“The Queen is dead. Long live the Queen!”
Cleo was my cat. Or more accurately, I was her person, for she ruled the roost. I was heartbroken when she died and, for the longest time, out of the corner of my eye, I would think I saw her walking past, or lying on the chair. I even swear I felt her jump up on the bed one night. And when I came home from work I expected to have her greet me at the door, as she always had. In our first house she even climbed on the kitchen chair next to the back door and put her paw on the door handle as if to open it for me, or for whomever she heard coming up the stairs. She was smart, just like her person. I still miss her.
After two years of having a feline free household, the time finally felt right to introduce a new cat into our family unit….Okay, my daughter, Stephanie, wanted to get a new cat, I still felt guilty about attempting to replace Cleo. How could I betray her memory like that? Then I rationalized that I wouldn’t be betraying her because it would not be my cat, it would be Stephanie’s cat, and off to the SPCA we went.
I told Stephanie I did not want her to get one that looked like Cleo, as that would be too weird. She agreed, so no tiger striped cats. We walked into the kitten area and what do we find, but a tiger-striped kitten. Nope, couldn't do it. That was fine, as Stephanie did not want a young kitten, instead she wanted one slightly older that had already been spayed or neutered, so into the back, adult room we went. (Hmmm, that didn’t sound quite right.) We looked at the older cats.
There is no happier or sadder place than the SPCA. You are immediately surrounded by these loving, playful, beautiful creatures who only want to be cuddled, petted and played with, but you know, even though you want to take them all, that there is only room for one of them in your home. If I had the means, I would have taken three or four with me. (Can you say crazy cat lady?)
I would have had a terrible time choosing which furball to take home, but luckily that was my daughter’s call, and it seemed to be no contest. As soon as we reached Samara’s cage, that was it. She took to the grey and white, long-haired beauty right away. I tried talking up other cats - cats with short fur - but she was set on Samara, so I prepared myself for the inevitable layer of white fur soon to be covering my floors.
We picked Samara up two days later, and took her straight to the vet for a check-up, and in the examining room, waiting for the vet, we let her out and she jumped up on Stephanie’s lap, something Cleo would never have done. During the 15-20 min drive home she purred and played with Stephanie through the carrier’s lattice-like door. Cleo would have nervously meowed/yowled from the time the car started until she was in the house. Once home she let us pick her up and cuddle her. Cleo would have struggled to be put on the floor. This cat was definitely not Cleo.
I have to say, I have also taken to Samara. She is a sweetheart, very loving and playful. I have slipped and called her Cleo once or ten times, but I think I’ve finally come to the conclusion that there is room in my life for another animal. The Cleo reign is over. The age of Samara has begun…until Stephanie moves out and takes her…if I let her.