Dear Mika: A Gotcha Letter To My Cat

Dear my cat Mika,

The minute I met you, I knew that you’d be my cat.

I knew that you’d be my cat, but I never wanted to adopt a cat. I didn’t want a pet at all. You cramp my style. I can’t just leave without making plans for you. You’re a living, breathing creature in my care. You’re expensive. You make messes. You get angry and sulk, and everyone says what a mean, terrible cat you are. But I love you, and the minute I met you, I knew that you’d be my cat.

I didn’t adopt you right away, but I fed you every day. I brought you blankets when it got cold. Before I left for the United States on a one-way ticket, I promised you that I’d be back. I checked on you all the time, and when I came back, you recognized the sound of my voice and ran towards me, leaped into my arms, and purred.

You were so thin. I could see every rib in your body. You had babies. They were freezing outside. I took care of all of them, my stress levels spiking when they learned how to walk on wobbly legs and started scratching things. Every baby got adopted. I got you spayed and chipped. I kept saying that I’d put you back out on the street because I’d done a good thing. I saved your babies, but I couldn’t let you go.

You’re a very mean cat. You’re aloof, and you bite the vet. I can’t get the street cat out of you. You’re food aggressive and neurotic. You have separation anxiety. When it rains, you hide under my legs, and I remember that time before you were my cat when you’d tap the windows with your paws, trying to get inside and away from the thunder. You’ll never be outside in a rainstorm ever again. You’ll never be hungry or scared ever again because you’re my cat.

I’ve traveled to 28 different countries, and I’ve met plenty of street animals that I adored for a short time. Why are you different? How did you worm your way into my heart and make me say “screw it, we’ll figure it out.” How can I travel with you? Do you trust me to take care of you? Every apartment I look at is more expensive because of you. Flying is tricky, and anyway, you’re not even an objectively nice cat. You scratch all of my friends, and you’ve grown gigantic now that you have access to regular food.

Sometimes I think about what a bitch you are. Everyone says it. Then I think about how you woke me up before an earthquake and meowed until I got downstairs, how you ran to protect me when I got bit by another cat, how you snuggle up under the covers and sit with me all night, how you never bite or scratch me- ever- even when you’re angry, and how you wait at the door when you know I’m coming home. Then I think it must have been immediate for you too. The minute you met me, you knew I’d be your human. That maybe we bonded in an instant, and that there doesn’t have to be a tangible or logical reason why. It just is.

One year ago today, I met you. Six months ago, I saved you and your kittens from the cold. Two months ago, I officially adopted you, but really, I mentally adopted you when we first met in Avalabari twelve months ago to the day. You adopted me too, and we are both so lucky.

Love always,

Your human Beth

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Elizabeth Lavis

Hello! I’m a travel writer who’s been published in the Huffington Post, Canadian Traveller, Prevention Magazine, American Way Magazine