I remember it all very well, you know, even this many years later.
I was three, maybe four.
She was just a baby.
She was always small
She was my second cat.
My first one was named Little, because that’s what she was, was little.
This one, this little orphaned black and white roly-poly ball of fuzz, I called her Puff
Because I was four, and that name just seemed right for this cat
Who seemed more fur than body
Stuck all up like a little briar with legs.
I couldn’t keep her inside—I was allergic
And so was my dad
But she stayed outside
And I would bring her in sometimes
Not too often
And we would play
And she got fixed so she wouldn’t have little ones
(But Little took care of that anyways, the little ones)
The first time she wandered, I was five
I was so scared and I cried
Because I thought something happened to her
And she came back not a week later just the same
Soon, her wanderings got more and more frequent,
And she still disappears, sometimes for months on end
But she always comes back
As she was when she left.
She grew up
Gained a little weight that she never loses
But she's not fat
She's not sickly either
Just like she was when I was four
My special little cat
My little roly-poly Puff.