This cat is exactly as old as Nate and I's relationship – nine years. I often think of him as the “relationship cat,” as his ups and downs and position in our lives have changed along with ourselves.

cat licking himself

We adopted Ulysses when he was six months old, after Nate and I had been together half a year. A ballsy move for a new couple, admittedly, but we tempted fate and…well…it seems to have worked out.

cat looking off into the distance

Ulysses lives over at Oma and Opa's house now, having refused to move back into an apartment during the period when we transitioned from Nate's parents place to a starter unit, then a rental home and finally the first property we could call our own. I knew then that his age was making him just a wee bit stubborn, resistant to change…a little bit like his male human counterpart. He has a special bond with Nate, and the two weirdly remind me of each other. Ulysses has always been a creature of habit – as most cats are – but he also has a funny little wild side to him. His preferences have been the same since day one: he likes to be scratched only on the side of his face, he'll snuggle only with those he really trusts, and he loves any sort of human food (particularly cheesy broccoli, cooked asparagus and shrimp).

I go hang out with him often, and I've started taking him special treats since his old grandpa kitty stomach can't handle nibbles of my pizza like he used to back in our college days.

cat cleaning paws

He gobbles down his treat and promptly sets to licking and cleaning, intently primping. Neither Nate or I are primpers, so this one character trait seems to be inherent to the cat in him.

cat staring

After chowing down and spending a little one-on-one porch time, he faithfully returns to his stead under the car. Watching, waiting, eagerly anticipating the chance to go after any would-be critter intruders.