I've Become the Proverbial Cat Lady!
I Didn't See it Coming
It has finally happened. I knew it would one day, but I pictured myself much older, frail and crotchety when the metamorphosis set in. Nevertheless, I have become the proverbial cat lady at the young age of 56.
I originally intended to entitle this article “I’ve Been Adopted by Cats”, but that’s not entirely true. I have rescued two, purchased one, inherited (sort of) another and have been adopted by yet two more. Go ahead – do the math. Yep, I have six cats. My original three are strictly indoor cats and the others stay outside. Each day, twice a day, I feed six cats. To my indoor cats I’m Mommy. My outside cats call me Auntie Shauna. How do I know this? I speak Meowese, silly!
Let me introduce you to my brood. I’ll start with my indoor cats.
Shiloh is a Himalayan mix. Her mother was a pure-bred Seal Point Himalayan who got out of the house while she was in heat. She became impregnated and the owners took Mama with them but left the litter behind when they moved because the kittens were considered to be sub-par. Can you imagine??
Neighbors found the litter roaming the streets and called a lady who is known for rescuing domestic animals. I adopted the last two of the litter, one of whom is my sweet Shiloh. As you see, she almost looks pure-bred, with the exception of having a pointy nose.
- Aliases: Shiloh also answers to “Shi”, “Beautiful” and “Pretty Girl”. Shiloh has no middle name because she’s the only one of my original three who never does no-nos.
- Birth date: October 2007
- Distinguishing Features: Seal Point markings, sky blue ‘crossed’ eyes. This feature tells me her daddy was a Siamese. The very tip of Shi’s tail is bent. I assume she was hurt before she was rescued.
- Talents: Shiloh has the innate sense of knowing when I’ve brought out my Harley blanket to snuggle on the couch. No matter where she is in the house, here she comes to snuggle on the blanket, nestled behind my bent knees. The only time she’ll snuggle to up to my body is when I’m under the Harley blanket!
- Hobbies: Sleeping in the dining room windowsill. Having her head and nose rubbed.
- Idiosyncrasies: Washing her ‘hands’ after she eats. She’ll dip her paws in her water bowl then licks them clean.
Update: At over 10 years old, Shiloh now sits on the couch arm closest to where I sit.
I almost lost her the summer of 2017. She's highly allergic to fleas. I'd tried weaning my cats off of toxic flea medication and tried natural alternatives, but it didn't work for Shiloh. She became lethargic, was defecating on herself, hid in a corner, howled (she's not a vocal cat), and wouldn't eat. I took her to our vet in July 2017 for a flea bath and they immediately admitted her to ICU. I was floored! She was put on IV treatments, heat therapy and had to have a blood transfusion (thank you from the bottom of my heart to the donor!). My vet didn't think she'd survive. They allowed me to visit her while she was in ICU. I talked to her, stroked her and repeatedly said, "Mommy loves Shiloh". Miraculously she survived. I had to administer six different medications to her twice a day for two weeks once she was released. I thank my vet and thank God that love really does prevail! My vet worked with me to bring costs down and allowed me to make payments. The $2,600 I spent in hopes of saving Shiloh's life was not in vain. She's alive and well and will celebrate her 11th birthday in October 2018!
I love you, Beautiful!
Sheba is actually Shiloh’s sister and is also a Himalayan mix. They look nothing alike with the exception of having beautiful sky blue eyes. Sheba’s my sweetie. She loves love and has to be near or on me when she’s not sleeping. She’s also the tiniest of my three indoor cats.
- Aliases: “Sheebs”, “Sweetie Girl”, “Little Girl”, “Honey Girl”. Sheba’s middle name is Lee. She gets on countertops, which is a major no-no in my house. As soon as she hears, “Sheba Lee!” she skedaddles.
- Birth date: October 2007
- Distinguishing Features: Sheba has a beautiful beige and gray striped/spotted coat and sky blue eyes. She has one adorable freckle in the middle of her nose. Her tail looks like it once belonged to a raccoon; it doesn’t really match the rest of her coat. I’m assuming her daddy was a Tabby. Did you know feline litters can be sired by more than one male? I find that fascinating. It’s quite apparent judging the tremendous physical differences between Sheba and Shiloh.
- Talents: Sheba can leap 4-5 feet straight up into the air from a sitting or standing position. She’s a trip to watch. I call her my little jack rabbit.
