Cats of My Life
I am a cat person, always have been, always will be. Don't get me wrong...I love dogs also, it's just I relate better to cats. I've had my share of both over the years, but while I can live without a dog for a while, you will seldom find me without a cat.
I am not one of those people who likes to have lots of cats. One cat is best for me. I guess you could call me a one-cat-girl. There have been times when I have owned more than one cat at a time. During those times I have always been owned by only one of the cats. As all cat people know, the cat owns you, not the other way around.
Dogs are great pets. They are always happy and always love you. No matter what you do, to a dog you are wonderful. Cats, on the other hand, have very strong opinions...and they are not hesitant to share them. Believe me when I say you will know when you have done something your cat doesn't like.
My dog (and all the ones before her) greets me at the door every time I come in. She is amazed and overjoyed that I am there. She is so happy she dances and prances. My cat waits a little bit away. She thinks the dog is juvenile. She disdains to dance and prance.
This is the way it has always been in my house. My dogs are silly, goofy and daft. My cats are cultured, sophisticated and aloof. The dogs are emotional and juvenile. The cats are mature and collected. I love my dogs greatly, and they always become my best friends. They rejoice in all my triumphs, and comfort me during my defeats.
Why then do I prefer cats? It's not that I am mature, cultured or
sophisticated. (I can be, but as I grow older I think life is too short.) I am often silly and daft. Aloof, yes, I guess you could
say I am often aloof. I prefer to think of it as private. I like to
dance and prance for fun. I recently read a hub and now
occasionally skip down the hall at work. I guess in my heart I am a dog, but in my soul I am a cat.
There is something in cats that touch my soul. Cats love me, they are just not as demonstrative as dogs. There is an independence in them that I respect. They are ornery...what you see is most likely what you get. My cats love me, but don't love everyone. They will follow me around the house. Lie close to me, if not next to me. And always answer when I ask them a question.
Maybe I should just tell you about the cats in my life...
My first cat that I can remember was a long haired tabby. His name was Tiger. Original, I know, but I was only five. We had a cat who had kittens. Tiger adopted me. I can't really remember what became of him. Five was a very long time ago! I remember we played and I loved him. My parents probably gave him away.
My next cat was Puff. I was about 14 and my parents allowed me to have my own pet. (Probably to shut me up...I needed a cat!) He was an amazing cat. He slept with me and was my best friend. He was the last cat I allowed to go outside.
One day he threw up. Soon he was throwing up often. Then he began just laying around. Soon he did not even get up to use his litter box. He had feline leukemia. The vet told me he probably got it from fighting with another cat. We had him put down and I cried for days.
He was a magnificent cat. Such a man! He loved me and I loved him. He was there for me when I was sad (which is pretty often when you are a 14 year old girl who just moved the previous year). He lived for almost 2 years and broke my heart when he died.
Amoure was a himalayan cat. He did not last long. My mother had a Queens Anne chair that she had embroidered a beautiful cover for. Amoure decided to test his claws in it. After that we tried for a declawed cat.
My next cat was Schoztie, a silver point persian. Probably the most beautiful cat I have ever seen. Her hair started off white and went through various shades until it was a dark gray at the tip. She was like owning a cloud. She was a lady through and through. Very meticulous and very concerned for her looks.
After Puff had died, and Amoure did not work out, my parents allowed me to try again. I searched the papers to find a cat that was declawed and fixed. I found Shotzie. Her owner's children were allergic and when I first met her she was shaved. They loved the cat and attempted to shave her and her friend Sluggo to see if the kids could live with them. The kids couldn't and their loss was my happiness.
When we first arrived to see the cats, Sluggo was the only one to be seen. He was OK...big and sloppy! But lovable...lovable barely described this cat. He must have been part dog. We were talking and the other cat came to me and started rubbing against my leg. The owner flipped. "She never comes out when there are people here!", she said.
She begged me to take the cat, she was so amazed. Needless to say I brought the cat home with me. However, we had a problem. She would not eat and seemed depressed. We called her previous owners and they told us that Sluggo was acting the same way. My parents allowed my sister to adopt Sluggo, and suddenly the two cats were happy.
