I used to sleep on a love seat when I was a poor student. Actually, it was a pull out bed, with a thin foam mattress that folded up like an accordion underneath the seat pillows when not in use. But since my room had just enough space for a loveseat, and the foam mattress was about as good as sleeping on a blanket, I generally opted to simply curl up and sleep uncomfortably on the love seat.  At least it was padded. And it was free.

Then one day I complained to the Hubby (who was just the Associate at the time) that my back was killing me. Sleeping for months curled up like a ball and losing feeling in my legs when I stretched out and dangled them over the arm rest, was making me a wreck. My overall sleep quality was terrible: I had difficulties falling asleep, I tossed all night, woke up stiff and sore and I was desperate for a cheap solution.

He said that he’d take care of it.

Two nights later I received a call from him. “Hi K. I couldn’t find you a bed. But I found you something better.”

“What?”

“A cat.”

Somehow this smooth talking Associate not only convinced me to marry him, but also convinced me to own a pet. I was never a true animal person before the cat — I had a few birds growing up, but certainly nothing with fur and four legs.  I had never even imagined myself with a cat, rabbit or gerbil for that matter.

While searching online for a cheap bed, he found a woman who was giving away a Siamese Snowshoe and charging only $25 for its food, carrier and litterbox.  So I thought about it, consulted the roommates, and read up on feline care.  After a couple of days I said yes to the cat.

I had daydreams of a sleek and mysterious Siamese purring around the house. Eastern tones coloured my thoughts and I wanted to name it something exotic and stoic like, ‘Wisdom,’ ‘Leto,’ or ‘Sophia.’  Once named in my mind, I grew excited to meet the cat. When the Associate arrived with a plain cardboard box and a growling creature inside, I became frightened. What if a cat was too much to handle? It’s another life form. I can’t even take care of a cactus, let alone another living creature. What if it doesn’t like me? Ruins the furniture? Gets sick? Or heaven forbid, gets sick enough to be put down while in my care.

The Associate put the box on the floor, and after a few minute of silence, out popped a terrified, long, plump and very fuzzy cat. I took one look at this bruiser and fell in love. He was no ‘Sophia.’ He was a king.  A Solomon.

He patrolled the house and staked out his territory — luckily choosing my room as home base.  As he grew more comfortable with us and his new surroundings, his guard slowly let down and his true personality came shining through. This cat was silly, scared of his own shadow, loved paper, had a goofy, “I’m confused about everything, but I trust you people and I love you” look on his face, and would sleep with me when I pulled out the fold-up mattress.  He had the most gorgeous blue eyes, a beautiful melodious voice and was just plain cute. His favourite pastime (and ours) was to play ‘Cirque du Solly’ — where we would sing Phantom of the Opera and Jesus Christ Superstar and have Solly chase his favourite stringed toy in circles at the appropriate crescendos and vocal climaxes.

Sadly, about four years into our relationship I had to give him up. It killed me to do so. Due to circumstance, I was moving back home to my parent’s house, and there was no way he was allowed to come with me. Heartbroken, I put up an ad online, interviewed a few people, and chose a young family to take him in. I met them and felt that he would do well living in a huge house, with a mommy who was craving feline attention and her little 2 year old boy who was excited for a pet.

After an extremely tearful goodbye, I left him in the care of near strangers.  I worried about him daily.  For months Solly was in my dreams telling me he was okay and happy — and each morning I woke up sobbing. I was actually surprised at how much of an impact he had on my life.

I’ve been thinking about Solly a lot recently.  You see, Eryn is a lot like Solly.

Just like he did, Eryn plays with toilet paper, follows me around the house, bumps my legs with her head, sits at my feet and asks to be picked up, sits outside of the bathroom when I’m inside and sticks her fingers under the door, chases balls, gets excited over her favourite food (cucumbers currently), and when she was really young, she would make cat-like mewling noises when alone in her bassinet.  Pretty much the only thing she doesn’t do is chase string.

Now, I’m not saying my baby is a cat — but perhaps some of his personality rubbed off on me, and it’s now being reflected in Eryn. Whatever the reason, its nice to have that occasional reminder, not only because he was a wonderful pet, but also because he helped facilitate feelings of attachment between myself and the Associate.  Solly is a lovely part to our story, and his time with us will be told to our little family for as long as I remember him.

Solly always tried his best to distract me from Arabic homework.

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