Last Friday, the 18th, was Finn's 3rd birthday. As with all of my animal companions, this "birthday" was a made up date, a date I assigned by taking the vet's best approximation of his age when I got him, and working backward from there. It's probably not all that accurate, but it's as close as I can get, and while it may seem silly to a lot of people (though not, I would guess, to anyone reading this blog), it's important to me to mark these dates, to keep track of the passage of days, of years, and to celebrate and honor the tremendous amount of joy and love these special animals bring to my life.
And so, last week, as I was kissing Finn on his little black nose, and wishing him a Happy Birthday, I couldn't help but think what a beautiful (er, handsome) specimen of a feline he has turned out to be.
See what I mean?
I mean ... really ... I know I am just a LITTLE BIT biased, and I certainly can't take credit ... but is that a gorgeous cat or what?
He didn't start out that way, though. He was the saddest, sickliest, most emaciated little thing I had ever seen, and I remember fearing that he would literally starve to death before I could trap him and get him to the vet. It was a huge victory to get him successfully trapped in a Hav-A-Heart trap and to the vet, and of course to make sure he had plenty of nutritious food, but even after that, he struggled. He was the very definition of feral, and it was close to a week before I could walk into the bathroom that was his isolation room and not have him be so terrified that he would quite literally climb the walls. He had a terrible respiratory infection as well, that, even after several rounds of antibiotics, continued to linger, to the point that at one point our vet Dr. G. suspected a chest mass or some sort of anatomical anomaly rather than lingering infection, and recommended that his X-rays, which seemed to be clear, be evaluated by a specialist. They were deemed normal, but for many months he was, while not exactly sick, not really well either. He had nothing contagious, but he just didn't thrive, and despite his voracious appetite and several wormings, he could never gain weight and always looked scrawny and ill-fed.
Around his first birthday, though, he started to turn around, and now, at three years old or thereabouts, he is healthy, vigorous and, in my opinion anyway, quite a looker to boot. His once dull and lifeless coat is plush and glossy, with the sheen of well-polished patent leather shoes. Sometimes I swear I could see my own reflection in his fur. He's also an incredibly sweet and affectionate cat, with quite the entertaining personality. He has an opinion about everything, and isn't afraid to voice it ... he "talks" more than any cat I've ever known, even Olivia, who is plenty "talkative" her own self.
Three years ...
From this ...
To this ...
I've never made it a secret that three cats was not in my master plan. Even-number-lover that I am, two dogs and two cats suited me just fine. But try as I did to find him another home, it soon became clear that Finn was not going anywhere but home with me, where he has apparently made it his mission in life to prove to me that sometimes the gifts you didn't even know you wanted are the most precious of all.
Happy (belated) birthday, Finnie!