Everyone thinks their cat is the cutest, derpiest, sweetest ding-dong in the world, and all of them are wrong because that title belonged his entire life to Yo-Yo.
When I found Yo-Yo, he was approximately five inches long and brawling with a cat three times his size under a parked car at midnight. I was nineteen and had nowhere to be, and he saw in me the perfect mark—a wandering cat-lover who had a hood on her jacket that was just his size. He climbed the nearest tree and extended a paw at my face, imploring me with his giant owl eyes and his wide-spread toes that were a mottled array of pink and black. In his tiny voice he said, "Mew?"
And that was it. He rode home in my hood, a victorious two-mile walk.
Nobody snuggled like Yo-Yo. He was an active cat his whole life, getting his name from his penchant for clawing his way up onto my shoulder and then immediately running back down my leg, only to do it again three minutes later. But twelve hours a day, all he wanted to do was be near people and sleeping. And he was pushy about his comfort. If he couldn't find his way under the covers at bedtime, he would insert one claw into my lower lip until I let him in, where he would curl himself into the little spoon right alongside me, his head tucked up under my chin.
It will be a long time before I've had a relationship as long as I had with this one cat, my constant companion of sixteen years. In those years we lived in eight different houses and apartments, rode 1800 miles at a stretch together, and played with the same manky shoelace as a prized toy for an absurdly long time. I'll miss the little chirps he made inquisitively, like a curious bird that desperately wants its face nuzzled RIGHT NOW. I'll miss the way he slept with his tongue out, his rusty purr, the one spot of orange fur on his face. But mostly I'll miss that he was the home that traveled with me, a tiny piece of perfection, a part of my own soul made manifest.
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