I didn’t grow up having cats as pets. To be honest, I didn’t give cats much thought. I believed the stereotypes about them, that they are arrogant, the owner follows THEIR rules, and they climb on everything in sight. I have to say, when I lived in the city I had a cat that for reasons known only to her….picked me to be her person. She was a stray that lived on my front porch. I started feeding her and that sealed the deal. She was mine from then on. A small delicate, black cat. I named her Salem. Having an outside cat worked for me. She had her life. I had mine. I pet her and fed her and she purred for me. Then I married my husband. He had inside cats…..so now I had inside cats too.
Samson was a black Maine Coon, long haired and elegant. Samson was very stealthy. He could sneak up on a person before she realized he was even there. One night, early on in our marriage, my husband and I had gone to bed. It was pitch black in the bedroom so I couldn’t see a black cat. Samson found his way to the top of my head and curled himself into a tight furry ball on my pillow. In the middle of the night I woke up, feeling a “presence”, it was like I was wearing one of those fuzzy Russian hats. Joe was the other cat. A black and white domestic cat. A sweet boy who liked to “talk”, and was content to lay around and watch the comings and goings of the family members. My husband was Joe’s person.
All three of the cats I mentioned have passed on. Samson, from old age, went to sleep and didn’t wake up. Salem, for whatever reason got high blood pressure, went blind, and had a stroke. Her poor health broke my heart. Joe just recently passed from a 6 month bout with feline cancer. Joe was the first pet I’ve ever had to put to sleep. I cried like a baby.
Nikki is a calico. I suspect that she was “dumped” out here in the country, by someone who no longer could afford to take care of her. She showed up at our house several years ago, and hung out under our deck. I noticed her one morning and coaxed her to me. From then on she was ours. We ended up bringing her inside because she had already been declawed and fixed. She couldn’t live outside with no front claws. If I could sum Nikki up in one word, it would be persistent. She loves being loved.
A couple of years ago, stray mama cat chose our barn for her labor and delivery. She bore five kittens, four survived. For being stray kittens, even the vet has said, “They are some of the most beautiful cats I’ve ever seen.” Lara Croft (Barn Raider) is a buff long haired girl, her sister Juliette a sleek Tabico (tabby with calico coloring), and the two boys are big and long. Dante a sleek white, and his brother, Virgil, a gorgeous long haired white. Virgil does not understand that he is a long haired white, and is not above trouncing through whatever might be on the barn floor. Dante went to live with our grandson, in Texas, the other three are with us. They live in the barn and hunt around our twelve country acres. They are the best mousers, hands (or paws?) down!
This puts us up to last October. I was on my way to work with one of my home instruction students, when I saw the smallest little piece of gray and white fluff on the side of the road…..in the middle of nowhere. No houses around. This little guy looked like he couldn’t have been weaned for very long. He was so small! I called home, and my daughter drove to where I gave directions and picked the little guy up. I took Itty Bitty to the vet and he was checked out. Now, he lives here with us and his other feline friends.
Finally……last but not least…..is Jack. Jack is a young orange tabby that showed up at our house a couple of months ago. I don’t know where he came from. He was attracted to me like a magnet. Every day he greets me when I go over to the barn. I am seriously wanting to bring Jack inside. He has a special place in my heart.
So, as you can see, I am now a dog AND cat person. Probably, if truth be told, I am just a plain ol’ animal person.
“It is difficult to obtain the friendship of a cat. It is a philosophical animal… one that does not place its affections thoughtlessly.“