Hi everyone! My name is Rach and I am a long time cat lover and long time lurker of this forum who finally decided to bite the bullet and register. I am a recent college graduate who lives in central IL and I'm in the process of packing and moving back home to help me save extra money from my not-so-hot paychecks. I have been catless since February 2009.
This is Callie, who was my baby. I got her when I was 5 years old and I can remember being so excited I couldn't even nap that day at kindergarten because I knew I was getting a kitty after school. My mom and I went to my aunt and uncle's house to see their barn cat's kittens who had just turned 8 weeks old. While I was trying to figure out which one I wanted, this little calico kitten crawled up my pant leg and fell asleep right in my lap. I told my mom I wanted "the one that picked me" and that was how Callie came home with us.
Callie was a cat of many quirks and was affectionate purely on her own terms - she was never a lap cat and only tolerated us petting her for a few minutes at a time. She was overweight for a lot of her life but still had tons of energy and loved to chase her toys around when not being a couch potato that followed the sunspots around from window to window. Whenever I would come home from school, the first thing I would do was call out her name to find her - it never failed that if she hadn't been waiting by the door for us to come home, she'd come running when she heard me. She used to sleep outside my bedroom door and would hiss and growl at any babysitters coming up the stairs to check on me. Callie and I shared a very special bond and I know that she loved her in her own strange way.
She lived a very long and very spoiled life until last year. I noticed when I was home for winter break that she was much skinnier than she had ever been, despite her recent transition to wet food that she had been eating with gusto. She continued to decline over the next couple of months until one night she crawled into my dad's lap of her own accord and stayed there like the lap cat she never was. My parents knew something wasn't right and my mom stayed up the night with her because she was so worried. Callie passed away the next morning with my mom holding her, letting her know what a great cat she was and how much she was loved. My biggest regret is that I was away at school and couldn't be there with her, but I know she passed with someone holding her who loved her just as much as I did so she didn't have to go alone. I cried my eyes out for a week straight when I heard and I'm tearing up writing this because I still miss her so much.
After Callie passed away, I started researching online and found out that the dry food (Hill's) we had been feeding her was probably responsible for many of her health issues over the years. This still absolutely horrifies me and my parents - we thought were feeding her the best diet possible due to our lack of knowledge and the fact that our vet recommended the food. It's no wonder that she loved the transition to wet food in her later years, even though it wasn't of the best quality either. Knowing what I do now about cat nutrition and food allergies, it brings a lot of "what ifs" to my mind and wishes I could go back and do things differently. However, I am grateful that we had her for as long as we did and I cherish every memory and photo that I have of her.
Fast forwarding now to present day, I finally feel ready to open up my heart again, this time to a kitty (or maybe two!) in need from one of the local rescues or shelters. I feel better knowing that I'm armed with better knowledge this time, and tons and tons of that knowledge is thanks to this forum that I found while researching after Callie's passing. Since I'm in the process of moving, I'm planning on waiting around a month before I start the adoption process so that I can be settled in and help my new kitty start on the least foot stressful for him/her!
And if you made it this far, thanks for making it to the end of my long ramble - I wasn't meaning to make it this long, but it's helpful for me to talk about Callie with people that I know will understand. I'm looking forward to coming out of my lurking shell (and soaking up more adorable photos of everyone's cats!) and being an active member, so hello everyone!