*This post is part of a series profiling the animals in our lives. Please click the tag at the bottom to view other profiles.
I have wanted a black cat for as far back as I can remember. I always thought they were the most beautiful and misunderstood of cats, and felt a kinship with them for that. People judge them, and I know how that feels. And cats – as anyone who has lived with and loved one knows – are sensitive creatures. I thought it must eat at them the way it eats at me to be judged.
Last summer, during some times that were horribly hard for everyone in the family, but where the majority of bad intent was focused on me, a local animal rescue (the wonderful AARCS – Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society) was having a black cat event. They had an overwhelming number of black cats, and as such, were reducing their adoption fees. It seemed like fate, and when I showed it to Richard he – desperate for anything that might make me smile – said we should go get a little black cat.
I searched the rescue’s website, and was drawn into this little puffball of a kitten’s profile. Was it the fluffy main picture that drew me in? The exotic name? Nope. It was that series of pictures at the bottom of the giant leg cast on the miserable-looking little kitlet. Kittenhood in a cast? Knowing how, well, how everywhere all the kittens I’d had were when they were small, I couldn’t even imagine. But he was just getting out of his cast when I looked, and I knew he had to come home with us.
Onyx has a weird little habit now… his formerly broken leg seems sometimes to be out of his control. He fights with it when it’s grooming time, laying on his back and holding on to it with both front paws to try and get the thing under control for washing, while it kicks back at him – often in the head!
When we went to meet him at his foster home (his foster mom couldn’t have been more lovely – she and I are still Facebook friends so she can keep up with the little bug’s life!) and he was settled into my arms, he tucked his head under my chin and started to purr. It was love at first snuggle. We didn’t even have to talk much about it; Richard knew. We brought him home that day. And that little black cat has made me smile at least once a day since then – usually much more.
Onyx is a year old now, but still very much a kitten at heart. There’s often a small black bullet racing through our house, chased by one or more of our other animals. One of the main reasons a young cat was important to us was that George was still such a kitten at heart, and needed a playmate, as Nala was getting more and more annoyed with him. We had both, Richard and I, forgotten how funny the antics of a kitten could be and were endlessly entertained.
He learned, his first day, how to get onto the top bunk of the boys’ bunk beds, and that quickly became his refuge when George was too much for him, or the dog was overwhelming him.
For my part, I was charmed by his lion-like fuzzy ruff and his giant ear and toe tufts. He was – and is – so incredibly silky soft and so amazingly affectionate. From that first moment that he tucked his head under my chin at his foster home, that’s been his favourite place to be. He will squeak, as if asking permission to jump up, and I’ll open my arms to him, and he’ll arrive.
What he wants is to snuggle on my “boob shelf” – though he’s outgrown those ample quarters and now has to be supported by my arms – and rub his head over and over again on my chin, nose, cheeks. He wants to be cooed at (which of course he gets) and nuzzled (again, of course) and he purrs away, sometimes for five minutes, sometimes for an hour as he dozes off intermittently. But if I try to put him down when he’s sleeping, he’ll immediately cling, start up his loud motorboat purr, and insist determinedly to be snuggled til he says he’s done!
George has been – unsurprisingly – very happy to have a little brother. He takes his responsibilities seriously, and not only grooms Onyx constantly but has been “teaching him how to cat”. Either that, or Onyx just emulates anything he sees his big brother do. Sometimes, this is a good thing, like when Onyx learns he’s not supposed to be on the countertops. Sometimes, this is a weird thing, such as having two of them staring through the shower curtain liner at me. Sometimes this is a bad thing, as both of them will now demand second breakfast when one of the two adults in the house has already fed them that day. They are both really, really good at being deceptive and convincing (me in particular) of the fact that they are going to die of starvation soon.
He’s a bit obsessed with kitty tv (the windows of course!), but doesn’t like to sleep in bed with us at night – possibly because there isn’t enough room with everyone else in there! Nala often leaves the bed now to go snuggle elsewhere with Onyx, which is sweet. And also gives us a little extra room in the bed! All in all, he’s been an amazing addition to our kitty pride, and has carved out a place in our hearts to make himself irreplaceable.