- Hobbies: Chasing that which only she can see. She’ll leap up onto doorways and dart through the house like a bat out of hell. She must have supersonic vision. Either that or she’s got a stash of hallucinogenics somewhere!
- Idiosyncrasies: Climbing up on my chest and resting her face under my chin or sitting on my hip (when I’m on my side under the Harley blanket, watching TV). She is infatuated with my hair – she likes to lick my head! Silly girl.
Now, here’s a character. Axel is a CFA registered Flame Point Himalayan. I actually got him from a breeder at a reduced rate during the recession. The breeder had another litter coming up behind his and needed to make room in her home. I travelled over an hour each way to pick him up. I have an affinity for Himalayans and Persians. Axel is a total trip. His personality is up front and out loud.
- Aliases: “Ax”, “Booger Boy”, “Mr. Boy”, “Mr. Rose”, “Handsome”. Axel’s middle name is Rose. He is forever doing no-nos! He knows when he hears me yelling, “Axel Rose!” he’s been busted.
- Birth date: July 22, 2008
- Distinguishing Features: Orange points on his ears, tail, feet and spine, thus the breed “Flame Point”; sky blue eyes.
- Talents: Gets along great with dogs. Axel also has a way of fooling you into thinking he’s not as ornery as he is. He’s the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde of the feline persuasion. He’s very loving to humans but can be buggery to my girls.
- Hobbies: Terrorizing my girls. Out of nowhere you’ll see a race, with three cats losing their footing on my laminate and tile floors. It’s a riot, but I’ll tell you what – sometimes the hair goes flying all over the house. He doesn’t know when to let up. That is until Mom comes in with “Axel Rose!” He also enjoys a birds-eye view. One of his favorite spots is on top of the fridge. At least I’ve gotten him off the counters, so I let him have that luxury. Recently, he’s taken post on top of the hutch in my home office. That’s a no-no, but half the time I don’t even know he’s there until I feel someone staring at me. Axel Rose!
- Idiosyncrasies: Axel has taken possession of the rocking chair I used to breastfeed Christopher, my son, in. If he sees Sheba or Shiloh sleeping in ‘his chair’, he immediately shoos them out. He also has this annoying habit of meowing at my bedroom door in the morning when he feels it’s time for breakfast.
- I guess he wants me to practice my drop-kick methods because he’s forever walking right smack in front of my feet. (How does he do that, anyway? And why???)
I could write volumes about Axel’s antics, but it’s time to move on to the outdoor cats before I bore y’all with too many words.
Triscuit actually belongs to my neighbors, or at least she did until she disowned them. My neighbors have a second home in Georgia. I would babysit her when they’d go to Georgia, which was fine until the Georgia treks turned into months at a time. It breaks my neighbor lady’s heart, but Triscuit will not go home; she’s adopted me. I guess all kids need a constant in their lives, right? The reason she doesn’t travel with them to Georgia is because of the wild animals that frequent the Georgia property; my neighbors are afraid she’ll be eaten by a wild boar. Anyway, she’s a sweetie and I love her.
- Aliases: “Sweetie”, “Sweetheart”, “Baby Girl”.
- Birth Date: unknown, but I’d say she’s a little older than my girls.
- Distinguishing Features: Triscuit is a Calico with gold eyes and is very petite. She has also been de-clawed on all four feet. Personally, I would never have done that to her, especially since she’s an outside cat. Maybe she came to my neighbors that way, who knows?
- Talents: Triscuit knows when I open all the blinds in the morning I’m up and feeding the brood. She begins meowing at my door until I bring breakfast.
- Hobbies: Chasing squirrels. Bless her heart, I feel so sorry for her. The squirrels seem to know she can’t climb trees and will taunt her until the last minute when they scurry up a tree or the telephone pole outside my property.
- Idiosyncrasies: She’ll eat half her meal, knowing I’ll pick her bowl up off the ground to avoid ants helping themselves. Then she reaches up to my lap, prompting me to rub her chin. She’ll look at her bowl, then at me, until I put the bowl by my feet. She eats in shifts. Although I keep fresh water outside for her, she prefers to drink out of my bird bath. She gets up on her tippy-toes and drinks until her thirst is quenched. She licks her paws dry before dismounting. What a cutie.
