Thursday, April 24, 2014

Witchy Wednesdays: A Familiar Family Lineage

I know, I know.  I'm late for my post on Witchy Wednesdays.  Shame on me!  Honestly, it wasn't that I forgot or that I didn't have the time.  I simply couldn't find a story that I wanted to relate in my very first Witchy Wednesdays (WW) post.  I wanted to make WW something that dispels common pagan stereotypes by relating single short stories of my life.  Something that looks beyond the pentacle and the candles, beyond the Circle and the familiars, but in a way that still connects it with my religious beliefs.  I put a lot of pressure on it.  That was my first mistake.

Because of, well, all of that, I wasn't sure I wanted my first WW post about a familiar. But I must admit that my familiars are typically more a part of my mundane life than my pagan life.  It's not like I open circle every day, or even every week.  Most of the time, my familiars are my fuzzy family and, yes, my pets.  Being magickal doesn't mean that they scoop their own litter box or that food suddenly just appears in their dishes.  They have the same "mundane" life I do.  The same daily routines.  They get into fights, do things they shouldn't do, have hilarious habits and, at the end of it all, snuggle up with me to sleep just to do it all again tomorrow.

And sometimes, their supposedly-boring non-magickal life has some of the most interesting stories.  So tonight, I give you...

This is Apollo when I rescued him in early November.  Despite his face in the picture, he was purring up a storm.  That tiny little kitten, weighing a mere 3 pounds, came into my life on the anniversary of my cat Nyx's passing.  I had been watching a mother and her kittens inside an apartment in our complex.  One night, the mother was out and I greeted her.  She was a small medium-haired tabby with blue eyes, very friendly and super sweet.  But it seemed like she was still nursing so I didn't want to remove her from the area.  The kittens were nowhere in sight.  That next morning, I heard a desperate meow from under the same walkway.  There, stuck in the mud, was Apollo.  Cold, scared and obviously abandoned, we took him in.

That has been some time ago now.  Since then, Apollo has grown.  He's developed a very angular face similar to his mother's, but has a broad nose area and yellow eyes.  His fur is black, but when it hits the sun, he radiates a luminescent brown tone.  However, probably the most distinctive feature about Apollo are these barely-noticeable little white hairs salted throughout his fur.  You can't see them on most pictures, but they're definitely there when you get close to him.

You can kind of see them in spots in the above picture - one by his right hind leg and another under his left arm.  On his back, he's covered.  It's something that makes Apollo, well, Apollo!

To be frank, I rarely wonder about my familiars' parents.  We found Hermes at one and Zeus at three years of age.  Nyx was five when she approached our door.  I'm sure the parents weren't really in the picture at that point.  However, having found Apollo as a kitten and meeting his mother, I've always been curious about what his dad looked like.  Aside from face shape, Apollo most definitely looks very little like the sweet but still-nursing blue-eyed tabby I met the night before I found him.  Because of that, I've always assumed Apollo looked most like his dad - a mysterious feline entity I'd likely never meet.

My best friend Charli and I moved into the same complex in August.  I live on the far end and she lives just next to where I discovered Apollo.  Only days after she moved in, she would occasionally complain of a black cat taunting her dog through the window.  I even saw said cat a few times but I could never get a good look at him.  It was a "he," I had decided, based on body shape; and believe me, I'm rarely wrong when it comes to identifying cats by gender without taking a look-see.  I actually tried to approach him in September, but off he ran.  I suppose coming out through the same door as a 55 pound husky wasn't a good introduction.

No matter how adorably sweet her husky is.
Winter came and went and, starting shortly after the equinox, I started seeing the black cat outside more often as I walked my dog.  Usually, he would be in between my best friend's apartment and the one next to her, just sitting there staring at the walkway.  I'd greet him, "Hi kitty kitty!" but wouldn't bother coming up to him because of my previous attempts.  Finally, in mid-April, I decided to let my husband take the leash so I could attempt to greet "Kitty Kitty."  Something magical happened!

"Kitty Kitty" was very friendly!  And very... familiar.  Yellow eyes?  Check.  Fur that lights up brown in the sun?  Check.  Little white hairs in his fur? Check.

Male?  Oh yes.  And, erm, "equipped."

After a week of greeting him daily with a hug and tons of love, I finally had the balls (since we're already talking about them) to greet his family.  "Kitty Kitty" is actually Louis de Pointe du Lac, or just Louis if you'd prefer.  He's an adorable little guy that the family living right next door to my best friend has had for a few years.  And an absolute sweetheart!  When I came around the corner looking for him and found him with his family, he immediately approached me and asked to be held.  That's when I told them about Apollo.

"I'm, uh... 99.9% sure I have Louis's son?"

Despite the awkward intro from your neighborhood's crazy cat gal, they were enamored with Apollo's tale (Get it, tale?  No?  I'll just show myself out...).

I know that he could just be another local black cat.  Believe me, it crossed my mind.  But all the key elements are there.  He lives just a few doors down from the tabby and from where I found Apollo.  He has the distinctive yellow eyes and fur.  And honestly?  I think they look a lot alike!  Plus he hasn't been neutered and is usually allowed to roam free in mild weather.  Not necessarily something I agree with - a trap-neuter-return has crossed my mind a few times - but he seems very well loved.  Besides, it did get me Apollo.

And I love Apollo with all my heart.

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