But he was a good dad, and my mom told him to suck it up, so there he was with a grumpy look on his face and two daughters who were really excited about the idea of getting new pets.
I really wanted a female cat. Isis was my favorite growing up and I figured a girl was the way to go. I don't think my sister had a preference as long as it was fluffy and snuggly. We also didn't care about the age of the cats, ours lived for nearly two decades, I just knew I wasn't getting anything with a ton of fur, no, thank, you.
At the time the AWS only had one cat room-they were all about dogs then so there was a good chance we were going to walk out of there without any four legged friends. It just so happened that the AWS got a new litter of kittens a few weeks before our visit and all of them had just been spayed and neutered.
My sister found an UBER fluffy, long haired cat she positively adored and I found a few grey and brown tabby kittens that looked a little bit like Isis. I asked the volunteer which of the group were female and after she pointed them out, I picked one up that I thought would be a nice companion. Being tender from her recent spaying, she was not happy about being handled and squirmed and meowed her way out of my grasp. She was not the snuggly friend I was looking for. I looked at the other short haired tabbys from her litter and this sweet, tiny little male cat caught my eye. I picked him up and he sat happily in my arms. No squirming or complaining. He let me pet him and hug him and he didn't try to claw my eyes out or nothin'. He was my guy.
I was getting into art and really loved the works of Norman Rockwell so I decided on Norman. (My best friend, Christine, loved Hitchcock films so she always called him Norman Bates but that was NOT his name Christine!) My sister named her cat Chester, I'm not sure why but the name fit him well just the same.
This is one of the few pictures I have of our two cats together. Norman and Chester as kittens, exploring the yard for the first time. Look how tiny Norman is!
We brought our cats home and the snuggling began immediately.
I mean, look at this guy
How could you not love that face!
Everyone who visited since that day has fallen in love with my Norman. He was just one awesome, laid back kitty. He snuggled like no other but was still independent and did his own thing.
As I grew up, so did my cat. He and Chester protected the house from "intruders" and they just loved showing off their handy work, like any proud kitty, by laying their "presents" at our front step every once and a while. And, I can't speak for Chester, but Norman was one hell of a mouser!
I went off to college and came home about once a month each semester. Though we didn't see each other often, Norman was always waiting to snuggle with me whenever I was around for a visit. He loved spreading out on "his half" of my king sized bed and was your classic lap cat. He had a meow that would melt your heart too. Even as he got older, his sweet little kitten meow never changed.
After college, Joe and I got together and when Joe came to live with us, Norman found a new friend. His favorite seat in the house was either on top of Joe's desk in front of his keyboard or on Joe's lap in front of the television. He could sit with Joe for hours and I don't think Joe would have had it any other way because, like Norman, Joe was pretty laid back himself. The picture above is Norman in Joe's office chair, I think he liked to keep it warm for his "daddy".
Norman in his favorite spot....with a packing peanut on his head....thanks Joe.
This cat also had a thing for people's cars. Whenever I'd come home, he'd come right up the my driver's door and try to get inside the car. He did it to everyone, me, Joe, even my friend Dave. Yet this silly cat never actually enjoyed going for rides. One time he climbed into Dave's car just as we were about to run a quick errand. I jokingly suggested we bring Norman along and that poor cat meowed and meowed for the entire 7 minute trip.
Relaxing in my Jetta after thoroughly exploring, silly Norman, you can't nap in cars.....
A lot of my friends used to tease Norman about his "sad eyes". A lot of (dumb) friends used to say he looked like he was stoned but one of Joe's friends met Norman for the first time and immediately thought, I still don't see it, that he looked like a dinosaur. He quickly came up with the name Lil D and never called Norman by his actual name after that.
This cat also LOVED boxes, he used to shove himself in boxes that were far too small for him and would, uncomfortably, sit in them for hours, even days. He liked to do the typical cat thing and find one spot in the house to lounge in for an extended period of time and then move on to another completely random (to us) spot. No matter what I was doing, the moment a box or container was open, Norman would find his way inside and did not enjoy having to leave before he was good and ready.
Oh, you needed this?
I know everyone has or has had a pet that changed their life and for me, it was Norman. He was the first pet that was ever really MINE. And I'm sure his manners and behaviors are very similar to those of other cats, but he was my boy.
I've had him for half of my life and this week we had to say goodbye. I don't know how to condense 15 years of love into a blog post so I'll end it here. Saying goodbye is always the hardest part and this is one incredible friend I'll never be able to forget.
He was an amazing first pet. He never caused any trouble and just wanted to hang out and be loved and give some love of his own. Other pets have a come and gone, a lot in fact. But I'll never be able to thank you enough for the wonderful years of companionship and comfort Norman, but thank you just the same. I love you and you'll always be in my heart and the hearts of our friends and family.
I don't just like you sir, I love you, I will always love you