Tricuit's parents permanently moved to Georgia a few years ago and left her here. Their property has bears and Triscuit is an outdoor cat with absolutely no claws, so they felt she'd be better off here. Sadly, her uncle, the owner's son, is not capable of taking care of her so she depends on me for food, love, and protection and no longer goes to her original home that's only three doors down.
Garfield actually has a home the next street over from mine. For some reason he became drawn to my house about two years ago. He shows up for breakfast, afternoon naptime and dinner. Maybe his dad works at night; I don’t know his entire story. What I do know is that Garfield’s dad adopted him from the local shelter when he was a kitten. Apparently, some kids thought it would be funny to cut off part of a kitten’s tail. Someone turned him into Animal Shelter and he was saved. Thank God! What the hell is wrong with people?? Anyway, Garfield is a sweetie and I enjoy his friendship.
- Aliases: “Buddy”, “Big Guy”.
- Birth Date: Unknown, although Garfield’s dad told my son he’s 15 years old. Yay, Garfield!
- Distinguishing Features: Garfield is a Red Tabby with amber eyes and a bobbed tail.
- Talents: His inner clock knows when it’s feeding time at Auntie Shauna’s.
- Hobbies: Napping and eating.
- Idiosyncrasies: Garfield also eats in shifts. He’ll eat some then come over to me and visit. He wants a scratch on the face and my nails running down his body ending with a smooth caress of his bobbed tail. Once I tell him to go finish breakfast or dinner, he saunters back to his bowl and eats until he’s full.
Update: In 2014 I spent two days in the hospital with cellulitis as the result of trying to stop a fight between Triscuit and Garfield with my bare foot. Garfield jumped on my left foot with all four feet and his teeth. I bled profusely and tried to treat myself. Two days later I asked my son to take me to ER. I was admitted on site, much to my dismay and astonishment. I was fed antibiotics intravenously every 30 minutes for 24 hours. However, I couldn't blame Garfield. I intervened in an animalistic act. I think we sometimes forget that our domesticated animals have survival instincts.
Although the hospital wanted me to, I never pressed charges, which would have resulted in him being captured and euthanized, for his instinctual action. He has since found a forever home.
I tried to dissuade Chester from coming into the fold. He started showing up a few weeks ago. Until very recently I was successful in shooing him out of my yard. Little did I know that he and Triscuit have been hanging out together after I go to bed. Well, a week or so ago I tried to shoo this cat out of my yard once again. This time he’d go as far as the base of my driveway then lay down in a submissive manner. As I was pacing the driveway having my morning cigarette, he came up and rubbed between my legs. That’s all she wrote, folks! How could I deny him? I promptly named him Chester and grabbed another bowl.
- Aliases: “Noisy”.
- Birth Date: Unknown. I estimate him to be about 1-2 years old.
- Distinguishing Features: Alley cat with emerald green eyes and sabre-tooth tiger teeth.
- Talents: Able to overcome objections. I’m sure he was a salesman in his previous life.
- Hobbies: Never leaving my property, sitting in ‘my’ bistro chair, eating the other cats’ food.
- Idiosyncrasies: Non-stop talking. This is the most loquacious cat I've ever met!
Update December 2014: Chester has moved on to another family, which is good. He was a troublemaker and had a tendency to bite. Hopefully, he has a loving home and is happy.
Shortly thereafter, another cat who looked just like Chester started showing up at my house. I tried shooing her away also, but one day she rolled over on her back at the end of my driveway, completely showing her vulnerability to me. I had no choice but to accept her; she was crying out for a home.
I named her Queenie because I thought she was pregnant (she had a sagging belly). Pregnant cats are referred to as "queens". She never did have a litter, so I surmised that she was either spayed and left behind or she was captured (as a stray) and released after having been spayed. She is now part of the fold.
So now you know my brood. I have no idea why cats are drawn to my house. Perhaps they sense I’m a cat person and a push over for felines. I guess it’s not such a bad thing, really. After all, Hemingway had cats – lots of cats! In fact, offspring of his cats still roam the Hemingway estate in Key West. Maybe this is my validation from above that choosing to be a writer is what is meant to be.
I guess being the Cat Lady isn’t such a bad thing after all!
Shauna L Bowling
Refining, Defining, or Rhyming
All Rights Reserved
A little background to this wonderful song
Time for reflection
Are animals an important part of your life?
© 2013 Shauna L Bowling