my older cat, stanzi, has been with me since junior year in college. her proper name is constanza, so named because i was living in a german language dorm when i got her, and it seemed appropriate to name her after mozart's wife. it was also the only female german name i knew that sounded halfway pretty. she also goes by stanzi girl, pretty girl, grey cat, kitten kitten, shatzi, minou minou, missy pea and Get Off The Table! my roommate found her one night in a trash can behind the school paper's offices. kelly went over to store 18 (in fact, store 24, but apparently that never meant 24 consecutive hours), got a can of tuna, and patiently coaxed this starving, scared little kitten out of the dumpster, then scooped her up, tucked the kitten in her bookbag, and brought her home. the first order of business, of course, was to give her a bath. she looked small before we dunked her in the sink; all that long hair was apparently puffed up in self defense, and that pretty well went down the drain when she got wet. she was so tiny, and shaking scared - probably only a few months old, and clearly hadn't been around people much.
i've always been a sucker for a pretty face; stanz is a grey tortie calico, mostly grey with hints of orange, white tummy and paws, half grey/half orange face and a little white chin. it didn't really seem like a choice to say i'd keep her. cats weren't allowed in the dorms, naturally, but the janitors never said anything. i spent hours on the floor with her, trying to get her to play and stop being scared of people. she escaped out the window a few times, and i almost lost her to psycho exboyfriend's roomie, and senior year she had to go live with my parents for the second semester, as my roomie kelly had a ferret and some fish. but she's been with me ever since. my mom took a picture of stanz that christmas, when kitty was about a year old, with a red velvet ribbon around her neck, reclining regally in the puddle of sunlight on one of the dining room chairs.
when i was in london, i got a few cat toys - little stuffed bugs with bells and catnip in them. these are the first toys i've seen stanz show any interest in in years. normally, she's far too staid for that sort of nonsense, just watches white cat make a fool of himself. (if pets are a reflection of their owners, or vice versa, i've got a ridiculously split personality.) but these - these are the cat's meow. every so often, when i'm working on the computer, i'll hear this jingling in the other room and a little kitty rodeo. i can't let on that i see her, tho, because that stops the game right there.
i can tell when she's feeling neglected if i've been away too long or just not attentive enough. the sock yodel is the tipoff. she'll start rooting thru the laundry basket, and pull out a whiffy old sock, and carry it around the house, mewling sadly. part of the game is that i have to talk back to her while she's doing this, and mew about how sorry i am to have neglected her precious kittyness. brushies or treats are usually the acceptable ways to win my way back into her good graces.
we've got a regular routine at night. stanz comes to the door to chastise me for being away all day (amazing what cats can say with just a look), then wanders off to sit on her scratching box. if i sit down to watch TV, she'll perch on the back of the sofa, or one of the arms. if i'm working on the computer, and it's warm enough to leave the window open, she'll perch on her fuzzy kitty shelf and watch the neighborhood. somewhere around 11, stanz will disappear into the bedroom, and she's always waiting on the foot of the bed for me to come to bed. i have no idea if she stays there all night, but she's always in the same spot when i wake up. probably, she hangs out on the kitchen table all night, since i can't say anything then.
i love getting her wacked out on catnip. stanz gets really goofy and flops around on the floor, waiting to have her tummy rubbed. that's usually the sign that she trusts one of my friends, too: she'll greet them at the door, then trot into the kitchen and loll around on the floor, slut for pets that she is. and she'll beg mercilessly if she wants some of my dinner. oh, but she has it down to a science. first, she sits at a respectful distance, paws all tucked under and tail twirled around. then a quiet little 'melp'. then she moves a little closer, sits down, and 'melp' just in case i hadn't heard the first time. eventually, she'll perch her front paws up on the edge of my chair, rub her face against the back post, mew and look at me with limpid, pleading green gold eyes, and if that doesn't work, start batting at me gently with one paw. hussy. 8) i rarely give her people food treats, altho she gets plenty of kitty ones. she sneaks plenty of people food treats when i'm not looking, i'm sure. she tried to help me unpack the groceries the other day, vying for a little piece of chicken. wish i'd gotten a picture of her with her head halfway in the bag. 8) i'll have proper pictures of her up here soon.