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I made a somewhat drastic, and terribly good decision about two or so years ago. I got a kitten. It was my final quarter before I graduated university. It was my first time living on my own. I had a cottage out in the country, had a job working at a childcare, and had only two classes to finish off my degree (thank God for summer classes on novel-crafting).

My mom helped me pick my kitten out. I wasn’t convinced at first that this was to be my cat. I was hoping for a little kitten, not a seventh-month old. My first memory of her is in a kitty hammock, alternating between playfully chewing on her sister, and receiving princess-style grooming from her. I remember thinking her tail was shorter than normal and had an odd kink in it. I remember having already picked out the name “Martha Joy,” and that I’d had a tabby in mind.

Short version is that I took her home. The long version is that she’d just been fixed, had to wear a kitty collar that made both of us miserable, and couldn’t climb the ladder up to the loft where I had my bed (she figured out how to climb that… and a million other unwanted things, later). So, I slept on the couch. I say “slept” in the lightest form possible. I didn’t really sleep. I napped, got up in the morning, drove into town for my classes, drove back home for a couple more hours, then went to work for another four or so hours.

Yeah, I was pretty darn exhausted. The kitty didn’t care though. For a cat, she’s incredibly social (one of the reasons I’m living at home again is so she actually has more people around). And she sucked at keeping herself occupied. I tried everything. I made a kitty castle out of the huge vacuum cleaner box, complete with cut out doorways and a lot of duct tape. I rigged up her string to dangle from the loft to the kitchen floor below. I tried trading off between doing homework (when the wifi was actually up, which was rare. That’s another story: when the armed guard had to come when I accidentally set off the alarms in the main house I was renting from) and playing string with her. Hardly anything worked.

But there were plenty of good memories. We faced the Sugar Ant Terror together (it was terrible. The place was infested, which, of course, the landlady didn’t tell us). We dealt with the killer chihuahua that literally climbed trees to go after birds (the thing was insane). I nearly died of laughter when I was gargling in the sink, and looked up to see her tiny kitty head peering down at me between the slats in the loft railing, all puzzled. There were the midday times spent together, out back on the green, green lawn, with the sun shining, and the wild blackberries and swamplands and forests just beyond.

I remember her driving me out of my mind as well. She had to go literally everywhere with me, including the bathroom, which was a big no-no because of the cleaning materials I stored in there. And then there was her voice. Gosh, besides Siamese cats, I have never had a cat who talked so much! She yowled first thing in the morning (and scratched my mattress. Nothing, not even a squirt bottle, helped to discourage her). She fussed when she didn’t have enough attention later in the day. She snuck onto the counter tops when I wasn’t looking. Heck, she even tried to climb the vertical ladder into the attic once after she saw me do it.

It’s been a couple of years now, and she hasn’t changed much. She’s as rambunctious and playful and mischievous and adoring as ever. She’s as social as anything, and still as talkative. She’s my Joy-Joy, and we all love her.

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