The funny thing is that Shotzie never seemed to care for Sluggo. She didn't hang out with him, but once he was at my house she was fine. You couldn't have found two cats less alike. Shotzie was a princess and Sluggo was a bum. Shotzie's hair was always clean and free of mats. Sluggo's was always matted, big mats as only a persian can get. Shotzie hid from everyone but me, Sluggo loved the world.
My mother would always tell me that she would never see Shotzie until I came home. I was on the second floor and there was a landing in front of my door. When ever Shotzie heard my car pull up she would come on the landing and meow. My mother was endlessly amazed with this. Shotzie had claimed me and I miss her still.
Pumpkin was the love of my life. He lived with me for over 12 years. He was the king! After I graduated from nursing school and got my own place, I looked again for a cat. I found Pumpkin in the paper, fixed and declawed. I think the lady I adopted him from was very happy...I didn't notice he had any food and he was rather thin.
Pumpkin was about 2 years old when he came to live with us. He did not want anything to do with us. He would slink around the walls behind the furniture. I fed him and watered him and talked to him. I never chased him or let my daughter chase him. Soon he came out to see us.
Pumpkin was a big orange tabby cat. He must have had some Maine Coon Cat in him. People would come to my door and say, "That's a BIG cat." It got so we expected this. He was a big cat in all ways. His size was nothing compared to the love he gave my family. He is the cat I flew across the country to live with us in New Mexico.
Once he decided to adopt me, he really came around. He was always with me when I was home. He put up with my children, even letting my son sit on him when my son was little. He hated my ex-husband. Any time my ex-husband would leave something on the floor, Pumpkin would pee on it. He never did this to my stuff or the kids stuff and never anywhere else in the house. Only on my ex-husband's.
Pumpkins favorite thing was to lick you fingers and allow you to groom his ears. He could do this for hours if I had the time and patience. He was also the only cat I ever met who would play fetch. I would crumble up a piece of paper and toss it. Pumpkin would run and get it, bring it back and drop it at my feet. We would play this until either he or I lost interest.
One night, while I was at the rodeo, he saved my house from being broken into. At least that is how the sitter told it. It seems she heard a loud noise in one of the bed rooms and then heard the cat growl/yowl. She went to see what the ruckus was and saw someone running away across the yard. Sometimes I would think that cat was part dog.
He was pretty old when he started throwing up. I took him to the vet. We tried special diets, but Pumpkin kept getting sick. After several vet visits, and a couple of thousand dollars, we discovered he had a tumor on his pancreas. He became obviously in pain and we had him put to sleep shortly after that.
My current cat is Waffles. She came into our lives as a stray my son found when she was small enough to lie in one of my hands. I didn't think she would make that first night in November, it was very cold and she was very small. I let her sleep with me and I had never heard a cat purr so loudly. She woke me up purring many times that night.
You would think she would have been the most lovable if you had seen her those first few days. However, she is the most ornery cat I have owned. She knows what she likes and she will let you know. There is a nursery rhyme that describes her perfectly: "When she was good she was very, very good. But when she was bad she was horrid."
Waffles knows when she should be fed. When I am late she will meow a little. If I do not listen in a timely manner, she attacks. Now, she is declawed, so you wouldn't think it would hurt that much. But she has other ideas. She will sink her teeth into me. Luckily for her she is stopping this behavior as she grows older. She still gets into position and gets the look, but she no longer darts across the floor and attacks.
She and I have had our moments, and life is evening out now. She is going to be three this year and is finally calming down. I think it will be worth all the scars I have earned while she was younger. She has adopted me completely these days. She follows me around the house, sleeps with me and likes to sit in the extra chair when I am on my computer. My daughter sits in this chair sometimes, and Waffles will annoy her until she gets up.
When Waffles wants attention and I am busy doing something, she will lie on her back and meow at me. "Look at me," she says. "I am so beautiful, don't you want to pet me?" She will stretch and roll and meow until I go and pet her. Then she will be happy for awhile until she does it again. I have grown to love this one also, and expect my love for her will grow over the years as we learn each other more completely.