Today is a special day in our house – it marks the close of the 14th year that our cat, Lady Jane, has been with us.

Lady Jane is short for Lady Jane Grey, the former, very short lived, queen of England.  Her name came from the fact that she was quite obviously a grey tabby, she looked so dainty and small (a “lady”), and the fact that my sister, who paid the adoption fee as a gift to us, has the middle name Jane.  It all seemed to fit.

Lady Jane, like her brother Ripley, is also a rescue, the exception being that her original home was the Brampton Animal Shelter.  We adopted her as a kitten of about 3 months old.  Now, when I say “we”, I should clarify.  My husband wasn’t there when I picked Lady Jane out and adopted her.  My sister was.  But, I had to call Dean and let him know what I had done.  I’ll never forget the conversation.

“Hey honey, you will never guess what I have gone and done!”

“You adopted another kitty?”

Silence.  How did he know?  He says now that it was simply in my voice.  And the fact that we had had some conversation about Ripley needing a sister at some point.  I honestly have no recollection of such a conversation, but I was so happy that Dean was willing to welcome Lady Jane into our home.

Lady Jane changed our home forever.  Initially, she did not stop moving and  I do not remember her ever sitting down.  She would only collapse on occasion to sleep.  At night, she would walk on us constantly until such time that she needed a warm place to nap.  While Ripley preferred my feet, Lady Jane’s “place” would be my husband’s face.  She seemed to like the warmth of his breathing, kind of like a heating vent.  So, he would awaken to the feeling of being suffocated, which in retrospect, he probably was.

She climbed plants, she chewed things and enjoyed laying on her back with her legs in the air.  Anything but a lady!  She also has an eye defect – the pupil of her left eye does not contract completely in bright light.  So, she compensates by closing her eye a little.  However, it also throws her perspective off a little bit and in the beginning, she would run into things at break-neck speed or miss things when pouncing.  She purred all the time.  Even at her Veterinarian’s office while getting her annual shots.  When we spayed her, we were supposed to keep her “quiet” for a couple of days.  But that was a lost cause.  Apparently, even in Recovery at the vet clinic, she had opened her eyes and begun running about.  She was such a happy, comical cat that through everything we would sit back and laugh and love her.

Today, Lady Jane is much calmer than in her kittenhood.  She has grown to the point where she is bigger than Ripley.  But, she is content to be the little sister and allow her brother the role of Alpha Cat.  She moves less and sleeps more as the 14 years of life take their toll.  She no longer sleeps on my husband’s face – that would literally kill him.  Rather, each night, she lays on the bed, holding my finger in her paw for a few minutes.  It is our good-night ritual, just before she moves to sleep on her ottoman by the side of our bed.

Tonight though, we will celebrate.  With new catnip mice and treats and belly rubs.  We will tell her what a good kitty she is.  And she will purr, just as she has for all these years.  Happy Anniversary Lady Jane!