I adopted Tinker in February 1998, and at best guess, she’s probably 14 (human) years old. I had moved to Houston in September 1997, and was ready to have a cat take over my apartment and place its pawprints on my heart. I visited the adoption center of a local non-profit, Citizens for Animal Protection, and spotted Tinker right away, a cute tabby kitten meowing away in her cage. As I held her, she did all the right things - purring, nuzzling, and the like - and I was sold.
As the eldest cat in the household, Tinker can be a diva, but she certainly doesn’t hold alpha or even beta pet status. (You’ll learn more about Miles and Spaz later.) She doesn’t seem to care for the two boys - that might be an understatement - and hisses and even swats whenever she feels her territory is being invaded.
While there’s no love lost between Tinker and her cat siblings, she is unusually attached to me, the original household member in her life. She follows me around the house, even if I’m only running upstairs for a moment to grab something, and comes downstairs each evening as I arrive home after work to greet me with a series of persistent meows. I am sometimes curious of the reason for this attachment, since the other cats don’t share it; I often wonder if some health issues I had at the time Tinker was a kitten caused us to have a uniquely strong bond.
Until recently, Tinker was very reserved around strangers, sometimes to the point of hiding away in another room. Lately, though, she has come out of her shell. She has been cuddling up to Chris in the afternoon as he naps on the couch and at night in his chair when I’m busy on my laptop. And on recent occasions when we’ve had company over, Tinker has plopped right down on the couch next to a guest, sometimes even on a surprised visitor’s lap. Given her age, Chris and I worry that she could be showing the signs of kitty senility. But we quickly brush aside the concerns and enjoy her purring contentment.
As a perfect example of the attachment between Tinker and me: while writing this blog entry, I’m sitting propped up against an arm of my couch with my legs extended on the cushions. As I finish writing, Tinker has, despite multiple attempts to nest her on a comfy throw pillow next to me, somehow settled on my stomach directly above the laptop. Her outstretched body is resting on my forearms, blocking my view of the keyboard and impeding my ability to finish typing. So I give up, and just sit and pet her and listen to her purring, knowing that the soothing sound will at some point stop.