Every moment is fleeting. Seconds tick away like fleas crawling through my fur. The other cats don’t understand. They don’t realize just how lucky they are.
My kitten hood flashed by quickly. I didn’t have the endless supply of toys and cat towers that I have now. Or warmth.
Perhaps that’s why I’m so grateful. That’s why I never miss an opportunity to show my humans just how much they mean to me. I groom my daddy’s beard. I butt my Mommy’s face with mine. They’re my family. For now.
I had another family. I was once loved by others enjoying what I understood as normal. Heading outside, enjoying the sun on my fur, I had endless freedom. I fell in love. And suddenly it all ended. It always ends.
As my belly swelled, my first family got annoyed. They couldn’t “keep the cat”. There was no room for me as I got bigger and bigger. They booted me out. Like a mouse intruding in their home.
My babies were born at the shelter. Four perfect, beautiful babies. They were my entire world. Their news warmed my heart. They were my new family. They wouldn’t ever go. Humans gave us food and toys. They kept our blankets clean and our small home warm. Once again, I was happy, filled with love and joy.
Two wonderful months passed in blissful ignorance. Then, once again, everything changed. Just as my babies were weaned and their stumbling gaits began to steady, they were taken away from me.
My comfortable home became cold and empty. They spayed me, promising no more kittens, no more heart wrenching pain when they leave. I felt like there was a hole in my chest.
Change came again. In the form of a serious girl and a cautious boy. They were “just looking”. They had suffered a loss as well recently. The weight of the sorrow bowed them down. We were kindred spirits. I understood their pain.
In an impulsive moment, I stretched my paw through the bars of the home that had so recently become a prison. I rolled on my stomach inviting them in.
The girl laughed, even as she tried not to. With ease she lifted the latch and scooped me into her arms. But she wasn’t enough. I reached out and pulled her mate into the embrace. In an unlikely moment, we had found a family.
Then they left. My heart sank again. Naturally nothing lasted. I sank down waiting for the next disappointment.
The woman who changed my litter came in, she lifted me up, waltzing out of the room. She held me up into the air and loudly asked the fairly empty lobby of the shelter, “who claims this cat?”
The girl and boy from before were both grinning. The girl was covered in water from the rain outside and was holding an equally soaked carrier. She raised her hand, the weight lifting from her shoulders as she said, the words echoing in the silence, “We do”.
I was brought to their little home, and welcomed into their little family. There were toys everywhere. I leapt from this one to that, my joy infectious. They decided to name me Marmalade, Marmie for short. I took to the name immediately. The only one who was displeased with my presence was their other baby, my new, younger sister, Bear.