April 17, 2008

Country Cats

I never thought I would become enamored with cats again -- not after our recent go round with watching our beloved aged ones pass on. In the past 9 years we have buried 4 of our 5 family friends (in the backyard). Our lone remaining cat, a black burmese named Zachary, turns 18 this August. He is crippled with arthritis, but still manages to get around and have a rather chippy disposition. I was bound and determined NOT to have any more cats, not after the sadness of dealing with cancer and other serious illness in our cattery. It is a hard thing to watch a pet die, especially, when it is a terminal illness and there is little that can be done, but to humanely euthanize them.


But, I relented last summer, after the umpteenth plea from son, then age 13, to have a "pet of his very own." He had been pestering me for a cat for a long while and my answer had been the same -- not until Z passes away. We, both DH and I, felt it wasn't right to bring another animal into the home while Z, being aged and crotchety, was still alive. It had been a year and a half that Z was alone. He had never been alone before as he was the last of the kittens born to our stray Burmese mama back when we lived in San Jose, CA. He survived being abandoned by his mum (who was killed one morning), being dumped into a family of four very social cats (living with us in a tiny 2-bedroom apartment) and then being scooped and moved to a new home, not 2 weeks later. He was frantic, terrified and psychotic (nicknamed -- Z the Psycho cat). He did become less feral over time, but was the least friendly of all our cats. When we made the decision to move to AZ, we couldn't leave him behind so he got packed up with the rest of the cats (and a 2 year old toddler) and whisked 700 miles away to Phoenix. He then got re-acclimated to life in the desert. Three more moves and he has survived them all (one from a rental condo to a rental house and finally to our own home).


So, last year, the very last thing on my mind was adopting another cat. No, no, no. Don't get me wrong, I love cats and have always had them in my home (some 40 years). I just was ready for new furniture and no kitty litter! SIGH! I also wanted to sleep without any fetters upon my feet nor hear the purr, purr, purr of a cat perched atop my head each night. I really wanted my own life, one where I could go where and when I wanted and where I didn't have to think about feeding or scooping poop anymore.

The Boys - usually asleep

Well, I relented, we adopted a stray kitten whom we affectionately called Winston. He will be a year old in June and I must say has charmed us all. He is a beautiful and loving cat -- very calm and very sweet. He is playful, but just a bit timid so he prefers to watch for a while before jumping in. Our Z took to him right off. I think he was sad and lonely and longed for a friend. They are not best-buds, but they get along. They sleep together, eat together and occasionally clean each other's ears (always a sign of affection). Moreover, Z has stopped the lonely crying and has mellowed a bit more (mostly he sleeps).

The epitome of Happy Cat

Shortly after getting Winston (aka, The Poohster) we adopted a second kitten, named Gus. Gus came to us at 3 weeks of age and required a great deal of hand-raising. We got him, mostly to spare his life, but also to save my legs (which Winston particularly enjoyed scratching). Gussy will be 1 in August and is comical and theatrical (we named him Asparagus after TS Eliot's Gus the Theater Cat). He cracks us up all the time -- he steals things and hides them away. He plays with just about anything he can find and often can be seen carrying his toys in his mouth. He and Winston are buddies -- snuggling and cleaning one another. They keep each other company and they are both gentle with Old Z.

1 comment:

Catherine Michelle said...

I'm just really enjoying your posts - we love cats here in KY. We have 8. I was raised on the - so-to-speak and I have done the same for our daughters. My love of cats has passed on to them. Lord Bless, Cathy in Kentucky