It was Freya's birthday on Monday. She is four years old and still perfect. She is deeply adored by her human Mommy and Daddy and worshiped by Spartacus Jones, who makes her crazy, with his constant desire to play when she wants to nap.
I was working on Aphrodite's War when we adopted her from the Humane Society. If you've read the book, then you know there is a black Persian kitten named Amir in the story. I'd never owned a pet in my entire life, but I've met a few, right? . My heroine needed a cat.
Amir was supposed to die in a microwave at the hands of Poetry's vicious ex-boyfriend. Long story short, I couldn't do it. It was too heinous an act. I knew the ex was a psycho, but I am not. I couldn't write such an awful event. It was a smart decision that added depth to the book.
My feelings for Amir grew until I longed for a cat of my own. I asked my husband, and he agreed. It had been many years since he had a pet, and he figured having a pet would be good experience for me, since I'd never had one. He's such a sweetie.
We met Freya in the first alcove we entered. The other cats ignored us, but she meowed at Dan's feet until he picked her up. She stuck her face in Dan's beard and armpits, purring the entire time. When Dan introduced me to her, she crawled out of his arms, into mine and repeated the sweet gestures, minus the beard snuggling.
We decided to check other alcoves, just in case. Surely the first cat we met couldn't automatically be 'the one' could it? She was.
I remember Dan saying, "Honey, turn around." Freya sat watching us from a window with the saddest, most forlorn look on her face. He said, "I'm not leaving her here." And I agreed. Good thing too. As we waited for the adoption to be completed, we witnessed first hand why she wanted so badly to leave. The other cats had pushed her into a corner, hissing when she tried to sleep on any cat bed and growling her away from the food. She was smaller and younger than the rest of them. She spent a lot of time under Dan's chair, and he protected her until it was time to go, shooing away any feline who looked at her with narrow-eyed intent.
I named her Freya after the Norse fertility goddess. When my husband agreed to let me have a cat, I'd gone on line, checking for cat-orientated names from as many mythologies as possible. When I saw those beautiful blue eyes paired with pure white fur, I knew what we'd call her. She looked like a baby frost giantess. I would give her a NORSE name, because she seemed to feel powerless, and I wanted her to feel like a goddess. (The Humane Society named her 'Kendall'. We weren't keeping that.)
It was instant love. She explored our house and afterwards parked herself between us on the couch, to purr and groom, and absorb unending cuddling. Nothing got done for three days as a result of our bonding. Good thing hubby was on vacation. She even slept stretched out between us at night, her head on our pillows. Now she's our brave little huntress.
I think it was her arrival that changed the novel Aphrodite's War. I was able to give Amir more personality, and Freya the deity took on a much larger role instead of a cameo appearance. I even went so far as to change Freya, the goddess, to look like my new cat. And speaking of cameo appearances, I put Freya-kitty in the book along with our next cat, a much missed Siamese cross breed, Sully in the book as well. They show up in the goddess' lair when Aphrodite visits.
Freya-kitty didn't just change my novel. She changed my whole life. I have a subscription to Modern Cat magazine, a room dedicated to feline comfort and demonstrate my devotion like a fanatic. I couldn't be more content with that. Happy fourth birthday to my perfect Freya. Mommy never knew she could love so hard.