A year ago today, I picked up Genevieve and Eloise. They had different names, Wynonna and Loretta, respectively. I wanted French names, not ones that sounded like characters in a Western. Genevieve is named after a passing fancy from my university days. Eloise because it’s just a lovely name.
When I got in contact with Toronto Cat Rescue about the adoption, I made sure to get a pair. I wanted for them to have someone else to play with, to roam around with, and to bond with. Genevieve and Eloise are sisters.
They were thin then. Now, they’re healthy. Genevieve is slightly more healthy. Both are gorgeous. Just, gorgeous.
Over the course of the last year, their characters have developed and I’m better able to discern who they are. Eloise nips at toes under covers at the end of a bed. Genevieve would sooner turn away from you than risk any intimacy. Eloise likes to explore, to jump, and scratch. Every morning, she joins me while I write my morning pages. Genevieve sleeps in the dryer, so I leave some towels in there for her to sleep on. She has also claimed my Poäng. Eloise gets the other side of the couch from mine. They make sure to wake me when they’re hungry, usually together.
Closed doors are an issue for them. The laundry room door is propped open, the hallway closet door has to be opened at least once a day, the bathroom door can’t be closed unless the shower is running, and the bedroom door never closes. Even the sliding mirrored panels for the bedroom closet are left open. If any of the doors should be closed, they will scratch at them with the persistence of a river through a canyon. Long, full-bodied scratches. Cupboards, however, present no issues.
I enjoy the inconveniences they bring into my life. I really like them. They bring me comfort. They give me a reason to care. They are very important to me.
They love each other, too. They bathe each other, cuddle up on the desk chair together, sleep next to one another on the bed, and chase each other around the apartment. They eat on different placemats but only when I’m watching.
We communicate. Genevieve will come find me, lead me down the hallway, turning back to make sure I’m still there, and then she’ll stop. I always assume it’s because she wants food. She does like it when we play with her flying feather toy. When she gets hold of it, she’ll run off with it. Always to the rug bedside the bed. Eloise will scratch my bum through the sheets if I’m in bed, pull my hands toward her mouth to nip at them, or do this incredibly endearing clapping when she’s excited. She sits back on her hind legs and “claps” with her front paws.
It’s strange, though, isn’t it? They had no choice in any of this. They have agency but little effect. They are dependent on me providing them with an environment in which flourish. I’m cautious about how far outside of the doors they can roam. Genevieve likes to wander the hallways around the elevator lobby, and she can when I get home late at night, but only for a little while. Eloise likes being outside on the balcony, and I always have an eye out when she is.
Without them, the apartment would feel empty. Colder, even. The quiet I enjoy would be undisturbed. I’d be able to work at my desk without having curious eyes watching what I’m doing. The aglets of my shoelaces would remain intact. But, then, we three wouldn’t be enjoying our life together.