That's Guen. Yup, she's prettier than you. Yup, unless you're a certain Hack, it's very likely that I love her more than I'll ever love you. Kinda makes you feel bad for any kids I might have someday (or that I already had and don't know/remember), that I'll likely love this cat more than even my own seed.
But you see, Guen saved my life once, then later she was a catalyst (sorry for the pun) for saving it. Her and her sisters (RIP Kalibeta), form the basis for one of those clever mantras that I've lived by for a grip, that being "No matter how bad it gets, always feed the cats."
You're probably wondering how Guen saved my life (or you don't care, but I'm going to tell you anyway). Well, a long time ago, I did something dumb. I really wasn't strong enough to recover from the dumb thing I'd done on my own, so I sought escape wherever it could be found. I piled bad stuff on top of dumb stuff until I really didn't want to do any stuff at all. At that point, I tried to snuff it. I look back now and think What a fucking coward. but back then it made perfect sense to me based on how bad I'd let things get. I laid out a plate of Fancy Feast, took 30 pills that definitely weren't meant to be taken thirty at a time, washed them down with some scotch, and went to lay down on my waterbed one last time.
So I'm dozing off. At that dosage, I'd be long gone before anyone would notice, and there wouldn't be anything doing if they had. My eyelids get all heavy-like, and up jumps this little ball of grey-and-brown fluff. She sits down right beside my head and starts howling. It was the mournful kind of howl that made me get out of bed and let her and her sister out of the bathroom when they were too young to be sleeping with a big guy like me. I rolled my head to one side, reached over to pet her, and the delicate orientation that kept my body from purging (If you're going to kill yourself with pills, lay down on your back. Do not look sideways for any reason. The rationale being that even if you pop, you won't be able to expel all of it in time.) was thrown completely out of whack. I puked my guts out over the edge of the bed, and I lived.
I know she's an animal and she didn't mean to. She probably just wanted attention or was gripey that she couldn't eat food as fast as the other cats because she had a cracked hard palate (thanks, non-window-propping-open fuckers). Still, she didn't cry like that unless something was wrong. I don't know what she knew, but she saved me.
After that, I developed an entrepreneurial streak. Those cats were going to eat and eat well as long as they deigned to stay with me. I sold some things I probably shouldn't to some people I probably shouldn't and got into some scrapes and did some more bad shit I really don't want to cop to right now. Through it all (even the convincing of a random junkie that our house was, in fact, completely dry whilst said junkie waved a gun in my mug), the mantra of "feed the cats" kept me going. Hell, after while it even made me a better person (after all, if something happened to me, who would feed them?).
Now that I'm a responsible, new-car-owning managerial-type, I've sorta grown beyond this simple mantra. Sometimes though, I really wish I'd stayed where I was. The simple act of caring for something else was livening, and occasionally, I long for that simplicity again.