Let me formally introduce you to Alleycat. She’s always around, but I don’t think I’ve ever made a real introduction. Since I was a little girl, I always wanted to have a pet cat. When I moved out on my own, I couldn’t wait to make the adoption. Allycat is a grey and white, short-hair tabby cat. People ask quite often about her name – it’s derived from my own name: Alethea’s cat = Alleycat.
I adopted Alleycat in 2007 when she was six months old from the Toronto Humane Society. I had to fill out an application and then I was interviewed about the home and care I was planning to provide for her. She was in a cage with her two siblings. She was the smallest of the bunch. She was healthy, but underweight. When I got her home, she didn’t climb out from underneath the couch for about a week. We each had a new roommate. It was an adjustment for us both. Now she’s the centre of my life.
Since I see her every single day, I don’t notice the subtle changes in her size as much as others. My mom (who considers her the closest thing to a grandchild) came by the other day and her first comment was, “she’s so big now!” At eight years old now, she’s a healthy 10 lbs.
Having Alleycat is very much like having another person to take care of. She needs food and water every day. She needs her annual medical check ups and vaccinations. She needs her teeth brushed on a regular basis (which is always a struggle). She needs to be occasionally brushed and bathed. She has her own toys and needs playtime for exercise (especially because she’s an indoor-only cat). Alleycat even has her own pet insurance.
When she gets sick, I worry like crazy. I absolutely panic! When she gets sick, it’s the one time I wish she could speak so she can tell me exactly what’s wrong with her. When she does get sick, she has her own pink fleece blanket to cuddle up in.
She doesn’t like to be alone for too long. When I travel, either my mom or sisters have to come over every other day to keep her company. She doesn’t like “healthy” pet food, but she does need the most expensive, non-scented cat litter (of course). The supermarket-brand, scented kind gives her an infection and she gets sick. Like most cats, she’s lactose-intolerant. But even the specialty, lactose-free cat milk gives her an upset stomach. In the winter, when the air is dry, she gets a teaspoon of flax oil in her wet food to help with dry, flaking skin. Yes – even cats get dry skin. Every night she sleeps at the bottom of my bed. Every morning, before the alarm, she wakes me up.
Having Alleycat has totally changed my life. It’s been so fun to watch her develop a personality with her own quirks. Even when she’s driving me crazy – which she does quite often – she’s truly one of the best parts of my day.
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