This morning, my old family cat Annabelle made a surprise visit in my dreams. She returned to me fully healthy and jovial, free from any pain or sickness, and encouraging me to cuddle with her. Waking up from this dream and remembering that she’s no longer physically with us was rough to say the least. Then, I found out later today that this is National Cat Day.

With this blog post, I’d like to honor and remember our three unique family cats who I was blessed to know.

Sebastian

Sebastian our aloof gray tabby was always a mystery to me when I was younger. He was never mean towards me or my sisters, but he always firmly stationed himself at the edge of events, observing from a distance instead of cuddling up to us like Annabelle would. As the oldest pet in our household, Sebastian could be considered the unofficial big brother of us young ones. He was a calming presence to be around, and as I found out from reading a journal on my early days as an infant, Sebastian was the cat who let me approach him curiously instead of Annabelle.

Because I didn’t get the chance to spend a lot of time with him when I was younger, I unfortunately don’t have many memories of Sebastian. My favorite moment with him actually happened in a dream I wrote about, where Sebastian came to me to intervene against something evil trying to ambush me. I still remember being in the dream of my darkened childhood room and seeing Sebastian of all cats walking up to me with that stoic, calm look on his eyes. In hindsight, I’m shocked that I didn’t break down sobbing in recognition of him. It was and always will be incredibly moving that he came back to protect me. After all, this is what big brothers do.

Annabelle

Annabelle, who was likewise the big sister of our group, was one of the most openly affectionate cats that I’ve ever known. When she wanted attention from me, she would walk up to me and start pawing at my back. Between her and Sebastian who was a clear-cut introvert, Annabelle was much more extroverted and openly sweet on us kids. In the dream I had this morning, I heard somebody tell me that when I was just about one year old, Annabelle loved to play with me. I don’t know for sure if that’s true or not, but it would make sense in hindsight remembering how sweet she was towards us kids.

But although she was definitely a sweet kitty, Annabelle was not one to be trifled with. When we got two new kittens, the boy kitten Felix tried several times to one-up Annabelle as the dominant cat of the house. Who would win, the youthful kitten or the elderly farm cat? Annabelle, of course! Even at the ripe age of 18, she was still fully capable of vengefully chasing Felix across the house and putting him in his place. He soon learned not to mess with her.

That was quite a lesson I observed from her. While Annabelle was truly a sweetheart, she had no qualms putting her foot down on somebody tried to turn her into a pushover.

Maggie

Maggie. There’s so much to be said about the sass queen of our family. Maggie could be considered a foil to Annabelle. From a distant glance, they looked alike, but while they had similar appearances and personalities, there were key differences. One could call Maggie a more cynical, reserved version of Annabelle. Maggie was generally more wary of new people entering her life, and she didn’t warm up to me overnight. Once she did however, she made at known all the time that I was hers. The running gag in my family was somebody walking in on Maggie and I cuddling to see us in hysterical positions, often with Maggie putting her forepaws on my head in what could’ve been an act of blessing.

There have been times since we had to sadly say goodbye to her when I’ve wondered if Maggie’s personality ended up rubbing off on me. You see, out of all the cats I have had the honor of knowing, Maggie was the one who blatantly refused to have a filter. Whenever anybody or anything text her off, she ensured that the world around her was keenly aware of it. After all the time I’ve spent cuddling with her, there have been times where, even just in my thoughts and under my breath, I’ve lost my filter and come close to saying some very angry things without caution. It seems Maggie inspired me more than I initially realized! In hindsight, it sometimes feels like Maggie took me under her wing in that regard.

I miss them all dearly. They were members of our family, and my heart aches for the time when we’ll be reunited with them.

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Maggie gazing out the window on a snowy day.