Fishy is four! Today is Fishy’s birthday… or at least we think it is! She was found as an orphaned kitten and her birthdate was estimated as four years ago today.
I had an awesome cat growing up that kind of found our family… she started hanging out around our house and the flea infested kitty my mom wouldn’t let in the garage quickly turned into the healthy, fluffy cat that slept in bed with me, went on walks with us in the neighborhood, and spent a lot of days rolling around in the giant catnip plant at the end of our driveway. Her name was Fiona, and she was there while I grew up for most of my 18 years at my parent’s house. She passed away after a very long and very happy life just a few months after I went away to college.
After that I always knew I wanted to adopt my own cat one day. For the record, we had dogs growing up too! One of them, Olive, is still alive! She also happens to be obsessed with cats - utterly in love with them. But I knew that the level or responsibility that came with a cat was something I could manage sooner… and so I set my heart on adopting a cat as soon as possible. College and roommates and moving constantly didn’t make for a time in my life where I could adopt a cat. I did, however, have an extensive Pinterest board called ‘I want a cat.’
I graduated college from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in Spring 2017, and moved to Davis to attend UC Davis for a Master’s degree in the Summer of 2017. I moved into my 620 square foot studio, and a week later found myself at the pet store down the street where the Yolo SPCA was having an adoption event. I spent over an hour talking to the foster families of all the kittens there that day, moving down the line of carriers and cages meeting each kitten that was there. The last kitten I picked up was named Emily. She was grey, and spunky and playing with a toy and meowing. The first time I picked her up, she put her paws on my cheeks and licked my nose. I cried. I fell in love. I adopted her, and her too large ears and paws, and renamed her Fishy… an inside joke for another story.
Fishy has been the best first pet of my adult life I could have asked for. That first year of living in my studio apartment, she spent so much time at the table with me while I was studying. She was my emotional support for what turned out to be one of the mots difficult years of my life. She developed a habit of sleeping on my shoulders like a scarf, or on the table in my arms, in the space between my chest and the keyboard of my laptop. Even as she grew to full size, she still loves sitting on my shoulders or getting a piggy back ride.
Since I adopted her… Fishy has been too smart for her own good. Her favorite toys are these little mice that rattle when you shake them. She gets the zoomies and wants you to throw them - sometimes she returns with a pretty decent back and forth of fetch! She carriers her toys around in her mouth a lot, usually looking for a place to hide them. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to put a shoe on and there’s one or more of Fishy’s mousies hiding inside. Fish is very vocal - she meows and talks a lot! Her favorite past times lately are crashing my zoom calls during work, and bird watching and sunbathing in the windows with Chip. She’s an excellent jumper - one favorite nap spot is above the cabinets above the fridge, or my box of scarfs in the closet, or my lap while I work.
Her bottle fed baby tendencies are always coming out… she’s very good at carrying things in her mouth, but also grabs and holds things with her paws a lot - including food. Fishy might actually be a dog. I regret that I didn’t have more time when she was a kitten to train her beyond sit, paw and lay down… because she will do anything for food. We have to child lock the cabinet where the cat food is so she can’t break in and eat it all. Leaving bags of food out on the counter in our house is a total no-no. She’s notorious for having stolen lots of chicken wings, a full piece of brisket, a bbq rib, popcorn, peanut butter, milk, and more.
I never knew a pet I loved so much could have such a full personality until I adopted and loved Fishy. Above all, my favorite thing is that without fail, every night, she hops up on my side of the bed and waits for me to lift the covers so she can settle in next to me with her head in my arm and face tucked in next to mine. We cuddle all night. And without fail, I wake up to her there in the morning, begging for breakfast.
Happy 4th birthday to my food stealing, talkative, cuddly, perfect cat. I truly don’t know what I did to deserve so much unconditional love.