I was tired returning home from work one sunny afternoon just over a month ago. I wanted to curl up in bed and take a nap. My husband joined me. That was when I realized how much I missed having our feline companion jump around the bed whenever we were feeling down and, simply by her mere presence, bring a lightness to the room.
“I miss Daphne.” I said.
The day before I was looking at the website for the Geneva Society for the Protection of Animals (Société Genevoise pour la Protection des Animaux) refuge and I saw a small cat, about 1.5 years. Many of the cats at the refuge are designated in pairs that must be adopted together. This one, however, was a single, and for some reason, that made me feel sad: why didn’t he have a buddy with whom he would be adopted? He was also one of the few who could live in an apartment, as the majority at the refuge are specifically “garden” cats, who require access to a yard. My husband had been on the website the day before also, and he knew exactly which cat I was thinking about. “Let’s go get him.”
Less than an hour later we arrived at the refuge housed on the park land in Bernex, on the other side of Geneva. As we entered the building intent on meeting Picou, another cat − a tiny black kitten − darted from one side of his outdoor garden box and leaped up on the fence to greet us. He was like us, looking to share his love. He stole my heart at that very moment.
We discovered Picou had been adopted that very morning, but the volunteers offered to introduce us to two other “apartment” cats who were new to the SGPA. As the rule goes, we would have to adopt both. They did not know that we wanted to adopt a pair all a long. We did not know that the pair included the adorable short hair who first welcomed us upon our arrival that day.
The Black Cat
It was never a question: as soon as we met him, he was crawling all over us, purring like he found his home. He was so small, but with an incredible amount of energy, he never stopped moving. He rubbed against us, licked us, climbed onto our shoulders; I was simply astonished by his limitless excitement. It was clear we had a perfect connection, but his companion was hiding, and reluctant to meet us.
The Orange Cat
We’ve always had a thing for orange cats, and this guy is a long haired Angora, despite not having the breed’s more common white fur and blue eyes. His gorgeous yellow eyes compliment his fur, whiskers, and paws perfectly. With a physical resemblance to a tiger, his demeanor was that of a scared kitten, which is in fact what he was. He would not come to me voluntarily, but when I picked him up, he sat peacefully and even allowed me to scratch his belly. I knew he would warm up to us once he learned that he could trust us.
It was about a week before their identities revealed themselves allowing us to name them. The Black Cat − who we determined is actually just a very dark brown so as not to invite any superstitions − is just so small that he could go by no other moniker than Tiny. The Orange Cat, as he slowly came out of his shell to reveal his greatness, became our Zeus.
The entire first day at home, Zeus hid under our bed. We could not coax him out to eat. Tiny continued to dart from one end of the apartment to the other, and back around again, and again, and again. I was not sure if he actually slept, bizarre because most cats usually spend about 20 hours a day sleeping. Finally, sometime by the next afternoon, he did in fact sleep.
Everything changed at night. We heard things being knocked about in the other room while we were in bed, but we were basking in the glow of our feline-full apartment, feeling so pleased that Tiny seemed to be having so much fun. I got up at one point to take a look, and to my amazement, both cats were out there tussling with each other. It went like that for days. Zeus hid most of the day until he came out for this night-time ritual. We are rather certain at this point that Tiny is actually a diminutive for Tyler Durden. Each morning we would awaken to find tufts of orange fur scattered around the apartment.
After about a week, Zeus began to venture into the apartment during the day. He is a regal type, does not jump much, but he likes to get sun on the window sill, sprawl out along the sofa, or climb into bed with us. Tiny is still a little spitfire who eats everything, plays soccer, and needs to be everywhere the rest of us are. He doesn’t like to be held, but he does like to tussle.
Tomorrow is Zeus’ first birthday and we will celebrate with him and his little buddy Tiny. It’s fascinating to have two extremely different personalities living with us now. As we get to know them and watch them grow, I just hope our apartment can withstand their Fight Club as they become bigger.