I wanted a cat my whole life. Unfortunately, my sister was allergic in a major way.
Then we moved to Florida, and her allergies improved. In family conversations, we discussed that maybe we could attempt to have a cat and see how it went. The experiment was agreed upon:
Enter Baby Doll.
Someone from our church was getting rid of her because “she snored too loud.” Whatever. Their loss. She was the most gorgeous kitty we had seen — took our breath away! She was supposed to be my mother’s cat, but after hiding out under my bed for three days following her arrival, she decided to adopt me.
Baby Doll was a Birman cat, a riff off the Siamese breed, with those piercing blue eyes and chocolaty seal points, but with a heavier body, white paws, fluffier fir, and a quieter personality.
But just because she was quiet did not mean she was a pushover! No, sir. Baby Doll ruled with dignity at our house for many years. She would conduct “room inspections” several times a week, entering each room and sniffing around. If it was too messy, or the smell was not to her taste, she would make a face, narrowing her eyes and opening her mouth so that her canine teeth protruded as if to say, “Clean this up, or else!” Eventually, she gave my brother up as a lost cause, though.
From shortly after she arrived, she made it her business to take care of me. If I went to bed with a wet head after showering, Baby Doll would curl around my head to keep me warm and cozy. If I came home late or spent too much time out of the house, she would stomp around looking cranky and give me “what for” when I came home.
Even with two dogs in the house, there was no doubt that Baby Doll was the queen. What she said, went, and if she told the dogs to bug off, they certainly did. Many of her sayings became family lore, particularly her most famous and common quote: “It’s only rude if it’s not true.”
Although she wasn’t a particularly cuddly cat, her love for her people was strong.
Baby Doll came to us at the already mature age of 10. For eight years she loved, bossed, and took care of us. It was hard on her when I went to college for months at a time, but she hung in there and always scolded me when I came home for being away so long.
At the age of 18, she slowed down. One night, she had what we believe was a stroke — one whole side of her body became paralyzed, and she couldn’t eat or drink on her own.
We knew what we had to do. I think she knew, too….
I still think of her and love her — the cat I had wanted my whole life. I have another kitty now, but there will never be another Baby Doll.