2 hours ago
Friday, February 25, 2011
The saddest gotchaversary of all...
Today marks nine years since Pablo came to live with me.
On a warm evening in February 2002, I drove around to my friend Heidi's house with a brand new cat carrier in the back seat and a joyous smile on my face. I was picking up Heidi's two-year-old cat, Pablo, who was coming to live with me. For good.
Heidi was soon to move into a new house where cats were not allowed, so she needed to find somewhere for Pablo to live.
I'd known Pablo since he was a kitten; he had a reputation for being wild and untamed, and I'd had many a bite and a scratch from him over the years in my attempts to convince him that I was a friend. Still, I'm not sure that my housemate Rachel and I knew what we were in for when we decided to take joint ownership of Pabs.
Pablo was sunning himself in a chair on the front porch when I arrived at Heidi's. He was most put out when I picked him up and wrestled him into the carrier. He yowled and yowled during the short trip from West Hobart to our sharehouse in Sandy Bay. He peed in the carrier too.
As soon as I let him out of the carrier when he arrived in his new home, Pablo nervously scuttled to the safest place he could find - under the couch in our living room. He stayed there for a number of days, only coming out to nibble on a bit of food and pee in a corner of the dining room. Pablo hadn't exactly taken to being toilet trained in his kittenhood.
I sat patiently next to the couch for those few days, trying to win Pablo's trust and goodwill. Every now and then I slipped my hand under the couch to give Pabs a little pat on the head. It took the best part of a month to convince him that I was on his side (and to toilet train him). But he slowly became more comfortable in our house, and with our housemates. And I knew that I'd won him over one night when we chased each other up and down the hallway. When I moved out of the sharehouse to get married a few months later, it was a given that Pablo was coming with me.
One of my friends who knew Pablo in his kittenhood described him as Byronesque. He may have been mad, bad and dangerous to know, but somewhere inside of Pabs was a shy and nervous kitty who wanted to be loved on his terms. It was my great honour to have been that person for nine years.
Missing you today, my dear friend.