Her other names are Lulu, Lyddie B, Lulabelle, Lyndaloo, and Lootie Tootie, depending on how silly I'm feeling. Her full name is Belinda Louisa Flower, but I came up with that after I'd already started calling her Lyndie Lou.
Lyndie came to live with me in October of 1999. I'd been living by myself for a month. I already had a boy cat named Joey, and I worried that he would be lonely during the day when I was at school. I just had a spontaneous thought--"Joey needs a sister!"--and once I'd made up my mind, I set about finding a little girl cat.
Randomville didn't have a Humane Society back then, and Joey had been a stray that I'd insisted on adopting (over my
An office assistant at one of the vets' offices told me that her aunt's cat had just had a litter, and I could have one of those kittens. I asked her to pick one out for me, because ... here's the deal: when faced with dozens of homeless animals, I will adopt them all; there is no way that I can blithely bestow my good fortune on one and leave the rest at the mercy of the Humane Society. I've seen Lady and the Tramp, I know what happens to the ones who don't get adopted. So if I got somebody else to make the choice for me, I wouldn't have to feel guilty.
So I went in to pick up Joey's sister, and the assistant brought her out. "We've been calling her Ringo," she said, "because of the rings on her tail."
"What a dumb name," I thought, but did not say. I picked up notRingo and tried to cuddle her, but she refused to be held. She threw her little body all around and I could barely keep from dropping her.
"She's pretty independent," the assistant said. "She doesn't really like to be touched."
"Cripes," I thought. "Another me!"
When we got home, I carefully set notRingo down in front of Joey. He hissed and ran away. Joey didn't really like change, but he was a good, gentle kitty when he adjusted to new things.
In the meantime, notRingo started nosing around, sticking her head under the couch, cautiously pawing at papers, sticking her teeny nose into every corner in every room of the house.
My favorite book is Anne of Green Gables, and there's a character in the book, Mrs. Rachel Lynde, who is the Avonlea gossip, and who spends her whole day getting up in everybody else's business.
And when I watched notRingo sniff every floorboard, open every cabinet and drawer with her little paws (she's gifted), and burrow into every pile of laundry, I knew that she was the equivalent of the town busybody--a feline Rachel Lynde.
She doesn't answer to her name. Oh, she hears me; I know she does because her ears prick up and she starts staring intently in the opposite direction.
She runs away when she sees other people, and she will only sit on my lap on her own terms:
1. She gets to choose when she sits on my lap.
2. Under no circumstances am I to pick her up and put her on my lap.
3. She will only sit on my lap if I pull a blanket over my legs.
4. She is free to go at any time.
5. I am not to touch her unless she nudges my hand with her head.
She wakes me every morning with a series of yowls, during which she describes to the world at large the abuses I am guilty of (the main one being that I did not anticipate that she would need her breakfast RIGHT NOW). She barges into the bathroom and tells me to get a move on, she's hungry. She follows me to the refrigerator to make sure that I'm not trying to fake her out by getting food for my own self instead. She takes two bites and gives me a look that says,
"Are you a moron? I'm not eating this PIG SWILL."
And then she shoots up the stairs and sings a song of discontent that can be heard for miles. When she's done, she thunders down the stairs, stops short when she sees me, and oh-so-casually ambles to her bowl, where she daintily wolfs down all of the food before galloping back up the stairs.
It's a beautifully choreographed routine, and we both dance our parts with precision and skill. Of course, she chooses the tune, and I pay the piper. It's just our way.
Also, she could kill me.