I like this prompt (sorry about it not being on the right day!); I want to tell the story of my relationship with Kanika, because it is certainly an important connection.
I got Kanika as a kitten of about 2 months old, nine years ago. When I met zir, I knew ze was mine when I held zir on zir back in my hands and looked at zir little face, and ze just lay there calmly and made eye contact with me for a minute. Now if you've met Kanika, this should blow your mind; ze doesn't like being held, and would never tolerate being on zir back and not fighting. I think it was just that ze was distracted with my gaze. Ze was a squirmy little thing and a wild teenager; my ex-partner who lived with me then thought ze would never listen to anything. But I'm a very patient person, and I knew that repetition was the key; now I can ask zir to move and ze will, unless ze's feeling threatened, and ze waits patiently when being fed instead of shoving zir face in the way.
When very young ze did like to be held; this changed when ze was sitting on my lap one day and I was petting zir during an argument with my then-partner, who slapped Kanika out of my hand and across the room out of anger at me. (if not for the fact that my ex then cried for literal hours and my belief at the time that marriage meant forever, that would have been the end of our time together. ze never did anything like that again) I was terrified but Kanika was unharmed physically; however ze does not trust people. It was that trust-breaking moment that was the reason ze doesn't like being picked up and rejected it entirely for years. I believe in respecting the wishes of other beings, so I will pick Kanika up when ze is being friendly, but as soon as ze meows I put zir down. Sometimes ze meows as soon as zir feet leave the floor, sometimes it's a while later, sometimes ze doesn't meow at all but I can tell ze is done and wants to be put down and I do it without zir asking. Ze sometimes likes to be hugged loosely and petted when ze's sitting on my desk right at waist level, and when ze wants to do that ze will come over and put front paws on my leg and meow (if ze's being polite) or just jump up (when I usually give a quick pet and hug and then put zir back on the floor). Ze sleeps at my feet a lot when I am at my computer, and always comes to lay on me for a minute when I first get in bed.
from January 2005, when we first got zir.
those last two are from February 2005.
Kanika can jump very high and enjoys the challenge (that toy is a gatorade ring with a hair tye, one of zir favs)
looking very pleased with zirself after ripping down my curtain to use as a canopied bed.
In one of zir rare cuddly moods (look at the happy flexing paw!)
from zir recent habit of photobombing my fatthriftycolorful photos.
Ze's super playful and clever.
Kanika playing fetch
Kanika sometimes gets very excited about wet food and eats too fast and then pukes. So this time when I first put out wet food, I added an obstacle to slow down the eating. Kanika at first stuck zir face up next to the box, then decided ze didn't like that and began to eat one piece at a time, by stabbing it with a claw and carrying it to zir mouth.
Kanika has bonded with people I've lived with, to the point that when I didn't have a good place for Kanika ze lived with Arizona and I would have left zir there. I would not miss Kanika very much if I knew ze was in a safe space where ze felt cared for. Ze's not my baby, ze's more like a sibling (with pretty intense social anxiety). I love zir but we don't have the bond I had with my other cats. Maybe this will change over time, as ze seems to be getting more relaxed, but I still have to be on guard with zir. We've never reached a place where I can just trust zir to not lash out (though I can trust zir not to cause damage, but the lashing out feels like a slap to the face and it takes a while to calm down from). I feel deep understanding of why ze does things, so I don't resent them, but they keep us distant.
I think another reason Kanika is anxious is that in the early days of me having zir, I was working through childhood sexual abuse and was in a state of terror pretty often, and Kanika is very empathetic. I couldn't leave the house alone and if the apartment yard maintenance people came by I ran into my room and hid (holding an axe no less), and Kanika ran with me. I think this taught zir some fear of strangers. Ze still gets really freaked out if someone knocks, leaps up and looks scared like I used to when strangers would come around. Ze's still anxious around people but it is much lessened now that there are no other cats or people living with us; ze can even hang out when there are guests without freaking out.
Kanika's sensitivity to energy also means that if someone touches zir -- or reaches to touch zir -- who has bouncy energy, ze reacts as if that person literally bounced a rubber ball on zir. And even with me there are a limit to the amount of strokes ze can handle before being overstimulated. It also means that sometimes when I'm sick or in pain (physical or emotional), ze comes and kneads me, rubs on me, tolerates more holding than usual. When I'm doing magic, ze comes and sits within the energy of it, or climbs on top of things (when I'm crafting this is not as true, so I feel sure it's the energy of it and not the mere activity of it). So despite not feeling very close in some ways, I feel like we do have an important connection. I value zir company and love zir in all zir anxious, cranky, clever, playful, beautiful, sensitive glory.