We never thought that we would love another animal so soon, yet here we are. In four to six weeks we’ll have a beautiful new fur baby in our home. Meet Jupiter.
Even his name is a bit of a pricking-thorn to us, since it’s the Roman version of Zeus–our recent and dearly departed fur son. We (perhaps subconsciously) chose that name without realizing its significance until after we’d already fallen in love with the name.
Rewinding to how we arrived here: a few weeks ago, we made the decision to get a new brother for Persey. Since Zeus’s passing she has been grief-stricken: meowing and lonely. It’s gotten to the point where she just walks around, wailing, and wakes us in the dead of night. I’ve been getting up at around 2 a.m. most mornings, as once I’m woken, I don’t settle down again. Needless to say I’ve been feeling ragged. I usually grumble at her for a while, then sit with her, since all she really wants is a friend, and she almost immediately calms with my company. Persey has always been a needy, curious creature, though lately her behavior has been testing the limits of our patience. She’s underfoot, constantly. She’s into every cabinet. And just when you might want to get angry at her, she stops and sniffs one of Zeus’s favorite spots and lets out a withering, sad meow.
She misses Zeus: we all do. We got him when he was a baby and she–being a year older–claimed him as her child: grooming him, biting him (in that affectionate way cats do). Even though he had about 6 lbs of size on her, he was always the submissive one. He believed, as she did, that she was his mother or at least older sister. Persey is just as heartbroken as we are. We knew we had to do something.
Now the advantage of being an adoptive (pet) parent, is that you can plan for the arrival of a new fur baby. We discussed our options, checked that our house was kittenproof, and brainstormed exactly what kind of companion Persey needed: a good-natured, large, happy breed, to counter her neurotic tendencies. We would get pet insurance ahead of time, and contacted our veterinarian to go over a checklist of anything and everything new pet parents should know. At the time, too, we were thinking far more of Persey’s welfare and happiness than of our own. This was for her we believed.
Last weekend the national Pet Expo rolled into town, and armed with our questions and lists we met with various breeders and showpersons. Soon after we met Jupiter, and when the illusion of this all being for Persey’s mental health fell apart. I believe in love at first sight, though that’s only ever happened between myself and another human once. When it comes to animals, I’ve felt that pull thrice. You just know, without any qualifiers or doubts, that you want to protect and support that creature. We knew that when we saw this little guy. Only a few weeks to go until he’s grown enough to come home!
I still feel a stab of sorrow whenever I hear Persey cry out, when I glance to the armrest where Zeus used to perch himself, or when see that gorgeous picture of our tuxedo-wearing little fellah on our bathroom wall. Although, my heart has begun to do that shift where the pain is softer and the memories of what was good about him surface more, and Persey’s cries will cease when her baby brother arrives. I’ll still continue to heal for a year, or longer. And what I’ve learned of life–especially after mom–is that the sooner you open yourself up to love again, the faster you can heal: not erase the memory, but embrace it.
One day, I’ll look to Jupiter, purring happily, doing his cattish things (although Maine Coons have dog-like traits), and I’ll think: “I wish you could have met Zeus. I love you both so much,” without that pinch, that tug of a tear, and only with happiness.
All my love,
P.S. If you live in the GTA there’s a national pet adoption push going on at Petsmart and the Humane Society. Get out there and save lives! Persey and Zeus were both rescues and there are thousands of animals in need of loving homes.