Marcy turns nine years old today. Our Cinco de Mayo girl. That’s appropriate considering how many parties she’s helped host in her lifetime.
The first thing I did when I came to Los Angeles, a city where I knew no one at the time, was get a cat. I had grown up with cats and, having lived with roommates in New York City and then in a dorm at graduate school, had been unable to get one of my own. Until now.
“But I’m allergic!” cried Mr. Candy, my then-fiancé who was still in business school at the University of Chicago. I swear he even punctuated his plea with a sneeze. Apparently, just the thought of a cat caused a reaction. Yes! His allergies were THAT strong.
“Oh no,” I sympathized. “I guess you’re going to have to stock up on tissues.”
It’s my sensitivity that made Mr. Candy fall for me, I think.
I strode into the breeder’s house armed with only one hard-and-fast criterion: I wanted a male kitten. Males were more laid-back, I believed, PLUS I did not want the responsibility of spaying a female. Do you know what they do to those poor girls, what with the ovaries and the uterus and whatnot? Just saying the medical term for it is painful: Ovariohysterectomy. Painful, right? Gets stuck in your throat, kind of like one of Marcy’s countless hairballs. Ovariohysterectomy. Uh-uh. Couldn’t do it.
“We just had a big litter. A few of the boys are over here,” explained the helpful and kind breeder, Lisa.
I sat on the floor with the kittens — little fluffballs, all of them — and started to reach for one of the boys when a certain fluffball with a spot on her nose walked right up to me, climbed on my lap and promptly wrapped herself around my arm. I was a goner.
“She’s really playful. The first one at my side every morning,” said Lisa.
My heart dropped a little.
The fluffball nuzzled my arm some more. Oh, she was working me. HARD.
“I’ll take her.”
I hadn’t planned on taking one home that night, so I didn’t have my checkbook, a kitty carrier, nada.
“You can pay me later,” Lisa shrugged, handing me a box containing my spotted fluffball. “Enjoy!”
I left the breeder’s house that night with my first real friend in Los Angeles: Marcy. I named her after my favorite TV sitcom producer and inspiration, Marcy Carsey — a woman whose name may actually be more silly-sounding than my own.
And enjoy Marcy, I have. We have, I should say, because Mr. Candy ended up being the biggest sucker of all and, as it turns out, not allergic to long-haired cats. Miraculously, he no longer sneezes when I say “cat” either! HEALED! The makers of Claritin should bottle his “miracle cure.” Really.
(RAISING A MARGARITA:) Here’s to nine years of Marcy snuggling on my lap as I comb her. Nine years of walking her on a leash out in the courtyard — and her purring the moment she sees the leash. To the anal-retentive girl who takes such care in covering her poop, we’ve gone through several presidential administrations by the time she’s finished — and who disgustedly covers her brother’s messes for him, too. To the cat who affectionately nestled herself beside my baby bump and became intensely depressed when I actually had the baby and she took Marcy’s long-standing place on my lap. To the cat who now follows Miss Skye everywhere… and still plays with the energy of a sprightly fluffball who’s all head. To the cat who’s given me even more laughs than her namesake.
Here’s to nine more, Miss Marcy. Cheers!
P.S. — You don’t look a day over five. Must be those Catox injections! (Such an L.A. kitty.)