Reunited! Reunited with Athena! Hard to believe it’s been ten years since all the stars aligned and my mother’s old school friend’s cat got preggers and there was suddenly a shock of directionless kittens looking for homes, and my baby sister did well on a national exam and appealed for a reward in the form of permission, not a cat, but permission to get a cat, and for the cat to stay. Prior to this, we had fostered a bunch of cats — fostered in the sense that we would simply pick up injured lost strays and bring them home, to the chagrin of my parents… at our peak Catdom we had three cats, i think, though I might be mixing up the timelines. It came to a point where whenever there were abandoned kittens in the neighborhood people would call us and we would turn our big pleading eyes on our parents and if they said no we would take the kittens home anyway. In retrospect we were not easy daughters but at least we always meant well. Right? Right. There are worse problems to have in daughters beyond a tendency to rescue and house cats, is what i am telling myself. And every time we nursed the kittens or strays back to health, we would seek out a family who would want them, and every single time we handed the cats over to their new loving homes we would cry and cry. But you cannot live with a cat and stay disaffected, each separation must have sliced away at my parents too, and so when my baby sister turned twelve, and when the opportunity for permission and reward intersected, my mother finally said, fine, but in her heart i think she was — we were — all thinking, finally. Home, finally. A home, finally. Family. And we had all these dreams of a cat who would love us and curl up beside us and boop our noses with her (it was always going to be a her) cute little pink paw pads and melt our hearts and be everything we ever wanted. And we saw Athena and we thought she was going to be it. But she grew up grumpy as all hell, a cat who wails at everything and is scared of bugs and rain and cries whenever another cat walks by and hates being groomed and sheds like a bitch and refuses to be held for more than ten seconds and complains whenever it is too hot as if we could control the weather and you know what, everyone is surprised, and I’m surprised too, but it really was everything we ever wanted. Athena, the perfect cat. My sweet baby.