Some cats are “up for” kissing, and some aren’t. I know, because I have been a ‘cat person’ all my life. Of course as with everything else, they decide when and if they want to kiss you.
We always had a cat at home when I was a child. I don’t remember being particularly attached to them emotionally, but they were always there. From then on, it just seems they moseyed into my life one way or another until now, life without a cat seems unthinkable! But the days of “no emotional attachment” are certainly over. The cats we have loved in the last 30 years or so have been regular family members, and parting with them has been painful. You know how that goes!
Early in our marriage, Alex came home one evening with a gray cat tucked into his jacket. Seems his former landlord had one too many cats, and this one was hiding under the bed all the time. So she wanted to find it a new home. Tiki was with us for 12 years until we got new carpet, and he didn’t like the smell of it, I guess. Retribution set in (if you get my drift). So we gave him to my Mother, and she and Tiki were great pals until he died.
Charlie showed up outside our bedroom window one morning and just stayed there day after day until we took him in. He was a quiet character, and loving. A couple years later, we were visiting Alex’ aunt in Austin and she had a pile of new kittens in her back yard. I picked up a yellow tabby kitten and said, “Oh, isn’t she sweet! Let’s take her home and call her Ginger.” So we decided Charlie needed a companion.
Ginger, it turned out, was not a sister, but a brother. How stupid can you get? So we named him Tugger, after Rum Tum Tugger in “Cats”, the musical which we had just seen. Tugger and Charlie got along fine. They largely ignored each other. After many blissful years, Charlie developed diabetes, and we gave him insulin shots twice a day for four years before he died. Now that’s cat-love.
Buster and Dahli
Tugger didn’t seem to miss Charlie at all. But one day Alex took Tugger in for his checkup at the vet’s office and came home and said, “There’s a litter of kittens at the vet’s. They’re so cute, why don’t we go look at them.” So we did. And they were (cute). Then we came home. About 2 hours later, we looked at each other, silently reached for the car keys and headed back to rescue a cat. Buster was all black and hanging on the side of the cage meowing like crazy, as if to say, “Here I am – I want to go home!” But there was also another little female that stole my heart (with two boys, I wanted another girl in the house), so we came home with two cats. Tugger was totally unimpressed.
The kittens ruled the roost. They ran and fought and climbed the curtains. They played and ate and pooped. I’d forgotten what a handful kittens can be. We were self-employed and working from home at the time, so they “helped” us in our offices while Tugger tried to make himself invisible. I remember one time when my Mother came over and said, “Do you still have Tugger? I haven’t seen him in a long time.” He pretty much lived under the bed until the kittens were a year old.
Buster has a big mouth. He talks and talks. Dahli had a magnificent fluffy tail that she wrapped around her like a boa. She was tiny and gentle and, as it turns out, sick. She had kidney disease and after trying valiantly to save her, we had to have her put down at age 8. It broke our hearts. We both stood beside her at the vet’s office while the injections were administered, and petted her to sleep. We cried like babies. Not long after that, poor old Tugger died.
Max and Rocky
Can you believe it? We decided Buster must be lonely (he wasn’t!) So when the next litter of rescued kittens showed up at the vet’s office, guess what? Yup, we brought two more kittens home (will we ever learn?). They are brothers - littermates. We were fascinated by Max, who doesn’t have a tail (Manx). Rocky was just a little ball of gray fur. Buster hated them. He hissed and hid. He tried to “talk” them out of the house.
About that time, we downsized from our house to an apartment, and the apartments would only allow two pets. So we “gifted” Buster to our son and his wife (who had three cats already, God bless them). We still visit Buster there, but he has totally adopted his new parents. When he hears our voices, he still comes to greet us, but lets it be known that he has a new home that he likes just fine, thank you.
Max and Rocky are like our children. We talk to them, and they talk to us. Max sleeps between us with his head on Alex’ pillow and his arm over his shoulder. He’s the funniest and cuddliest cat we have ever known. He’s an in-your-face friend who can tell time too (treats at 9:00 PM). Rocky is just the opposite - laid back - a big ole’ teddy bear. They love each other and they love us. You can’t tell me cats don’t love people!
Cats on the Internet
Our youngest son and his wife just bought a cat for several hundred dollars from a breeder. His name is Pepper, and he’s some sort of exotic breed. That’s OK for them, but what about all the cats, and dogs too, who are in shelters just waiting for loving homes?
We have dealt with our local animal shelter several times since moving to an apartment. We’ve helped rescue several feral cats. These people are so caring and helpful. During the feral cat rescues, I made several trips to the shelter to pick up and return traps. Each time, I visited all the animals. It’s so hard not to bring all of them home!
If you are thinking about getting a pet, please check out your local animal shelter. You can find a wonderful friend (or two) there. Check out this site, or go to your own local shelter website. Better yet, get into your car and just go look at the animals. I’ll bet you can’t come home with just one!