It is Thursday morning, and tomorrow is Friday. Tomorrow morning is your birthday. You will be ten weeks old. When I wake up, you will hear me, through the door to your room, and you will cry to be let out of the room. Your cry sounds like an old 60’s Marx Spooky Tree. More of a whistle than a whine. I will see the shadow of your paws under the door before I let you out, and you rush into the living room, then the kitchen, and demand your food. You will do this loudly. Once I finally present you and your siblings with breakfast, you will chow down, and you will most certainly be the last kitten at the bowl after all of the rest get distracted. This will be the last time we ever have this exchange.
Goo. You are ten weeks old. Which means you have been with me longer than anywhere else. Your first four weeks were spent in the mud and bushes, behind a folding table and a boogie board, against the apartment complex. There were ten or eleven of you; two litters born two days apart by a mother and daughter cat. You were from the younger crew.
Over your first 4 weeks, I would pet you and your siblings as much as I could. I would hold you, I would clean gunk out of all of your eyes, yet upper respiratory problems and probably malnutrition would take three or four of you. While your eyes were not sealed shut like several of them, you were the second most recognizable kitten next to the black one- you were Derpy Eyes. Something wasn’t quite right with you and your inner eyelids were outside.
That stormy day when we caught your mother, we had planned on spaying her and keeping an eye on the other mother to make sure she was feeding you, until we could send your mother back and spay the other. However, the sky Turned that weird type of grey-purple and I could feel weird electricity in the air. I bet the mother cats could too.
Between the dead kittens, and the infected kittens, and the impending storm, my friend asked if I could keep you guys indoors and foster you. My brain said no, it wasn’t a good idea, but my mouth said that I could in about four days if she could take you first. So there you were, a bunch of mud kittens taking your first car ride and sleeping in a bathtub for the holiday weekend.
I was away for the weekend, and filled with dread. How was I going to take care of 7 nasty little kittens? And find them homes? When I picked you guys up, I was warned that you were messy, but nothing prepared me for the smell of fish, baloney, and feces that followed you. “The derpy eyed one still seems weird,” my friend told me.
When I brought you home, I gave you all a bath. I know I wasn’t really supposed to, but none of you knew how to eat or shit without getting it all over you.
Your eyes were a little less derpy. I put you in your cage for the night and you all stared at me. 14 blue eyes. I think something happened to me there.
We had you for at least a week before we named you, or any of your siblings. It was hard to tell the difference between anyone as your eyes quickly got less derpy. I would like to say your eyes got better, but you traded derpy eyes for wet, oozing, gooey eyes, leftovers of the upper respiratory infection that likely killed some of your siblings. Thankfully, a rescue friend had sent some antibiotic ointment and over 2 weeks your eyes slowly got better.
Of the seven kittens, we had groups. Later you would get names, but initially we had The Slobby one, the black one, the big one, the normal ones, and the starers. You were one of the two starers. You would sit on my shin and stare in my face with your runny eye and fall asleep while the other Starer would do the same on my chest. You also fell asleep standing up everywhere.
Eventually, the starers would be named, appropriately, Gorgon, and Medusa. Medusa. That’s your real name.
Goo came about because of your right eye, the wetness around it, and the antibiotic goo we had to put in it. Goo stuck. As far as the medicine was concerned, you never took it personally when we gave it to you, never struggled. You were by far the smallest kitten as everyone started growing, but you had tons of energy and a hell of a purrer on you. You were a good cat.
I left you for a week, but paid for a $200 Internet connection so I could keep up with you all. Dave would alternate a touching email about how great you kittens were with an email about how you were all ruining his life because he got no sleep. That was because he was letting you all sleep in the bed. The sweet emails, and the angry emails, both seemed to center around you. You and your cries. You and your toe munching at bed time. You, the last night of my cruise, deciding to try my bed out as a litter box. Well, Dave had no proof it was you, but he suspected it. Fun fact: kitten pee is much less disgusting than cat pee. I’d rather have a gallon of kitten pee dropped on me than a teaspoon of cat pee. Still, Dave did not appreciate having to clean up after you. Then you did it again just a couple hours later, in front of me. It was just you and me in the room, Goo, and I didn’t pee on the bed. I sniffed it to make sure it was pee- it smelled like water but it was warm. I changed the comforter, again.
To your credit, you never peed (or pooped) outside of the box again. I think you didn’t want to leave the only room with an air conditioner running, to go pee in a 100 degree room and then lose your spot on a bed that contained 8 other cats and a human.
Goo, Gooey, Goop. Always the first one to greet me on the stairs when I come home from work. Always. Always happy to see me. Goob. Goon. The second best at playing with the jingleball, keeping it from falling down the stairs, growling and carrying it in your mouth to keep it away from your siblings. Goo, the finder of receipts.
Goo Goo, a disciple of the Church of the Refrigerator. When I open that door you stare and meditate on tofu, beans, blueberries, and almond milk. As I take you out of my home for the last time, I will take solace in the fact that I no longer run the risk of decapitating you during the act of getting salad dressing.
Googy. You love playing with your siblings. Right now it sounds like rolling thunder in the dining room, but I know it’s only you and one other cat. You will miss them when you leave. Since you were taken from your mother so early, they are the most stable thing you know. It will be scary for awhile, but you will adjust. You will have a whole family to love you, including some adult cats who may be a little more friendly than the adult cats here. I wish I could give you a chance to say goodbye to your friends, but you are just a stupid little good natured little cat, in fact one of the best cats I ever met, and you don’t understand goodbye. You understand the sound of the fridge opening, the trajectory of a jingle ball, where to grip the top of a chair so you don’t fall off. You understand leaning up against a human hip and closing your eyes is a great way to relax and practice purring.
Goo Bean. You’ve already grown up so much in these six weeks. You are the same size as the rest, and your big kitten eyes are getting less and less cartoony. You posture like a cat, and cheek and rub. I don’t know who taught you how to keep clean in the absence of a mother, but sometime between when I brought you in as a smelly baloney worm and the next week, you learned how to take care of yourself. You prance around, without pretention, across the room, tail high and curled, just at the top, to the right. If you catch one of your buddies, you swish it a few times for good measure before dive bombing the poor sucker.
Goo, there’s no way to say this delicately, but your farts are smelly. I am sure they are healthy, but damn, are you waiting for me to let them loose?
I have always lived under the impression, my Goog, that cats are inherently evil. It’s a much lower rung of evil, than, say, a terrorist, but I’m gobsmacked that i just don’t see the potential there for you. You are a Good Cat. A Very Good Cat. Not an evil, or even sassy bone in your body. It chokes me up. At this point, I have cried so hard that tears are pooling in my ear. Despite that, I can still hear you and Slobbo playing jingle soccer.
I’m gonna take you for a ride tomorrow, Goo. You’ll see where I work and then get transferred to another car, then another car, and finally, 3-4 hours later, to a happy home full of females. Girls, Women, She-cats (I think!) You will love it. You will be living with someone I have known and trust for 30 years. You will be happy there. But let’s get real, Goo; I will never see you again or rub your belly or have you tap me with your little paw, and this is a bummer.
But, I don’t want this to be a bummer for you. I write you this letter not so you can remember me- after all, you are a dumb kitten who, despite being one of the best cats who ever has and ever will live, cannot read. My hope is that you forget me. Have a great life and allow yourself the ignorance of forgetting your first 10 weeks. May you live your long life thinking it has always been wonderful. I write you this letter because as much as I want you to forget me, I want to remember you.
Happy birthday, Goo.