Because we got her on St. Nick's day, my mom suggested naming her Nicole, Nikki for short. We brought her home from the Humane Society in the middle of a blizzard. My mom said I could have a cat, finally after about a year of begging, and I was bound and determined to get her on the day they said I could have her. So in about 3 feet of snow, my mom drove me to the other side of town to pick up my baby girl. She was only 8 weeks old and fit in the palm of my hand.
Nikki was my sweet girl who grew old and got sick like all cats do. About a year ago I came to terms with the fact that she was indeed very old and wouldn't be with me forever. That didn't make today any easier.
Nikki was a tortoise shell tabby cat, gray and white, and absolutely beautiful. She had a aire about her, a bit aloof and maybe even snotty. This was, after all, HER house, and we were HER people. There was no master/pet in this relationship. There was Nikki and her people.
We'll always be pet people. And eventhough today was very painful as I held her at the vet and she went to sleep, I wouldn't give it up for anything. And I have two other cats with whom I can only hope to share so many happy years with. Nikki, though, will always hold that special place in my heart above and beyond the others.