I took this photo of Wendy chilling in front of the roaring air conditioner this evening. (Toffee is wondering where her birthday cake is. I suspect he's planning on arson by jumping through the candles.)
We were having dinner as she was lying there, so we had a little talk with her.
Me: Happy birthday, Wendy! You're 4 years old now! Don't you think it's time for you to relax and feel safe here?
Husband: Yeah, Wendy, do you think it might be time to start settling in?
Husband: Will you please think about unpacking?
Wendy was the "project kitten" we adopted after we lost our plump and loving lap cat, Bunnelina. Bunny had needed a lot of nursing and hand-feeding, and I was left aching, with a lot of time and energy to devote to nurturing another cat. Wendy was feral and we hoped to socialize her and make her comfortable around people. Little did we know she came with ringworm. (And, boy, did I get a "project.") We were warned not to handle her very much during the months it took to treat her and the other three cats. We caved and handled her and little Possum anyway, but it wasn't enough for her. By the time she was cured, she was too old to change her skittish ways. She wasn't used to meeting strangers because our apartment had been under quarantine, so hardly anyone besides us and the cat hospital staff has ever seen her.
Even so, she blossomed in her way, and I think she enjoys her time here when she's not Afraid She Is About To Die. She loves to be petted at certain times, in certain places, mostly by my husband. When she's in the right mood, you can stroke her belly and play with her feet, and her purr is the loudest of all the cats. A few seconds later, with no warning, she'll dash away with a fearful look as if she's never seen a human before. That's Wendy, conflicted and anxious, and a lesson to us all. We adore her. We will always be patient and reassuring with her. And maybe someday, she'll relax.
Happy birthday, kid. Maybe you'll let your guard down when you're 5.
Wendy takes a nap while holding her favorite toy, a leopard-print mouse with a feather tail. (Such a weird toy.) This was taken during the Ringworm Plague, when we were forced to adopt a grad-student, Indian-bedspread, bare-floors, no-pillows, no-curtains decorating scheme throughout the apartment.
What a little beauty she was. Now she's a big beauty.