Ruby is 13 going on 14 and fit as a fiddle, a very soft pudgy fiddle. I actually never thought I would have a cat. Growing up, my family was not just a dog family, but an Irish Setter family. [I will have one of my own someday, but I'm not quite ready to impose that on Ruby!] I ended up with Ruby when a friend's cat had kittens. She loved cats and convinced me that not only did I need a cat, but that I should have this particular cat, that she was special. She was right on both accounts.
Now I'm always sad when people say they are not cat-people. I used to be one of you and I think you should reconsider. Saying that you are not a cat-person is like saying that you are not a love-person. I loved my dogs, but the kind of love you get from a kitty is different. It's quiet. Satisfied. So sweet. It makes your heart all melty and warm.
You might be wondering about where her name came from. Believe it or not, people were not naming children Ruby in 1998! I had had Ruby for about a week and was trying and trying to name her. One evening, I suddenly remembered a dream from years ago where I had a black and white kitten and her name was Ruby. That did it.
Kids love Ruby, she is a celebrity among the little ones in our life. She's gotten pretty good at dealing with them, and I have taught them how to put their little hands behind their back while they lean forward to let her give them a hello sniff. This seems to put everyone at ease. Inevitably, she does not stay around too long when the under-5 crowd is present, but she always says hi.
When I got Ruby as a kitten, I wasn't that much more than one myself. Not that I felt young at the time, no 23 seemed quite old. But it isn't at all, as those of on the other side of 30 know.
Ruby helped me so much in those years. She taught me about stillness, exploring the unknown, and about unconditional cuddles and love and just being. She is still teaching me these lessons, as she perches on my lap while I'm plugged in to my laptop, waiting for me to give her a little facetime, a scratch on the head, a tickle under the chin.
Having something or someone to love is so important. It can be hard sometimes, but it is so important to health and happiness. When I was in a very dark place in my life, Ruby was that being, and I'm glad to give her a lifetime of warmth, good food, and soft laps in return. It's really no sacrifice at all.