one year with big & little

One year ago we intended to depart Bainbridge Island to shop for a Christmas tree on the way home from a wonderful Thanksgiving spent on the Island. Five hours later we arrived home with two adopted cats instead of a tree.

Leading up to Thanksgiving weekend last year, I was still in the midst of grief from the loss of our beloved Buttons. I told Andrew I wasn’t ready to adopt another cat. I needed time, and I appreciated being able to take off for a night or weekend without worrying about pets left at home.

All of that went straight out the window when we arrived at Paws. First we stopped by the Bainbridge Island location. “Let’s just go look,” he said. Mmm hmm. We didn’t fall in love with any of the cats available for adoption, but the ladies working there told us the Kingston location had several kittens to see. Right, so over to Kingston we went. I guess I was curious enough to agree to it.

We arrived at Kingston Paws, the only humans there besides a staff member, and were shown around the kitty condos full of kitten pairs. The thinking was if we were to adopt again, it might be right to have a pair that can keep each other company. Nothing compelled me to open up any of the doors to get up close with any of them until I saw this white & tortoise colored sweetie named Victoria. Next thing I know, her kitty condo door was opened, she was eager for a chin scratch, and it was all over from there. Love at first sight. Truly. I knew she was my girl.

While I was following adventurous Victoria around the building, Andrew was falling in love with a tiny runt named Patches. She calmly curled up in his lap while two other ginger cats were climbing all over him, excited for human interaction. For a moment, we considered not adopting both cats because they weren’t bonded. We had fallen in love, and couldn’t fathom leaving for home without Victoria and Patches, even though I was terrified for all that could go wrong. Diana from Paws said give it two weeks, and they’d be ok together.

Those first two weeks certainly were a test. Oh my word, were they ever a test. We separated the girls in the apartment, since Victoria would hiss at Patches whenever she came near. Patches was always so patient, awaiting the time she’d have a pal in Victoria. They were both young, Victoria was right around a year old; Patches just about six months. They’d both endure respiratory infections the first couple of weeks, along with tapeworm for Victoria. Yay for a bunch of vet bills straight away!

Andrew and I discussed possible names every day, and we began affectionately referring to them as Big and Little in the meantime. Patches was so small with such a tiny head and big ears.

Andrew would come home during his lunch to check on them, and eventually we allowed them to have free reign of the apartment as they got more comfortable with each other. One day he sent me a photo of the three of them on the bed and I was so happy to see the progress.

We never came up with appropriate names, they remained Big and Little. Big has many nicknames, like Biggie and Biggles. Every time we get home, she lays on the floor just out of reach and stretches out as far as she possibly can stretch her body, waiting for a belly rub. She is nocturnal, unfortunately, and wakes me up around 4am each day to be fed. She is quite the talker and noisemaker. Andrew refers to her as a jibber jabber. She’d love it if she was an only cat in the apartment, so we consider her the queen and Little is the princess. She demands attention, and loves to be pet. Her favorite time is any weekend that we are home.

Little is incredibly quiet, apart from when we put her in her case and take her to the vet. She also makes a little monkey noise when the food is about to be put into her bowl. She generally requires less petting and attention than Biggie, but every night sleeps curled up by Andrew’s legs. Little still loves hiding under our bed from time to time, and also loves laying on top of the cat tree with her head hanging off the edge. She loves to watch the birds that fly near our building. Biggie bullies her and attacks her hind legs, yet Little will still instigate play more times than not. She has probably doubled in size over the past year, but remains smaller than Biggie. Maybe we are biased, but she is the cutest, most well-behaved cat ever.

Turns out Big and Little were exactly what I needed to heal from my grief. They are such sweet, silly companions. They belong here with us and sometimes it feels like they’ve always been around. I worry about them when we are away for the night. I notice I love to be at home even more so than before we had them. It’s been a whole year as a family of four. They fill Andrew and I both with so much love. They also fill up the photo albums on our iphones, much like parents with a newborn human baby. We absolutely adore our Big & Little an uncomfortable amount. We can’t help it, we are those crazy cat parents.

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