Before I got a cat of my own, I wasn’t exactly what one would call a “cat person.” I’ve been allergic to cats my entire life, so I enjoyed them vicariously through memes and friends. It’s not that I didn’t like cats, I just found them intimidating. I approached cats the way I approached cool teens: They’re adorable, self-assured, and their unpredictability is terrifying. I was convinced they could smell my anxious energy.
All this to say, I wasn’t planning to get a cat the day I met my old gal, Kyle. But she’s the best spontaneous choice I’ve ever made.
When Her Cloudy Eyes Met Mine
I was on a lunch date when we drove past a sign that said, “cat adoption fair.” “I’ll just go in to look...It’ll just be a minute”, I said. “Just say hi to the cute 8-year-old with kidney disease and the weird eyes and be on my way.”, I said as I put down the adoption fee and asked when the soonest I could pick her up was. I knew nothing about cats or how I was going to work her into my life, but the second her slightly crossed eyes met mine, I was head over heels.
Anxious Kindred Spirits
They warned me it wouldn’t be easy. She had kidney disease and anxiety issues. But honestly, having been referred to as “difficult” or “a handful” most of my life, this just endeared her to me more. We were just two ladies that had lived a lot of experiences and needed an unconditional kind of love. It was meant to be. I zipped my small puffball into her carrier and drove her home.
How Kyle Became Kyle
Her name in the shelter was Savannah, which is so not Kyle’s energy. I debated for a while what to call her on the drive home. Olive, Mable, Penny were cute, but didn’t feel quite right. I liked Barbara, Ivy, and Lois until I realized I was just gravitating towards Batman characters. I settled on Selena Kyle because I loved Catwoman and thought she was mysterious and classy. That is until I took her home and heard her meow for the first time. In the kindest way, I could describe a sound a creature I love makes, it’s like a frog smoked tar cigarettes exclusively for forty years. She’s less a dame and more a broad. So like that, she became just Kyle. It fits.
Having a cat with particular health needs was time consuming, but also helped me learn how to take care of myself. Kyle needs water, I should hydrate too. I was a workaholic, but having a creature that needed me to come home and care for her forced me to rest. But because her symptoms aren’t visible, I started to think everything was a symptom of kidney issues. Was she sleeping too much or the regular cat amount? Is she peeing too much or too little, or do I just need to get a hobby and stop following my cat around? Fortunately, my vet eventually suggested PrettyLitter as a way I could monitor her kidney health without the costly diagnostic vet visits and anxiety.
PrettyLitter, Pretty Outlook
Using PrettyLitter improved our lives tremendously. I could keep track of her kidney health and stay on top of what she needed nutritionally. It was way less maintenance for me too.
Once I moved in with my boyfriend and his cat, we switched the household over to PrettyLitter because it just made sense. No heavy, bulky boxes of litter taking up space. It was one less thing to think about.
New Home, New Friends
Kyle now lives in a happy home with her step cat sister, Pharuhad. Pharu is her own fascinating story. A rambunctious one-eyed cat from Thailand who’s as affectionate as she is energetic. We’re in the process of introducing the girls, but Pharu’s eager curiosity is terrifying to a creature who can see about a foot in front of her, and whose anxiety is parallel to my own. Between the two of them they have one and a half good eyes. But we’re patient because it’s not a “project,” they’re a part of the family, and that means stepping up to make them feel comfortable. It won’t be overnight, but it’ll be so worth it when we aren’t playing cat swap across rooms. I’m not holding out hope for cuddling but if it happens my squeal will break the sound barrier.
It’s a little extra work to make her feel comfortable. Both in the new situation and on a general day to day basis. Playtime usually means moving a toy in a small radius around her, within paws’ reach. Keeping her soft cotton-like Himalayan fur from tangling is a process that involves drive-by brushings for moments at a time before she’s overstimulated. Loving Kyle means loving her on her terms, something that I’ve not only related to, but applied to my own life. In learning to take care of her, I learned how to take better care of myself.
This post was written by Vanessa Gritton.