Sometimes sharing my home with my feline family, my lady cat and my tom-cat, can be a bit much. Other times, the crowded space is sort of a blessing.
The bad times include having to listen to the tom-cat bemoan the fact that he's hungry. It'd be no big deal if he had a manly cat-voice, but he doesn't. It's a high pitched, persistent "Yow?" And he doesn't stop.
I feed the cats in the morning and at night. If Shadow the Tom-cat could eat 24-7, he would, so I learned a long time ago not to give in to the incessant yowing.
When he gets the munchies, he yows and yows, even if it's the middle of the night. All he's learned from having a pillow tossed at him is that (a) it won't hurt and (b) to yow a little softer.
The good thing about Shadow is he's not your typical cat. He's completely wrapped around my little finger. When I lie in bed and read, he sticks his face in my neck. When it's time to go to sleep, he lays on my pillow and cuddles up. If I'm watching television, he cuddles up next to me and rests a protective paw on my arm.
There's an old saying out there that you don't own a cat, the cat owns you. Shadow's the only cat I've ever met that the saying doesn't hold true. He's never aloof and he most certainly never ignores me. It's as though he's never forgotten who rescued him and what he was rescued from.
The lady cat, Baby, is an entirely different story. She's arrogant, aloof, spoiled, acts like she owns the place and is every bit a lady. She's also fluffy and petite.
But me, Shadow and Dennis learned a long time ago not to mess with her. She's got a nasty streak.
When it's breakfast and dinnertime, Baby eats first. Shadow must wait until she's finished.
One of her favorite things to do is to stare at me while she uses my couch as a scratching post. I swear, she smirks as she claws in, just daring me to clap my hands at her and yell "Stop!" We go through this at least twice a day.
Unlike Shadow, when a stranger comes over, she's the perfect little princess. Brushing up against legs, prancing around, meowing. If a stranger picks her up, she's a charmer: she bumps her little face into the stranger's.
The good thing about Baby is she makes life interesting. She loves to lounge in cupboards and her escapes can be shocking. When I cry, she gets pretty rattled. First, she'll pace, then she'll hop in my lap. She can't stand it.
In addition to the two permanent feline fixtures, occasionally there's a feline guest or two.
When I moved to the new place, it came with three kittens needing a home. They lived at my new place until all three were adopted out. In fact, Dennis and I erected a cat-hotel out of an abandoned dog kennel during the season's first snow. Now if I could just get the couple who adopted the last two black and white kittens to return the petite version of the kennel, life would be perfect for all involved.
Then there's Oly, the cat belonging to a friend of my son. This past Friday night as I was sitting on my couch I heard a scratching at the door. I opened the door, and there was Oly coming for a visit. Oly's a charmer. Once Baby and Shadow walked up to him and sniffed his nose (and he acted whole-heartedly innocent), my two decided he was a worthy house guest. Oly hung out for some kibble and cuddling, then headed home.
I have a dog-loving friend that thought it was absurd that I wouldn't consider renting a home that wouldn't allow my feline family to live with me.
But me, my son and my two cats are a package deal. And the occasional hangers-on.