Please pardon the dual pun title. This blog post is all about the cats in my family. Currently, I have two, my brother has four, my parents have two, as do both my sisters. My wife, who loves cats is allergic, but thanks to Benadryl, she manages.
When I was a kid, I fondly remember Gypsy, a little tabby someone gave my parents. Back then, there was no such thing as spaying or neutering your cats. You simply had a cat and she had lots of kittens.
Gypsy must have been quite popular with the male kitties in our community. She managed four litters each summer. We were fortunate to know lots of people, because we gave away a lot of cats.
At one time, we had fifteen kittens at once. My sister Tammy used to carry the kittens around in beef buckets. Everywhere you looked, there was a kitten popping out of something, and it was quite hilarious at times.
Me and mom and our cat Gypsy
We had so many cats, Dad had to do something. One day Gypsy ‘ran away’; at least, that’s what we were told. The reality was, my parents could no longer afford to keep all those kittens, and were quickly running out of people to give them to. I bet my dad still feels guilty, but (as he told us when were older) one day he took Gypsy for a car ride to the local dump. “Lots of mice and rats for her to eat here” he told mom, as they drove home.
When I got older, and my first marriage was over, I found my home very quiet. I decided to adopt two kittens. A friend of my parents had a litter of kittens at their home, and this is where I found ‘Rascal’. Rascal was and is still one of my favourite cats. He was a little grey tabby with a white belly, and from day one, he was special; a real ‘People Cat’.
Rascal used to cry a lot, probably from being removed from his mother, so I visited a local pet shop and found him a buddy. ‘Killercat’ was a little black kitty who liked to bring knives into my bed, hence the name ‘Killercat’.
Killercat and Rascal were the best of friends, and I loved watching them play. The worst thing I ever did was get Rascal neutered. Something went wrong with the procedure, and when he came home, the stitches let go. I had to rush him back to the vet. This was the beginning of a very difficult time for both myself and for Rascal as well. Once they did the ‘fix’, he had problems with his urinary tract, and after spending the next three years traveling to and from the vet clinic, my beautiful cat had to be put ‘asleep’. I cried with him the entire night, as we had to wait until morning to bring him into the vet.
The Vet suggested putting him on strong medication, but when asked if the medicine would ‘cure him’ or just prolong his pain, I decided to do the humane thing and let the vet put my little buddy to sleep. This was very difficult, but when you agree to be a pet owner, I believe you have to do things like this sometimes.
Killercat was devastated when his buddy didn’t return home from the vet. All the times before, he would be waiting patiently by the front door, and when Rascal came home, Killercat would wash him and the two of them would cuddle. This time, I returned home alone. It was almost as if my cat had went into shock. He just sat there, with a lost look in his eyes, crying. I truly believe animals mourn their loved ones when they pass away, and Killercat’s reaction proved it.
After a few months of only owning one cat, I decided to look around for a ‘friend’ for Killercat. A friend of mine told me a lady down the street from her had a litter of kittens to give away. What I found was quite the opposite.
Apparently this lady was none too smart. She always wanted a Himalayan Persian, and her new husband was quick to get her one, at a price of $800. The young un-neutered Tom Cat arrived, and seeing how the lady had to attend school that morning, she left him home with her un-spayed female tabby. Her new cat had quite the welcoming party, as in a short while, the lady was greeted by five more members of the cat family. Four of the kitties looked exactly like pure bred Himalayan kittens, but the other one didn’t.
The cruel lady took the runt of the litter, a cute little tabby with the face of a Himalayan, but the short fur of the mother, and hid her away in a cardboard box. When people came to purchase the ‘Pure Bred’ kittens, the little tabby kitten was nowhere to be seen.
When I arrived at the door, the little kitty ran to my feet. It was almost as is she was asking me to rescue her. ‘She is a bit shy, she always has been’ the owner told me. She even told me what she had done to the little cat, bragging how she sold each of the other cats in the litter for $500 each. She didn’t want anything for this one, who I named ‘Misty’.
Misty was very shy, as I expected. Killercat hated her. They never got along, and Misty chose to live her life in the basement, often hidden away. She was never cross, and could be pet by only certain people. She also never grew. She is as tiny now as she was in 2002.
