*This post is part of a series profiling the animals in our lives. Please click the tag at the bottom to view other profiles.
My Pretty Miss Nala has been a part of our family for a long time. Richard came home one day in the spring of 2004, holding his hands behind his back and asked me to guess what he had. On the second try, I asked “An animal?”
I often call her our “best pet” because she’s ridiculously well-behaved. If there ever were a polite animal, she is one, but she’s not beyond scolding me with her signature “Mrrrrap Mrrrrrap Mrrrrrrrrrrap” if she thinks I’ve done something untoward. She has a squeaky snore, a violent happy purr, and an undeniable shy streak – most visitors never get to catch sight of her.
One of the funniest experiences I’ve had with Nala was when we lived in an apartment here in Strathmore. Our door was on the first floor, our apartment on the second, and there was a window over our front door that was full of sunshine most days. Though there were plenty of accessible windows in the apartment that she could get in and out of just fine, Nala was obsessed with the window over the door. She would sit on the stair ledge and wiggle her butt as if she was getting ready to make the jump over multiple times a day. Til one day, she finally did.
Have I mentioned that Nala is a bit of a chubster? She got into the window just fine, but was completely unable to turn herself around to get back out. This was okay at first. She was finally getting the view she wanted. Except, of course, the blinds were closed, so she had to keep jamming her nose into them to get a peek.
But like all cats, what she wanted turned on a dime. Pretty soon she wanted out. And had no idea what to do. So, she sat there and yelled pathetically. I couldn’t reach her – not even a prayer. Not from the top and not from the bottom, though I tried. I layered blankets and pillows at the bottom of the stairs to try to help her jump safely. No dice.
After about three hours of her pathetic yelling, I finally coaxed her to jump into my arms as I stood at the bottom of the stairs. Happy endings all around. But I’ll never forget it.
Ivy had only joined our family the spring before Nala came home with us, and while we had two other animals at the time – a beautiful Maine Coon cat named Oscar and a sweet dwarf rabbit named Oreo – she needed a best buddy of her very own. Oscar and Oreo had each other, and soon our new little girls were besties as well, a relationship that has continued to this day.
They still snuggle and spoon each other. It’s quite the love affair. When we would travel, until recently when travelling has become hard on Ivy, we would bring Ivy with us, and the two of them would have over-the-top, emotional reunions when we got home. They are quite sweet with one another, really.
Nala is a mother herself, of course. When she was about six months old, too small yet to be fixed weight-wise, she went into heat for the first time. Our next door neighbors had a colony of feral cats living in their back shed, and the boys from the colony would come and stare into the windows and make the most god-awful seduction song noises at her. One day we had company, and they accidentally let out our little heated-up adolescent girl and she vanished into the shed for two days before returning home, looking much the worse for wear.
Yep, we suspect kitten gang-rape.
At any rate, before too long she was shaped like a funny-looking gourd because of the kittens growing within her. She was very confused about the entire situation, up to and including when she started giving birth. She came to me, upset and yelling, and boom – suddenly she was giving birth on one of my feet. Eeeeeeeeek.
And then came the little fluffy jellybeans. We were all in love.
We found good homes for all but one – we had bonded ridiculously to George, and I’ll explain how and why when I get his profile written up. George and Nala went in to both be fixed as soon as the kittens were weaned – we were taking no chances this time!
Nala is a light in my life. She is my sweetheart. I’m not sure what I’ll ever do without her, as she is faithful and loyal and full of love, the embodiment of the quote I chose for her above.