Archive for August 25th, 2011

25 Aug 2011

Felines. Cute Little Bundles of Crazy.

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I have two cats.

When I talk about my family, I always include my husband and son. About 75% of the time, I mention our dog. And about 5% of the time, I mention my cats.

I love them. I really do. I MUST, because I’ve had them for 16 years. For 16 years I’ve fed them, cleaned up their pee and crap, and tolerated their bullshit. Every time I take them to the vet I hear, “They’re in incredibly good health for their age”, so I must be doing a pretty good job. Let me tell you about them:

I adopted Sonny and Misty 16 years ago, when I was 24 and they were about a year old. I was never a cat person, but I knew I wanted to rescue an animal and I wasn’t home enough to have a dog. I found an incredibly cool cat named Jesse at the cat rescue and immediately started the process, filling out paperwork, getting a home inspection, and promising my first born if anything were to ever go wrong. We still have Garrett, so I think we’re in good shape.

Jesse was about 15 pounds of lap-sitting, ear-petting, paw-kneading, purring goodness. He seemed more like a dog than a cat, which is why I was attracted to him. Apparently the adoption folks saw the squishy center of my hard, outer shell and asked if I would foster a couple other cats, too. I said yes and they giggled. I didn’t see them giggle, but they must have giggled because I had just agreed to bring home two of the most screwed-up cats ever.

Within days of Jesse, Sonny, and Misty coming home, it was clear this configuration wasn’t going to work. Jesse liked being alone. He would frequently talk about himself in the third person saying, “Jesse doesn’t play well with other cats”, and “Jesse prefers having the litter box to himself.” He would also fling himself off of my bed or couch, aiming himself perfectly to land on one of the other cats, who were half his size.  Jesse did not play well with others.

And then Jesse got sick. He apparently ate a ribbon or some other length of rope and needed immediate surgery. I paid for the surgery and then made a really lame decision. I knew I couldn’t keep all three cats because they didn’t get along. So I took Jesse back to the cat rescue and kept the two that had been thrust upon me. I figured, in my soft, gullible heart, that it was better to rescue two cats than one, and that Jesse was so awesome he would definitely find another home.  As I drove off, I heard him yell, “What did Jesse do to piss you off? Oh. It’s like that, is it? Jesse doesn’t care! Jesse never loved you!”

So here I was with two cats I never meant to have. Misty was invisible, only coming out to eat or pee when I was out of the house or asleep. I swear she didn’t let me pet her until she had lived with me for ten years. Now she sleeps on the pillow above my head, and even lets Garrett and Russ pet her, but it took years of proving I wasn’t out to kill her before she granted me even a smidgeon of trust.

Sonny was cooler. He was a lap cat of sorts and enjoyed our company. He would also occasionally jump on one of us, claws out, and cause us to need copious amounts of hydrogen peroxide and neosporin. Oh. And he peed. All over our apartment. Everywhere. We only realized it when we were moving out of our townhouse into our new home, and we unplugged all of the air purifiers only to be punched in the face with the smell of cat piss so strong it almost killed us.

At that moment we decided our indoor cats were to become outdoor cats the second either of them took the liberty of peeing in the house… Which happened 30 seconds after we moved in. After 48 hours of heaving, snotty, sobs… Sonny was relegated to the outdoors, where he has lived for 7 and a half years. He has the entire garage to himself, with a kitty door. He also has the patio, all four patio chairs, and one of those soft carriers filled with blankies and a kitty pillow. He seems fairly happy, but I know he misses our laps. And we miss him. But no one is allowed to pee on our walls now that we have a mortgage.

Misty lived outside for 2 years. Not because she peed in the house, but because she wanted to go out. It changed her a lot and was instrumental in her trusting us. She matured in the outdoors. But after two winters of watching her freeze in the rain, refusing to take any shelter (due to claustrophobia or stupidity), I forced her back inside. Only then did the whole, “We’re really not going to kill you” thing sink in.

They both eat special food for their kidneys now, and Sonny is on thyroid meds. I love them a lot, but in a different way than I love my dog. I love them in the way anyone would love any living creatures who ate the food provided them, allowed you to clean up their personal waste, tested you for nearly two decades, and still eyed you with suspicion and peed on your baseboards.  Yeah. I love them like that. And apparently I will for the next 16 years. Because they ain’t kidding about that whole “9 lives” thing.