The movie the Golden Compass came out in 2007 and right after the movie I turned to my friends and excitedly declared, “I want a daemon!” If you haven’t seen the movie you probably think I’m nuts, but in the movie each person has a “daemon” that is actually their soul in the form of an animal. It seemed that in many ways the type of animal matched the personality of their human. Which makes sense since it is their soul after all. These demons go everywhere with their human providing protection, conversation, and companionship. The appeal to me, aside from the whole talking animal thing, was the idea of having that level of connection with an animal.
Three years ago there was a stray cat that used to come into my backyard. Like all animal suckers, when I saw her I gave her food and affection. She found her way to my back door regularly for several months then disappeared for a while. The next time I saw her she was terribly emaciated, injured, and very pregnant. Instead of feeding her I put her in a carrier and whisked her off to the vet. Her shoulder had a pretty significant open wound and I left her at the vet so they could sedate her and sew it up. What none of us realized, because she was so emaciated was she was ready to pop and pop she did. Before they even got around to fixing her shoulder six surprisingly healthy kittens had entered the world.
Now I was in the middle of some pretty major medical problems and a litter of kittens and a new Mom was not on my list of things to do. Still, there they were and if I put them all outside there was no doubt the kittens would die. I’m an animal lover to begin with, but I suspect even someone who was no fan of cats wouldn’t have the heart to send six helpless kittens to their death. So the next day I suddenly had seven more cats in my house…I already had three.
Kittens are cute, actually kittens are freaking, no hold bared, hand over your life savings, adorable, but I had NO idea how much work they were. The kittens and Momma ate like crazy, pooped like crazy, and wanted constant attention. They exhausted me completely and I had to call in friends for back up, but the return on my investment was amazing. It turned out all six kittens were boys (I had to let the vet figure that one out, it isn’t very anatomically clear when they are real little) three were “tuxedo” cats, who were all black except their chest, belly, and feet, and three were grey and white striped.
Now, I may be a crazy cat lady, but I am not that crazy. Double digits worth of cats in the house was a bit much, even if they were painfully adorable. So once they were vaccinated and neutered I started to find them all forever homes. However, there was one kitten that I just couldn’t seem to part with. His name was Juno and for weeks, while his brothers explored and played, he found his way onto my chest or the crook of my arm. He was a constant calm and affectionate presence and I felt that the universe had listened and sent me a daemon, just when I needed that quiet, calm, undemanding, affectionate presence most. I was sick, isolated, overwhelmed, and struggling and here was a kitten that just sat with me and purred.
Obviously the forever home he went to was mine. Three years we have been together and he still has not left my side. Juno is not your average cat, he follows me around the house at nearly a perfect heel, he only wants my company and affection, he won’t turn to anyone else for company even when I leave town, he always wants to rest his front paws and head on me and still sleeps on my chest. If he isn’t resting on me he will reach out a paw to say hello. He meets me at the door when I come home (he knows the sounds of my car) and waits for me at night to go to bed, sometimes not all that patiently. Juno doesn’t even appreciate me closing the bathroom door on him. Instead I get the joy of two paws reaching under the door and a pathetic crying. Why not just let him in? You ask. Cats don’t have the social mores as humans. Well, I have tried that and when I do he wants to be pet and on occasion, much to my horror, tried to get in my lap. Yes, there are boundaries and bathroom time is private time. Juno is finicky, opinionated, and sometimes moody…just like me. We understand each other. He is mine and he has made it abundantly clear that I am his.
Maybe I sound crazy to you. Giving a cat the credit for helping pull me through some of the hardest years of my life seems far fetched, but he is my rock. Some days he is the only reason I smile, others he reminds me why I’m fighting. If you are lucky, once in a life time you find an animal that truly belongs with you. Mine appeared through happenstance, luck, or a gift from the universe. However he appeared, on this earth and into my life, he is indeed, my own personal daemon.