My Pets

My Pride and Joy: Lexi

I’d like to introduce you all to my adorable, trusty little sidekick:  Miss Lexi.  This furry little bundle of love has been faithfully at my side for eight and a half years. My ex-boyfriend Jamie and I adopted her in late July of 2007 when she was just a few weeks old. I know that she was born sometime in June, because it was decided that she would be ours the day she was born.  I remember Jamie coming home one afternoon and telling me about a new litter of kittens that had just been born on his brother’s farm and how there was one all-white female kitten in the bunch that he had noticed and chosen to be ours.  I don’t recall what day that was, so I celebrate Lexi’s birthday on the day that we brought her home.

I vividly recall the day she arrived home.  I wasn’t expecting her to join us so soon, but I guess Jamie couldn’t wait any longer because as I was taking a shower one evening, he came into the bathroom and sheepishly asked me, “Can I go ahead and get the kitten now?”  I agreed and then quickly scrambled together another set of food and water dishes and a bed for the new kitten.  Then I sat down and drew up a list of possible names for the new kitten. Out of all the names on the list, Jamie said he liked Lexi the best, so that’s what we named her.

When he arrived home with the cat carrier and set it down on the living room floor, I looked inside but did not see a kitten. For a minute there I wondered if he had forgotten to put the kitten in the carrier. So I looked again, and this time I spied a TINY little white kitten sitting among the folds of the towel Jamie had put in the carrier.  She was quietly sitting upright like a proper little lady…..and I immediately noticed that she seemed to be smiling.

babylexi

The little stinker couldn’t have been more than eight weeks old, and she easily fit into the palm of ONE of my hands. At that time, we already had Bailey with us, having adopted her a month or two before adopting Lexi.  Bailey had only recently adjusted to her new home and was NOT happy about another kitty entering the picture.  I had to keep them separated for a good two weeks until Bailey stopped trying to attack the kitten and decided to become friends instead.

Initially, Jamie intended for the new kitten to specifically be a pet for his four-year-old son.  I was okay with that until I saw how rough and reckless his son often handled the kitten. I strongly suspected that the child had ADHD or some other type of hyperactivity disorder, and I did not feel that he was old enough or calm enough to have a pet. And Jamie wasn’t very reliable about making sure both cats were fed and watered or cleaning their litter boxes, either. Most of the pet responsibilities fell to me, which I did not mind at all. So when Jamie and I parted ways a month or two later, I adamantly insisted that BOTH cats were coming with me when I moved out of our house, and I wasn’t taking “no” for an answer.  I was going to see to it that both of those cats remained with me and received the love and care they deserved for the rest of their lives.

Since I had nowhere else to go, my family welcomed me back home.  Grandma wasn’t thrilled with the idea of me bringing two cats into our home, but she quickly fell in love with them…..especially baby Lexi. I remember how Grandma peeked at Lexi through the screen door of the cat carrier as I brought her into the house for the first time and exclaimed, “Well HI, you bad thing!!”  I knew then that there would be no more objections to both cats coming to live at our house. LOL!  Grandpa took a quick liking to Bailey, while little Lexi stole Grandma’s heart.  Grandpa nicknamed Lexi “Bullet” due to the way she would tear through the house at lightening speed.  Grandma often called her “Hot Shot”.  Later on I often heard Grandma call her “Lexikins”, and sometimes she would say to her “Well Hello, Lexico!!”  Grandma always had a way of twisting all of my cats’ names into weird variations.

