Hagia was the littlest of the litter born on 1 September 1995 in my parents' garden. We them took in: Zeus (then called Sofia, but that's another story), Groucho and Scutterbotch. Scutterbotch, an affectionate marmalade tabby, was adopted out within a few weeks and Groucho, a grey kitty with anger management issues, eventually found a home with the exbf. Hagia and Zeus stayed (Bean later joined the tribe).
In as much as they were so small, she was the smallest: for weeks she'd hide under the dishwasher, hissing and growling as if she were a cat the size of a dishwasher. Hiss, growl and carry on she did, until one day I picked her up (squirming with needle-like claws and yelling at the top of her lungs), lay down on the couch, and held her on my tummy as I fell asleep. I awoke about an hour later to find this little grey and white tabby with tiny vampire fangs and a little goatee sprawled on my belly, fast asleep.
When she awoke, Hagia decided I was her human. And the rest is history.
For almost 17 years she was my constant companion. She followed me around the house, her little bottom bouncing up and down like a bunny's as she ascended and descended the steps and quietly kept me company as I tapped away on my laptop.
She took care of me as much as I did her--the first time I had food poisoning Hagia mustered all her courage to explain (at great length) to the exbf that her human was sick and he, having opposable thumbs, needed to do something to fix it. One night when I came in very late from a date, she waited for me, and tried to corral me into the basement so I could deal with the burst water heater (tried being the operative word...I put her off...that was the last time I would ignore her anxious chatter). She even took care of My Dear Little Cardamummy, purring while lying on mum's bad ankle, like little furry heating pad.
Hagia also had opinions on the various men in my life: The exbf was there to do her bidding. Michael was fine to talk to on the phone, but couldn't bother with him in real life (in the three years we were together, she never came out to see him). And Dear Soul...Dear Soul wasn't worth the effort and she didn't see what I saw in him.
She was a determined little neat freak: she straightened rugs and decided what actually belonged on the dresser (new-to-her things were always nudged off)...and what she couldn't do, she decided who amongst the humans was the best person to do her bidding.
They say pets and their people take on each other's personalities. I have it on good authorities (yes, multiple sources) that this was true of Hagia and me: rather shy, born organisers, headstrong unless you can prove you know better. We can both defend ourselves--me, with words..her, with paws.
And while she wasn't one for cooking, Hagia liked to sit and watch me in the kitchen, her little nose following aromas as they wafted by. Her palate was akin to mine: black olives, bleu cheese, butter, croissants, flour, lemon grass, sugar, vanilla cake. She also had a taste for tequila, as I found out while I had margarita ice cream.
For all but the last month or so she looked and acted nothing like an almost 17-year old cat should. She was pleasantly plump, bunny hopping up and down the stairs, and (of course) offering her opinions on everything. The above photo was taken three weeks ago; this week she was looking drawn and gaunt.
But time caught up...kidney issues and seizures meant regular visits with Dr. Bonnie and assistant Julie: being being poked and prodded, pilled, jabbed and occasionally force fed. Hagia didn't complain...much.
But time caught up.
In one sigh I lost Hagia in the day's wee hours.
I like to think she had a good life--she was warm, dry and well nourished. She played safely, she snoozed deeply and she realised that there were humans she could direct. But most of all, she was loved.
Sleep well, Little One.