The Adoption of Kitty
Who Adopted Whom?
This is the story of a feral cat that became part of our household. Who adopted whom isn't clear. He was obviously able to survive on his own, which is not a mean feat in the desert with coyotes and owls always looking for a meal. He showed up one day, and we told the kids not to feed him, but being kids, they did it anyway. Eventually he became trusting enough that it was possible for one of the boys to set up a box with a stick, with food under it. When the cat went to eat the food, he knocked the stick out and trapped the cat inside the box. I don't know exactly how it went from there, but he wound up in the house. At first, he often wanted to go outside, and we didn't stop him, but eventually, it became a rule that he couldn't go outside. This is because of the owls and coyotes, not to mention the occasional bobcat, as well as the possibility of picking up blood-sucking parasites and bringing them into the house.
The kids called him Kitty because that's the name he answered to. LOL
In this picture, Kitty is on his favorite chair. He can sit there whenever Daddy is not in the room. Sometimes all Daddy has to do is shut the door after going out, and Kitty is on the chair.
(Photo credits Pat Goltz)
Kitty is the last in a very long line of cats who have owned us. It started with a cat named Sumi (a nearly totally black cat whose original family had to travel to South America). Sumi came to live with us because his family couldn't take him with them. At the time, he was an only cat. "Sumi" means "black ink" in Japanese.
After we moved back to Arizona, although the original Sumi had used up his nine lives, we started acquiring other cats. Someone we knew had unusual point Siamese, and we got several cats from her. Among them were a chocolate point, a lilac point, and a red point. We also got a couple of torties, and eventually everyone interbred so that we now had blue points, tortie points, and lynx points. We enjoyed breeding these cats, and sold them to good families for $25 apiece. At one point, we had 45 cats, mostly kittens. A few of the cats were turned loose outside, though most didn't survive all that long. A couple of them went with the son or daughter who had been closest to the cat, when they left home.
The most unusual cat we ever had was one with two heads. You may have seen pictures of cats like that. I had to help her mother give birth. She didn't live long. I tried to keep the body in the freezer, but the kids threw it out.
By the time Kitty came along, we still had a few other cats, but they have also all used up their 9 lives.
I'm convinced that Kitty has far more than 9 lives.
The early years
Kitty had quite a few bad habits. We figure that since he was very well socialized, he was expelled from his original home because of all those bad habits. Most people have no idea how to break a cat of a bad habit. It takes a lot of persistence because a cat thinks he rules the household and he can do as he pleases. One of his early bad habits was scratching on the window screens. He wrecked several, so now we can't open the windows. He also wanted to escape outside after we forbid him to go out. I cured that one by kihaping at him a few times when I came in the door, or on my way out. These days, maybe he gets out once a year. Given his strong personality, he's always trying some new bad habit. We deal with each in turn.
I figure that Kitty is somewhere around 16 or 17 years old, because he was already an adult when we got him.
He is a very good mouser, which is good because we have a mouse problem. He occasionally brings us a rat. He always leaves us a gift.
For many years, we fed Kitty dry cat food, but eventually he refused to chew it, so we now give him canned cat food. I always have to make sure and give him ALL the gravy. He licks that up first, very meticulously. The picture is called "Yum!"
Kitty knows far too much English
"Don't even THINK about it!"
We have been continually amazed at how much English Kitty knows without ever having been explicitly taught. For example, one day when he was looking for trouble, I said, "Don't even THINK about it." I had never used that with him before. He turned away. It works every time.
When I say that, my husband asks, "What's he not thinking about?"
He also often understands parts of conversations we have with each other that are not addressed to him. He knows the word "cat" and if he is snoozing, and we say the word "cat", he perks up his ears.
Kitty is a longhair, which is a bit of a nuisance, but he is very beautiful. He has white socks of varying lengths, and a white spot on the chest. Even though we love totally black cats, it's a good thing, because I like to walk around in a nearly totally dark house without the lights on, and this way, I have avoided stepping on him numerous times. He doesn't know about the Law of Impenetrability.
In the photo, Kitty is taking the obligatory after-meal bath.
Books and other topics
I suppose most cats do things like this, but we still find it amusing. Kitty likes to sit on Daddy's lap, especially when he is reading. When he does, he is determined to sit in FRONT of the book so reading is not possible. Obviously, he is entitled to the attention Daddy is giving the book.
Kitty will sit quietly next to my chair, waiting for me to notice him. The other day, Daddy said, "Look down" and I did, and Kitty said "meow". He likes to carry on conversations. For awhile, I was trying to get him to "meow" whenever I said, "Speak!" He would do it when he felt like it, which wasn't most of the time. He also didn't seem to appreciate being expected to perform as a condition for being scratched. Eventually, we both got tired of the game.
When I first get up in the morning, and go out to the other room, Kitty has to circle the house from one to three times before he comes to greet me. I think he has to make sure everything is still All There.
Cats are a lot like puppies in one respect. They like to follow whoever is wandering around the house. The DIFFERENCE is, they follow in front!
The photo is called "All sacked out".
Our experience with Kitty, as with other strays we have taken in, has proven overall to be very rewarding. I encourage other people to let cats adopt them. You will be glad you did.
Kitty finally used up his 9 lives and left us for kitty heaven. We miss him.
Another cat we had
Squirrel had swirly orange patterns on his side, so we started by calling him Squirrely. That was eventually shortened to Squirrel.
Squirrel was a polydactyl and highly intelligent ( like most polydactyl cats). A car is polydactyl when they have an extra portion of a "foot" on the front paws. They can sort of use this as a thumb. He had something like 7 toes on each front foot. A cat normally has 4.
One of the things he used to like to do was "fetch". We had a wadded up piece of tin foil we would throw down the hall. He would bring it back. He enjoyed this game until the kids started using it to catch him to put him in the cat room at night. (We didn't let the cats roam free when we couldn't watch them. This was partly because we had up to 35 cats, and they would have seriously disrupted our sleep otherwise.) I was sorry they did that, because I really enjoyed that game.
Unfortunately, Squirrel didn't live nearly as long as I was hoping he would.
His mother was also a polydactyl and also highly intelligent.
Tell me about your cat/human experiences.