Friday, August 19, 2011

My Girl

This is Zen.

Zen is my first furchild.  I'd never been allowed to have pets as a kid and when I moved out of my parent's house it was into my sister's.  She's allergic.  About a month before moving out of her house to a condo in Herndon where I'd end up starting my furry collection, Zen came into my life by a twist of fate.

Originally I planned on only fostering her.  Even through I was grown and in a place of my own I'd not yet had the realization that I'd actually be able to get, and keep, an animal.  Once I brought her home, though, we fell madly, truly, deeply in love.  Me with all of her, her for my opposable thumbs and ability to fill her food bowl.

Because Zen (originally Fen) came to me from a heartless, ungracious man who was angry at his ex-wife I never received any of her medical records.  As far as I was concerned she was just a full grown cat that magically appeared in my life.  We guessed her age at the time but I never thought much about it until a year or so ago.  I went to pet her as she walked by and froze with a horrifying realization: Zen had old lady hips.

Now, don't read too much into that.  It's not a slam or insult or jab of any kind, but during all the years I worked in vet clinics I would always think to myself how bony and fragile a cat's hips felt when they were in their senior years.  More often than I should I would equate that feeling to a lifeline much closer to the end than I wanted Zen to be.

Zen is in wonderful health though she's overdue for a trip to the vet.  I'm in denial about how old she might be, conveniently forgetting that she has been with me for nearly a decade! 

I'm very stiff and sore this morning, significantly due to a week full of physically demanding classes back to back, but plenty of that can go to Zen, the Empress of Casa Castle.

You see, Zen is part Siamese and as the reigning presence in our home she has no reservations about clearly vocalizing her opinion.  Brush her with the tip of your finger on the fringes of her fur and she's demanding more.  Try to walk down the hallway and she's telling you you must be crazy because she ain't movin'.  Move her from her throne of comfort and she's like a 2-year old who missed their nap.

At night Zen has taken to sleeping with me.  Not just with me but curled up against my side, physical contact and pinning the blanket so that any movement would illicit complaints at volumes that would wake Clif who in turn would unceremoniously chase her off the bed.  To avoid interrupting everyone's sleep I've taken to not moving throughout the night as I normally do.  Hence frequent mornings of body stiffness and protests from staying in one position too long.

Zen, what I want to say is that my physical sacrifice might appear to have much to do with not exacting your vocal indignation in the wee hours, but it has so much more to do with how much I love you and want to gather every single moment I can with you, even when I'm sleeping.

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