So, my roommate, Rachelle, and I went and picked out a little black furball, without the blessing of any of our parents, because hey, we were ADULTS.
We came home with Grace (so named for Mark Grace, of Chicago Cubs fame, and my dear friend, Amber Grace) and that little black kitten promptly stole my heart.
When I brought her home, I called my mom with the great news. Mom wasn't as excited as I thought she should be. Her first question was, "What are you going to do with her for the summer." Whoops. Hadn't thought about that. But my parents were gracious and I took her home for the summer. And she was a giant pain in the arse. She yowled every morning as soon as the sun came up. My bedroom faced east. It was tragic for me, as I am not a morning person. I threw things at her. I yelled at her. She kept yowling. My mom said, "If you can't deal with this cat, how are you ever going to deal with kids?" I threatened to kill her more quietly after that.
We survived that first summer and when I moved back to Millikin, the new RA wasn't quite the rebel the previous one had been and I couldn't chance having her in my apartment. I had two friends who had a house and multiple cats and they graciously kept Grace for me for a whole school year. I'd go get her and take her with me to visit Jason in Champaign. She was like a queen riding on the clean laundry.
My senior year, Rachelle and I were able to move into the house and Grace and I got to be together for an entire school year. I fell asleep every night with her curled up on my chest (and then she'd sneak up and suck on my earlobes. Totally weird, and she'd do it to anyone she was snuggled with. You had to protect your earlobes around Grace.)
My favorite Grace story ever was my senior year, living in that old house that probably should have been condemned. I was doing my homework in my room and I looked up to see Grace stalking a bird that was flying around my room. Then my brain processed the fact that those weren't bird wings, but bat wings and I involuntarily shuddered as I watched her nimbly leap about 4 feet in the air and snatch that bat right out of midair. Then she came trotting over to me with the bat, a wing hanging out of each side of her mouth, pleased at punch. Obviously, I was hidden under my comforter, terrified, but I made her drop it and I went screaming down the stairs for help from my roommates. We never did find that bat, or see it again.
That same summer, Jason and I got married. As we were driving back and forth from the suburbs, looking for apartments and jobs, she was lonely, so she lived with my parents and their two cats. After our honeymoon, we went to mom and dad's to get her and she actually hid from me. She crawled under the couch and refused to come out. My mom felt sorry for her and suggested that she just stay with them because she'd gotten used to being with their two cats, Bart and Poupon. And from that moment on, Grace belonged to my mom. (If you ask my dad, he'll tell you an entirely different story, but the point is that she ended up with my mom and dad.) She was my mom's cat for nearly 19 years, until she passed away this morning at the ripe old age of 21 years and three months.
RIP, Grace the Terrible. May there be lots of cheese in kitty heaven. As my sister said, "Whoever was ruling in Kitty Heaven just got dethroned."