Currently reading: Skaboom! An American Ska and Reggae Oral History
Growing up, my family always had cats and dogs, so it's hard for me to imagine not having a little animal companion to share my life with. When I was a senior in college and I got my first apartment, I went to a nearby shelter and picked out a four-year-old tortie cat that I named Fender after the guitar company. She was small and stubborn, but very loving and affectionate (kind of like me), and she quickly adapted to apartment life. She did everything with gusto; she loved to eat and was not picky about food; she loved to nap and did it in hilarious positions; she was always thrilled and talkative when I came home. She went through many moves with me, boyfriends and roommates, and she was steadfast through it all. After I watched The Golden Compass - I never read those books and I know I should - I started saying she was my daemon.
Well, in her 22nd(!) year, she developed lymphoma in her lungs and couldn't breathe, and after the worst couple days, I had to let them put her to sleep. Words can't describe how lucky I was to have her with me for so long.
Three years later, in the middle of the pandemic, I decided it was time to give another fur baby a home. I fully intended to get another adult cat, but my friend who runs a cat rescue had just gotten a bunch of street kittens in, and her one adult cat still needed more socializing. So I met this four-month-old tuxedo kitty with huge whiskers and she stole my heart. I named her Ozma after the princess in Return To Oz (or from the L. Frank Baum books). I brought her home and she immediately tried to dumpster dive ("Hey lady, there's food in this can!"), so I quickly had to kitten-proof my apartment. Now she is a wild, funny one-year-old who grew into those whiskers! Not counting Maine coons, she's the longest cat I've seen, and she can stretch like Mr. Fantastic. She's also super loving and a little feisty, kinda like me.
And so, a missing piece of my heart has been plugged in. I'm so grateful for my daemons.