On this day fourteen years ago, I adopted a feisty little black and white kitten from a refuge run out of the Petco on 86th and Lexington. She was an abandoned 5-month old. I never had a cat before and didn’t realize they like sleeping on one’s head. For all the years that followed she slept each night on my head, on my arms, or at my feet, and occasionally on the sofa if she had something to protest.

Daphne the catThe black and white kitten was first called Cat, but when I was scolded that nameless cats can suffer identity crises, I named her Scully (It was 2000 and I was obsessed with the X-Files). Finally she revealed her rightful persona as Daphne, the dainty, seemingly angelic but deceptively devilish feline that knew her rightful place as Queen of whatever castle she inhabited.

She grew in size but forever maintained that kitten-like enthusiasm. When our home expanded to three (two people, one feline), she enjoyed having a selection of feet to sleep on at night. She loved running and jumping, some playful biting, getting stoned on catnip, and sleeping about 18 hours a day. She always awaited our return home by the front-door and greeted every visitor who came by.

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She stole chicken or turkey if the meat was not properly guarded and vehemently demanded her share of an open can of tuna. She loved tearing up our sofas, sitting on computer keyboards, and sleeping on heaters. She would make a run for it through any open door, but she was very happy in the home we shared and even after a successful escape, she always came back.

She was diagnosed with Diabetes in the summer of 2010 and the vet did not expect her to live more than two months. But with her medication and all the love in this household, she remained as lively as that little kitten I adopted in NYC all those years ago.

Daphne left us today. It was a quick illness, unrelated to Diabetes. She suffered little but it was clear when she stopped eating that she was ready to go. Daphne and I shared nine different apartments in three cities, two countries on two different continents. I am so grateful to have had her in my life and I am thankful that my husband could share the joy of this amazing cat with me for so many years. Daphne has been my constant companion for 14 years and will always be my first love.