When I began Cole’s story, I had no intention of making Neko a star of the book. Actually, I have no idea why Neko became popular in her own right. She’s a cat. She’s pretty catlike all throughout the book. She doesn’t do much but be a cat.
She’s still very much a cat in Dirty Secret.
In real life, she’s a diva. When we pulled her out of the shelter here in San Diego, her name was Davida. That wasn’t going to fly.
For some reason, I eventually settled on Neko. She wasn’t the first choice of cats in the shelter, not for me anyway. We are a no-kill county so I had no fear of walking away from the cats or trust me, the house would be called in for hoarding. Not that we aren’t close to it already.
No, I had wanted a tuxedo kitten but my sister was all… no no no, this one. I said okay, sure. Then we brought her home.
We had a houseful of people and were heading to Disneyland that week but for some reason, we were getting a new cat. She was placid and slept with me every night that week. Then at 3 am after a long day romping around So Cal and with a house full of people.. many of whom were sleeping on whatever flat surface they could find, Neko woke me up coughing.
I got dressed in some sweats and a tshirt, found my slippers (flip flops for those of you who did not grow up in Hawai‘i) and woke up my sister to tell her we were heading to the Emergency room.
Hours later, we discover several things. She was about six months old, had already been pregnant and probably lost the kittens and had a severe respiratory infection. Now mind you, this cat’s been in our house for maybe three days at this point and already she’s on the brink of death. To be fair, she came to us on the brink of death so I can’t be blamed for abusing my cat but still, BRINK OF DEATH.
Years later, she still has issues with allergies and in the spring time, tends to develop a small cough. Her lungs have been scarred and because most of her nutrition went to a litter of kittens when she was too young to carry them, she’s a very small cat.
But oh what a diva.
Her fur is very soft, thick and medium length. She’s the only cat I’ve ever seen with this type of fur. It really is like chinchilla fur. And she’s always been a brawler. Since the day she shook off the infection, she alternates between mothering her crocheted rats to beating the hell out of the other cats. It’s like living with Rizzo from Grease. Most of the time she’s aloof with strangers but will deign to sit with me while I write. And she still hasn’t forgiven me for bringing her nemesis, Yoshiko, into the household.
Sort of has, but not fully.
Yoshiko has claimed me as hers. That’s just the way it is and she really doesn’t cuddle up with anyone else. She’ll ask for belly rubs, like a troll who lives under the bridge but that’s pretty much her interaction with other people. She’s disgruntled and beats the hell out of the dogs for no reason other than they breathe.
She and Neko have reached a détente of sorts. But only of sorts.
Tam, the boy cat, wisely stays out of it. The dogs are just collateral damage. The two girls will pounce one another and do minor battles and argue over who has possession of the cat window near the living room. There is a sash window right at the top of the sideboard that gets full sunlight. It is the Belize of catdom. There is no sharing. It is a single cat spot and woe to those who encroach.
I was told never have two female cats who weren’t of the same litter. I still stand by that credo after having these two. Or it could be that I have two very opinionated female cats who believe the world owes them everything. But, stuff happens and so I live in the Neutral Zone with daily skirmishes that are more like the ritualistic marching battle between Pakistan and India every day.
Neko however has decided to lay claim to the couch so I sit here, trying to write this third book with a small furry head butting me in the ribs. Wish me luck. It’s a hard life being owned by a diva.