We Can’t be Normal: We Have Cats

We can’t live like normal people because we have cats.  We can’t have breakable items on any flat surface without knowing that its life expectancy is limited.  There will be someone investigating the object and seeing if it passes the gravity test.  We can’t leave food out of any kind.  Cats are omnivores.  But they also like warm stuff.  My favorite cat ruined a pan of brownies by taking a nap directly on top of them.

Then there’s the litter.  There are litter boxes, of course.  But there’s also litter in a lot of places.  I find single pieces in my bed almost nightly, and wonder if I track it in, or if some cat has planted it there.

One of my cats has a mean streak, and after a pretty vicious attack on one of the others, he has his own room now, my office.  It’s inconvenient, but he seems to like being “the office cat.”  He likes to talk when I’m on the phone to let the world know I have an office cat.  He claws his way into my lap for attention, as he can’t really jump, stays there 5 minutes, and then goes off and sleeps.

Three of our cats have come up out of the forest and adopted us.  The other four we adopted.  Two sleep with us at night, the others are herded up each night and locked in a spare bedroom that has become the cat room.

I’m sure non-cat people still reading this far are horrified.

Why have all these cats?  Well, we didn’t plan it this way.  My son wanted a lizard.  I told him he could have a cat.  A neighbor was giving away kittens from a litter her cat had, so we went and checked it out.  Two cute little kittens were wrestling and playing and both took to my son right away, continuing their wrestling match on his lap.  He wanted both.  Kittens having kitten company is never a bad thing, so I agreed.  The next week, two more showed up out of the woods, about the same age.

Four years ago, we walked out one Monday morning to hear a cat screaming inside our fence,  We went around and looked for the source of the noise, only to find a tiny Siamese kitten scared and burned.  It took my son and wife three hours to capture him and take him to the vet.  He’s one that gets to sleep on my bed at night.  He’s the sweetest animal I’ve ever known.  He’s cuddling with my wife on the table in front of her, on the other side of my laptop as I write this. His nickname, or rather name now, is “Sillybutt.”  He even has a theme song, possibly two or three.  He likes to try to lay on the keyboard, too.  Just not right at this moment.  If he knew I was writing about him, he’d probably purr.

Last summer, one of our beloved cats, one of my son’s cats, passed away pretty quickly from something still unknown.  The grief sent my wife looking for something, and she found it in the way of two little rescue kittens who needed a home.

I’d been on a list to adopt a blind cat if one should come up in my area, and as we were full, of course, one came up before Christmas.  Blind and black and sweet.  I drove 2 hours to get her, named her “Abby Normal” after a skit in Young Frankenstein, and fell in complete love.  Then my wife stole her.  She’s the other cat that gets to sleep with us.

So, I didn’t start out with the goal of having all these babies, they just keep coming up, and taking them to the kill shelter just isn’t something we can do.  So we try our best. We remove our breakable collectible items and put them with the other valuables, in the attic.  Living things are better than non-living things.

We’ve built cat furniture to give them more places to lay, play and scratch. But we don’t have much that doesn’t have “evidence” that we have cats.  There are scratches on things.  So many scratches.  I have to cover all the cords for electronics in thick pet-safe plastic tubing.  They still manage to get through one every once in a while.  I’ve become quite adept at piecing together bitten cords with solder and black tape.

I’m asked every once in a while “what would you do with a million dollars?”  Honestly, after I paid off my house, I’d probably try to open a cat sanctuary.  One of the charities I donate to is “Shadow Cats” in Austin.  The owner is a cat specialist veterinarian in Austin, and the sanctuary is in his house.  There are more than a 100 cats there, with three segmented areas.  It’s wonderful.  I’ve visited only once, and it made my heart very happy.

I wanted to volunteer, but the list is long, and they are an hour away from my house.  They only house cats with feline leukemia and give them a nice life until they ultimately pass from complications.  So it’s heartbreaking to see these cats suddenly pass when you were there the day before playing with them and interacting.  Like people, they all have very unique characteristics and behaviors.  No two are alike.  Unlike dogs (which I have had up to four dogs at a time, lest you think I’m only a cat person), cats are more selective with their love and attention. Dogs love most people, cats choose who they spend time with, and do it in a much more distinguished and refined manner.

When I’ve been gone for a few days on a trip, my dog is always the happiest in the whole household to see me, including my wife.  The cats, however, range from happy to see me, demurely demonstrated by a rub on my leg, to angry at me for being gone and thus neglecting them for the past few days.  Some will give the silent treatment due me, others will yell at me and tell me how much they think of me being gone.

One thing is for sure, it’s never dull or boring.  They make my life different, but full, and there are few things I love more than sitting on my recliner, reading a book with 3-4 cats laying on my lap and legs.

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Photo by Kido Dong on Unsplash

2 thoughts on “We Can’t be Normal: We Have Cats

  1. Office cat…just had me laughing. When my husband is in his office our only cat goes in there and will meow to get his attention, he pets her for a bit and then she settles in to sleep or she comes back out to find me. She’s our fourth cat. I love dogs too, but have allergies, plus I probably wouldn’t have the energy at this time in my life to care for a dog. But they are fun.

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  2. I forgot to mention that I’m allergic to cats, too. I live on Benedryl and Claritin (alternating, of course) and we have an asshole Husky that I’m too old to train correctly. He’s a lot of fun when he’s not being an asshole. That’s like 50% of the time, though. He’s just lucky he’s so pretty.

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