I'm sure many people have a similar story: Their pets used to be the light of their lives, and then they had a baby. It's so sad for (in this case) Squeaky. But what's even sadder is that I really can't stand Squeaky anymore. It's not just that she's second banana, she annoys the hell out of me. All the time. I love her, but I don't want her anywhere near me, let alone on me, and I want her to shut up and stop spazzing out. I feel like such a jerk. I read with a pillow on top of my torso before bed so that she can't lay on me like she used to. (But part of this is because I'm breastfeeding and, frankly, it doesn't feel good to have anything laying on or maybe even anywhere near my boobs.)
You don't understand, I used to ADORE this kitty. I got up in the middle of the night every night for a year to let her outside when we lived in that tiny house in Hyde Park. There was nothing I wouldn't do for her. This scrappy, skinny kitty showed up in the backyard a few days after we moved here from DC, and it soon became obvious that no one was feeding her and that she was desperate for some love. She made all kinds of cute, squeaky noises, and TJ started calling her Squeaky. (This was before we knew she was going to be ours.) Then it became obvious that one of her eyes was infected. And after that she got in a fight with a raccoon (we think) and developed a huge abscess on her back and got very, very sick. Six hundred dollars in vet bills later, and we had a cat. No, I'm kidding. (Well, not about the money.) She had to have a tube through her back to drain the abscess and it was all a very traumatic way for her to get to know us and to be housetrained. We had to keep her inside for a week and she moaned and wailed the whole week. Terrible, inhuman sounds. She was a wild one. In one week she killed six squirrels. She also killed plenty of birds, lizards, mice, and baby possums.
I tried to rename her Pearl (Squeaky Pearl) after we realized she belonged to us, but the damage had been done, and Squeaky was her name. When we bought our house and moved to where we are now in northeast Austin, we decided to make her an indoor cat (if we could). We bought in a new neighborhood with lots of construction and woods, and it just didn't seem safe for her. Plus we were tired of cleaning up dead things and dealing with stuff like fleas and tapeworm. Ugh. Lo and behold, she adapted very well, and has not been outside (except for the few times she's briefly escaped), in a year and a half. But she still yearns to go out and she still wants to play like a kitten, even though we think she might be as old as five years. Her favorite thing of all, though, is to lay on top of her people and look deeply into our eyes. She is the opposite of aloof. I often beg her to be more aloof and less loving. It's mean, I know.
Just tell me that I'll like her again one day. And that she won't scratch Eamon's face off once he starts grabbing her fur, because then I don't know what we'll do. She's a loving cat, but she's not a gentle or patient cat. We can't pick her up, and she's picky about the angles she's pet from.
So that's the story of Squeaky, told partly to remind myself of the history we share with her. The little Squeak.
Here she is in that first year we had her, looking very funny.