Friday, May 28, 2010

Ode to my best friend

People will tell you that dogs are mans best friend.  Well Topaz hated dogs, but loved me, and trust me when I say, nobody has ever had a dog that bested her in the best friend department.

Shortly after turning 15, I was able to get my much anticipated first cat. I had desperately wanted one from the time I could talk (which mystified my mom who was a dog person and who didn't think she would even like cats).  She thought we'd shop around a little and day dreamed about how nice a white cat would look with the decor.  So we took a road trip to a farm just outside of Saskatoon, to see a woman who breed Persians and horses, and to meet her litter of three month old kittens.  Topaz was love at first sight, a tiny little white fluff ball who had only been handled for two hours in her three months, scared out of her mind, semi-feral and hiding at the back of the carrier after her similarly terrified siblings made a run for it to hide under the couch.  She was an odd eye, white Persian, meaning she had one beautiful sky blue eye and one yellow eye and long pure white fur.
Needless to say my mom's shopping around theory didn't work and we went home with her that very night. 

She was a terrible first cat.  Petrified of people she had to be constantly dragged out from under furniture and any hidy hole she could manage.  She found an open cold air duct in the basement days after getting her and crawled under the sub-flooring giving us a 14 hour scare that found me locked in my bedroom trying to talk her out while my mom and grandpa fretted upstairs.  She would make mad escapes outside to run laps around the house (she was an indoor cat) and she managed to grab some ribbon off a valentines gift one year and ate it (nearly killing herself in the process!). 
I was glibly unaware of how poorly I'd chosen and just mauled her until she realized I might be worth hanging out with once in awhile.

Boy, did my patience and persistence pay off.  Topaz became my dedicated companion, she snuggled me constantly (only me mind you).  She waited patiently in the window around homecoming time every day, and my mom reported she started to pace and worry if I was late at all.  She slept with me every night, curled up against my face.  She crawled up and licked of my tears when I was upset.  She gave me endless adoring looks that promised she would be my fan forever no matter what I did.  And she was.

People often ask how I met my hubby, well I met him at a housewarming party, but the important part of the story is when later that day he came over to my apartment Topaz gave me her enthusiastic approval and officially picked him.  She was, up until that point, largely unimpressed by anyone but me, and would wander into my closet and take a nap whenever people came over.  But that day she trotted out, walked up to him and jumped in his lap to snuggle as I sat there stunned.  "Cats like me" he said.
We often joked he and Topaz were the couple and I was just the human who came along with the package.

We had many adventures together, she moved from Saskatoon to Toronto with me, she flew back and forth every time I flew and she drove and camped every time I did.  And she loved every minute, especially the camping! She has tolerated huge numbers of cats trooping through the house, not only the other two I eventually adopted but also the 14 fosters we've adopted out over the past three years for Annex Cat Rescue.  She was always gracious about sharing her home and our love with them.

More than anything else I'll miss Topaz's unquestioning loyalty.  She loved me so totally, no matter if I was sick, grumpy, healthy, happy, single or mooning over someone, despite working late or not working at all.  I could always come home and expect a demanding little meow to be picked up and loved.

In memory of her I've denoted Fridays, Feline Fridays on this blog.  Every Friday I'm going to talk about cats, either in literature or in shelters, and hopefully I'll eventually inspire someone to make the decision to adopt the love of their life, and Topaz and I can share how great it is with others.

To my beloved Topals.