Once upon a time, there was a silly, black kitten playing with her sister in a Petsmart adoption center. I had come by just by chance, hoping that I’d find the girl I was going to adopt. I had traveled miles, gotten lost in strange cities, just to find the right one. And here she was.
She was named “Aya”, but soon after bringing her home, we realized how much of a Princess she was. From her first, indignant hiss at the older cat, Thaddeus, to the way she demanded her food with that little prissy mew that we’d come to love.
Aya was truly a princess. Somewhere deep inside her, she had that royal-bred instinct, which made her feel entitled to pretty much everything she wanted. She wasn’t so much a Queen… Queens had responsibilities, and little Princess Aya never wanted to do anything unless she wished it.
She became the reluctant “big sister” to my beloved tabby Niko, until he passed away in 2008. She tolerated Thaddeus, just barely, even though he was around first. When I moved to my house on Geneva Street, she loved sitting on the porch or the deck when I allowed her to. She loved being outside so much, she decided to wander out once or twice, going on overnight adventures much to my mini-heart attacks.
Since moving back to the city and becoming an apartment dweller again, Aya never had the opportunity to sit outside in the sun again.
And Aya, being the Princess that she was, was excellent at one thing: being the perfect hostess. Whenever people were over, she was never shy. She would trot out, her big, fluffy tail in the air, greet everyone with a sniff (as if to ask how you were, and if you needed drinks, hors d’oeuvres…). Then she would flop down in the middle of everyone, ready to be praised and doted on.
My partner confided to me how he didn’t really appreciate Aya’s princess-like attitude when he first met her. She trotted around with her tail in the air, acting like she owned the place. But she claimed him (mostly as furniture, his chest was a passable divan for this lady), and she managed to get into his heart, as I knew she would.
One day the Princess became sick. We weren’t sure how long she was sick for… being a cat, and a very dignified one at that, she refused to show anyone her weaknesses. She might have been sick for a long time, we will never know. When we realized how sick she was, it might have been too late to do anything.
I don’t want to dwell on her final days. She didn’t linger too long, at least; she left us at home, with us by her side telling her how beautiful she is.
I know I will miss her forever, just like I miss my beloved Niko. I’ll never hear that prissy meow again, demanding her breakfast and dinner. I’ll never wake up with her purring softly beside me. I’ll miss her chubby belly, her fluffy tail, and all her silly quirks, like how she would never jump up onto the couch with us unless we laid down a pillow for her. I hope if there is a kitty heaven, that she is lying on the grass, under the sun, watching the birds in the sky.
After trying to think of the right memorial for her, I just started to draw. I drew this silly little Disney-esque sketch and just kept adding to it, trying to catch how I see her.