though, Mia was never a sleeper. She spent every moment I was awake with me during the time. We would be at offices, couches, lounges, desks, beds, wherever…she was always close by. During each recovery, physical or mental, she laid in those beds with me, next to my head just staring at me, letting me know it would be ok, letting me know chill now, but never forget that we still had a world to conquer.
In 2015 we took a big leap. We started the first churn buildout. I had no contracting background but wanted to be on site and asssiting as much as possible. I made so many mistakes, learned a lot of lessons, and spent countless hours not at home. I even adopted another cat at the time, mainly to friend Mia and keep her busy, and frankly the new addition was adorable. Somehow though, after churn opened and things got slightly better with me having time on the home front, that cat addition mysteriously died. She was young and I got home one night around 9pm. After 18 months together, Mia and her were playing, sort of. All the sudden they both went into the kitchen and I heard a bang. Mia walked out (somewhat not bothered) but the other cat didn’t. I’ll never forget walking into the kitchen and Desi (other cat) was there, definitely not in good shape. I rushed her to the vet but she had a heart tumor since birth that took her early from us. Mia was sad for a bit, but we carried on and returned to the dynamic duo plan for a bit.
As we continued, I started more businesses and pushed every boundary I met. Over those years I was diagnosed with a blood disease that put me on blood thinners for life, continued annual scans, suffered from chronic migraines, and dealt with some other crazy health tests and surgeries of my strength. We made it through though.
In 2018 though, I received the worst news yet.
My doctor revealed that my new diagnosis would change another life path. My new diagnosis with the combined blood disease and aneurysms would make having children impossible. After further consultations and testing, they determined now my risk was too high to even consider; if I did a C-section I would likely clot and bleed out…yet if I did natural measures the pressure on my head could easily could blood vessel issues with at best a stroke resulting quickly. Would I really want to bring a child into the world already motherless? Who is forced to even consider the option? Mia downtime strongly needed.
Think what you will, but I hibernated from the world for awhile after that news. I come from an Italian family, I am the only girl among male cousins, and my grandmothers would not take the news well, as this was a topic we discussed often. I knew Mia had my heart, but after that week, she had a piece of my soul…perhaps the niave part that still thought somehow big life things would somehow be fair.
Moving forward, if anything I became more business minded. Read more books, visited more places, tested new limits and dedicated myself to leaving a legacy another way, as having children was no longer an option. Mia spent countless nights with me on my laptop screen, chasing the pointer around and moving and adding keystrokes when able, both targeting the goal of our future denomination. It may not be a human companion, but it is still a life, relying on you for food, shelter, love and for all I know, inspiration. As we progressed Mia had somewhat of a human element to me. She was even my alarm clock for the last seven years, waking me up between 4:05 and 4:15 daily, using the ten minutes as a buffer relying on how organized I got myself the night before as the determinant.
In 2020, things got ugly for me. I got diagnosed with 2 more aneurysms and needed a craniotomy, and oh yea, covid hospital rules. I will not sugar coat, it was about an 8-hour surgery that I assume claimed some years of my life in the long run. I made it through, and had a painful 3 month recovery. I set up a room pre-surgery though, prepared a special spot in case Mia wanted to visit, and boom…every minute, every hour, everyday she sat by my head on a pillow possibly making sure I was breathing. She didn’t retreat until my therapy was over and I was mobile again. In my heart, I believe I am on borrowed time. I have already survived 3 brain aneurysms, it doesn’t happen. I think during that recovery she spent watching me, maybe Mia traded some of her time in to add to mine. Deep down I think I will always believe that.
In 2021, I found out I have another aneurysm, very small now, but something that will be devasting with growth. It will take at least part of my sight when surgery is needed.
I also realized at that time part of my hair would never grow back. I remember looking in the mirror, not necessary upset, then looking at Mia and realizing she had been much more polite and cooperative at grooming and brushing rituals, as of saying brush it out mom, you can have it. She was a giver. An intuitive selfless giver.
The truth is, maybe yes, maybe no, but I doubt I will incur another cat who astounds me the way Mia did. Every year I grew more from my comfort zone, she did. No dogs mom. We get a dog, and after one month in hiding she not only acceptive of the dog, but frankly kept her in check for me as much as possible. Stares, squeaks, paw swats…whatever was needed to remind the dog who was in charge. She started exploring outside. She started chasing birds. She started going for walks with me. She enjoyed sunbathing on the patio. She became so cosmopolitan. She lived for the moment.
Cat turn to human? well maybe not physically, but that amazing bitch had a soul like no other.
As my TriBuTe to her, which will be for the rest of my days…but especially this year…
I typically start each year energized, excited and intending to crush new goals. Whether you claim my last seven years have or have not been, I can promise you 2023 is absolutely going to blow your mind, fan or not. I will dedicate it to my best friend, my partner in crime, my lifeline some days…
"feel the true power feline friends can provide."
As I start everything I plan to get into this year, I will be dedicating it to her. I am already intense, but with her as my angel now, if you are an obstacle, I will find a way through; if you are a barrier, I will find a way over; if you are a competitor, good luck; if you are a fan, enjoy the intensity and growth; and finally, if somehow you are just a grieving feline owner as myself…my heart breaks for you.
“my angel came with fur on her wings”