He goes by many names, each suited to his build and demeanor. In the early days, he was Ninhsy, Fat Boy Slim, then just Slim. His confidence earned him the nicknames ‘Lion King’ and ‘Puma Boy’ for his gorgeous silver ‘eyeliner’. These days he is Earl Grey. The latter, not just because of coat coloring, but because if he could, he would be sipping tea, reading the Catnip Times through thick-rimmed spectacles. And he would even call it that.
But today is his 16th Birthday and the cat with many names wears his crown with pride.
For the past year, there have been many ups and downs. His illness has changed our daily routine completely, but the extra time it takes ensuring he eats enough and administering his fluids, has strengthened our cat-human bond.
After his breakfast today, I looked all over for him and couldn’t find him. A little worried, I double checked every nook, upstairs and downstairs. I needed to give him his blood pressure pill.
But where the heck did he disappear to?
Ten minutes later he strolls across the kitchen floor and heads towards the kitty salad bar, looking for the perfect sun puddle.
Breathing a sigh of relief, I stroke his fur and it’s cold. Cold from outside. The catio is not even ready for him yet but he went exploring nonetheless, for the very first time since he became blind last November. There is one thing that this boy has not lost, and that is the stubborn determination of his youth. It’s the Burmese in him. You see, the platform that leads to the catio is not easy for him to climb anymore. So he must have really wanted to follow his younger housemates to see what all the fuss was about. It was just the neighbor’s cat, Cachou, passing by. Still, it’s a daily highlight he didn’t want to miss.
Ninhsy Early Grey came into my life 16 years ago when I had just lost my 6-month-old kitten to a congenital liver shunt. The night of his first day with us, I was still hurting from the loss of my kitten, Sinead, and I said: “Don’t worry kitty, I will grow to love you just as much as I loved her”. It didn’t take me long to know that this cat, this Blue Asian Ticked Tabby, the cat with many names, has forever carved a special place in my heart.
Happy 16th Birthday, you sweet, gentle Lion King.
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