Ever since I was a kid, I wanted a pet; a cat or a dog. My parents, who already had three children, me and my two younger sisters, most likely did not want the extra responsibility of having to take care of an animal.
After years of pleading with them, my parents finally gave in… sort of. They got a fish tank. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. I know they meant well, but I just could not relate to a bunch of little fish swimming back and forth in a tank of water. There was no way to interact with them; they literally existed in their own world, apparently unaware that I existed. And they kept dying off! My parents would buy a cool-looking fish and, nine times out of ten, it would be belly up in the water within a week. Eventually they all died off, one by one, and we put the fish tank away permanently.
Years later, when I was in my twenties, I was having lunch out with my mother. She made a startling confession to me. She said that she finally realized that I had been very lonely as a child, and maybe it would have been the right thing to let me have a pet after all. But, of course, by now I was living on my own, so it was moot. Somehow, I still ended up in an apartment building that didn’t allow pets, though.
Fast forwards several years, and I’m now living in Queens, dating a wonderful girl. After several months, we decided to move in together. She had had cats as pets ever since she was a little girl, so she was very receptive to the idea of us having one together. She had previously rescued a cat from the street and given her to a friend. That cat was now pregnant with a litter. And so, a short time later, in January 2009, a fluffy little two month old kitten came into our lives. She was so adorably cute. I remember how she fit in the palm of my hand. That first night, the kitten cuddled up to me in bed, and I remember being afraid I was going to roll over in my sleep and squash her!
My girlfriend decided to name the kitten Netzach, which is Hebrew for victory or endurance. I came up with a nickname, Nettie. I was so thrilled to have Nettie in our lives. At long last, I finally had a pet of my very own.
Life with Nettie was very eventful. She bounced around the apartment, almost going “boing boing” off the walls, so much so that I joked she had springs in her paws. She would get into fights with a big green sponge that we had, and my girlfriend joked that it was her arch-enemy. Nettie also liked to grab my hand or my girlfriend’s and basically wrestle with us, holding on with her front paws, kicking with her back, gnawing on our knuckles with her teeth. We let that cat get away with murder sometimes! What can I say? She was my very first pet, and I spoiled her.
Nettie is a very distinctive looking cat, with long fluffy fur. She is part Persian, part Siamese, part Himalayan. Given her wild nature, I would joke that the Himalayan part of family must have had a few abominable snowmen in it. That gave rise to the nickname Nettie the Yeti. Nettie also has the most beautiful blue eyes, and a lovely voice. Sometimes, when she wants food or attention, she can give you this wide stare, letting out such a sad meow. She really knows how to tug on the heart strings. And, of course, I always fall for it. My girlfriend tells people that I treat Nettie as if she was my daughter.
Over the past three years, Nettie has grown up, and she is a lot less manic and hyper. Well, most of the time. A few months after we first got Nettie, we moved into another apartment, and then had a second cat come to live with us. Nettie, who spent most of her kitten-hood by herself, now found herself living with another feline, one she hoped would play with her. Cue lots of running and wrestling. And then, on top of that, we got a turtle. But more on all that next time.