Bailey and Lexi absolutely thrived in that home with me and my family doting over them and giving them all the love and care that we could.  Both cats–particularly Lexi–were rambunctious and obnoxious, and Grandma often remarked to them, “Cat, you are a PAIN!”  But we all knew she adored those cats.  During the few years that Grandma looked after my cats while I was in Florida, it has been said that there were a few times when Grandma had stated to other people, “Well….my granddaughter is supposed to come get the cats soon and take them with her back to Florida…..but they’ve been here for so long that they would miss this house if she moved them…..and this is the only home they’ve ever really known….so I wonder if maybe I should just keep them both here with me for good.”  My family and I laughed when they told me that.  No matter how many times Grandma remarked that the cats were annoying pains in the butt, we all knew she was attached to them just as much as I was.

grandmawithlexi

When I moved from Illinois to Florida, Grandma and I agreed that it would be best if I left both cats with her until I was fully settled in.  Unfortunately, the first condo I moved into in Florida did not allow pets.  So for the first three years that I lived here, I was without my babies. I missed them terribly and looked forward to holding and petting them every year when I returned home for Christmas.  Even when they only saw me once a year, Bailey and Lexi never forgot who I was. Lexi had a difficult time dealing with my absences at first, but eventually she learned that Mama always comes back.  She reacted pretty negatively during my first two return visits, but eventually she began welcoming me Home as soon as I walked into the door during my final visits.  Grandma once told me, “She’s never forgotten you….and she never will.”  After moving into a bigger condo that allows pets last May, I arranged to drive Bailey and Lexi down to Florida with me at the end of my visit for Christmas.  But sadly, Bailey passed away before that could happen.  And then Grandma passed away right before Thanksgiving, forcing me to go and bring Lexi to Florida a month and a half early since now there was no one left in the house to look after her.

Poor Lex lost her sister Bailey and her beloved caretaker Grandma in the span of only three weeks, and then she was suddenly uprooted from the only home she had ever really known and made to ride in a vehicle for close to 24 hours straight.  I gotta hand it to her though, Lexi handled that long car ride like a champ!!  She never fussed or howled or caused any problems throughout the entire trip.  I think the poor thing was too scared and confused to know what to do or think!  And she adjusted to her new home settings far more quickly than I ever imagined she would.  She hid behind the washer and dryer for about an hour (until I started them up to do some laundry), and then she came out to explore her new home.  As soon as she saw my big fluffy bed with the canopy over it, she hopped right up and made herself right at home, and that was that!

lexi2

Over the last four months, Lexi has adjusted well to her new surroundings and she is happy to be with her Mama again. I feel guilty that she doesn’t have a full-sized house and yard to run around in anymore, so I do the best I can to keep her stimulated and entertained.  Now that I recently furnished my outdoor balcony, she LOVES to sit outside and enjoy the fresh air.  And now that she lives in a year-round summer climate, she can sit outside and enjoy it all year long instead of being trapped inside during the winter months.

Bailey’s remains are with us as well, as she sits on my dresser bureau in her beautiful urn watching over us as she always did. Lexi and I definitely have a special close bond with one another, and I’m sure it’s due to the fact that I’ve had her with me since she was a tiny kitten. Other than Grandma and a few of our other relatives who have been around her often, I’m really all she has ever known.  Everyone can easily tell that I am the entire world to her.  And she means the world to me, too.  After posting countless photos and videos of my cats on social media for many years, Lexi has quite a following of “fans”.  Many people who have never met her feel as if they know her. Even people who claim to not like cats very much have admitted to admiring Lexi for her beauty and her cute shenanigans.

A lot of people–mostly back home in the Midwest–used to tell me that I needed to hurry up and get pregnant and have kids instead of cats.  No thanks!  Lexi is as close to having a kid as I need or want. She’s loud, she’s needy and clingy, she throws temper tantrums much like a human child, and she has needs that must be regularly attended to.  There are times when she gets on my last nerve, so I KNOW that having an actual human child would drive me insane.  Nope, Lexi is the closest thing to a child that I’ll ever need.

The hardest part about having pets is knowing that they have a limited number of years of life.  As long as she remains healthy, Lexi could live close to twenty years.  But that still isn’t that long when you look at the big picture. That’s why I have to cherish every day that I have with my beloved pets, because I know that there will come a day when they will no longer be here with me, and all I will have left of them are memories.  Although Lexi will never even know my name, I hope she will always know just how much I love her. ❤

snuggling

I hope you will all enjoy reading future posts about my furry little stinkpot, because you KNOW there will be more!! 🙂

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