Killercat and Misty
Killercat, on the other hand, was never the same cat as he used to be when Rascal was alive. He had gotten so cross, I didn’t trust him around anyone but myself. Although he was the prettiest thing, with his big green eyes and the totally black fur that covered his body, I urged people not to get close. He actually bit a few of my friends.
The Infamous Killercat
When I met my wife, Killercat tried his dominance with her as well, but was surprised when she stood her ground. It was as if he appreciated this, and the two became very close. He never growled or threatened to bite her again.
A few years later, Killercat began to have trouble with his urinary tract. A few costly trips to the vet and not many results, I decided to put an end to his suffering. As before, I had a difficult time with this, but the thought of him crying at night was too much for me. I brought him in to the vet, and surprisingly, she actually suggested putting him to sleep.
When I got home, I told my wife “No More Cats!” I said that once Misty passes on, I don’t want cats in my home again. It is just too hard when you have to put them down.
That evening, while watching TV, I heard a cat meowing loudly. My wife and I ran to the basement to check on Misty. I thought for sure she was the next to go, but she was as content as ever, sleeping in her little bed. Again we heard the sound, and knew it couldn’t have been Misty.
I ran outside to discover a tiny, skinny little tabby hiding under the front tire of my truck. I sat on the ground and called the little thing over, and although hesitant, he came to me. My wife came out with a bowl of cat milk (No, we didn’t milk a female cat and fill a jar, this is actually a pet product, a low lactose milk made especially for cats).
The little thing didn’t know what milk was, but when I put my finger in the bowl and then held it in front of him, he soon learned. I had to count my fingers to see if he had ate one or not. He drank five bowls of milk before cuddling into my lap.
“You know what you said, NO MORE CATS” my wife reminded me, knowing how the little thing had already won his way into my heart.
“Where will we keep him? We can’t leave him out here, its starting to rain” I pleaded. “We can take him in, I will get a kennel” My wife offered.
Well, once he made his way into the house, there was no going back. We had just adopted (Bought) a little Sheltie puppy, and worried at her reaction to the little kitten. We didn’t have to worry much, as the two of them became the best of friends.
Chance and Marley
We named the little kitty Emily. This name didn’t stick, mainly due to my cousin informing us that ‘Emily’ was much more like a ‘Elmer’; so Emily quickly became ‘Chance’. We chose this name because it was only by Chance he showed up at our door that night.
I have to say, Chance is the best cat I ever had. Of course he doesn’t get along with Misty, who still lives in the basement, but he is as much a ‘People cat’ as Rascal was. In many ways, he reminds me of Rascal.
Chance spends nights in the basement, but as soon as I wake, he is quick to come upstairs and greet me. He stands on his tippy toes and meows so that I can bend down. Upon me doing this, he kisses me. He has to have his kiss from both me and my wife every morning. In the evenings, he likes to cuddle with my wife on the couch, or run and tease the dogs and get them to chase him. From time to time, you can see him hanging from the neck of Marley, our sheltie. They play all the time.
You can still find Misty here as well. She is the oldest cat in my family, but she still looks like a kitten. She comes out more lately, possibly due to her love for my wife. Misty gets so excited when my wife pets her, she drools, which my wife is also allergic to.
If you have never had the pleasure of owning a cat, you certainly don’t know what you are missing. I love cats, always have, always will.
Oh, I almost forgot, the title ‘Cats in the attic’ relate to a story about one of my brother’s cats. My brother was having work done on his house, and one of the carpenters left the attic door open. My brother had this huge cat named Tiger, who was, like most cats, quite curious. Without being noticed, Tiger climbed the ladder and ran into the attic. The carpenter, who was unaware of this, closed the attic door and removed the ladder.
When my brother arrived home, he looked everywhere for his cat, and was mortified how maybe he got out when the carpenter may have entered the house. After spending hours outside looking for his cat, my brother had to face the obvious. His cat had ran away. He was almost in tears when suddenly he began to hear meows coming from above. My brother explained how he believed he was losing his mind, but soon came to the suspicion that maybe the cat was really above, in the attic. When he opened the attic door, the huge cat leapt out and ran for the bed for safety. A big relief for both my brother and especially for his cat.
Chance thinking he is going on vacation with us
Waldo I mean Chance
Me and my good buddy