Reading with Cats

September 26, 2013

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

In continuing World Animal Remembrance Month, I must say that I am a cat person. I have been from the beginning. We lived on a small farm and had cats to help control the mouse population. Tommy was a big grey tabby whose domain was the barn. He would allow me to pet him a bit, but otherwise he was all independent and businesslike. Near the house, we had Momma Kitty, a short haired calico and her daughter, Rusty Dusty, a long haired calico. The area around the house, garage and the woodshed were their domain.

Before I came along, cats had always been outdoor animals. That wasn’t enough for me. I wanted companionship, not just mouse hunting. Kittens were soon smuggled into the house for supervised visits. Eventually, my mother’s resolve was eroded and the “no cats in the house rule” subsided. Then Manix came to live with us. He was rescued from the street by my sister, who then brought him home to the farm because she couldn’t have pets in her apartment. His tail had met with an unfortunate accident. He was a black long hair. He ended up being “the house cat.” My father was not big on pets, but Manix was big on sitting on Dad’s lap while Dad tried to read the newspaper. Sometimes Manix sat on the newspaper.

Over the years, I’ve shared space with many cats. Mittens (left in search of his own male territory, too much competition on the farm), Ashley (died young on a busy street), Tigger (after 3 years fell prey to the same busy street), Maggie (nearly killed by the vet who spade her, turned into a real kick-ass cat), Peanut (too stupid not to get massive injuries in cat fights), and George (gave me 8 years of companionship and ran my life). After George, there was a long hiatus. I had to euthanize George because I couldn’t afford the surgery he needed. I swore I wouldn’t have another cat until I had a cat surgery savings account set aside. This ban on cats held until a mother cat moved her three kittens into our backyard. I had forgotten how therapeutic cats are and I needed a bit of therapy.

teen sitting with long haired calico cat in lap while reading

I would come home from school, grab a dill pickle for a snack, and sit down to read or watch TV. Maggie would plant herself in my lap and ask to share my snack. Yes, she ate dill pickles. She would eat everything except citrus fruit. When she wasn’t chasing the neighbor’s little dog out of HER yard or tearing a grocery bag apart with her wicked claws, she could be sweet. Just don’t cross her.

George, as I said, ran my life for 8 years. I didn’t like the name George, but it had been given to him before he came to live with me AND he answered to it, so it stuck. George’s deep belief was that I was put on the planet to make a lap for him to sit in. If I wanted to read while doing that, fine, as long as it didn’t interfere.

grey, long haired cat

No post about the cats of my life would be complete without Earl. We already had three cats (the kittens deposited in our backyard). These three were interesting with very different personalities and amusing antics, but they only saw us as providers of the kibble and scoopers of the litter. We were their housekeepers. One evening, a skinny little grey kitten sneaked in through the cat door and helped himself to some kibble. Each night at the same time, he came for dinner. He was very skittish, so it took several days to get close enough to touch him. After a bit of petting, he decided to move in. The poor thing was so undernourished, that we thought he was a short hair. After a few weeks of steady meals, he turned out to be a long hair. He would meet us at the door to talk to us about our day. He would jump into my lap before I hit the chair. He recognized my bedtime routine and would curl up next to me and we would go off to sleep together. Unfortunately, we only had 6 months with Earl. He was hit on the street. Saint Earl set a benchmark against which we will always measure the cats in our life.

brown tabby and white cat

Currently, our companions are Oliver and Bert. We’ve had four years with them and expect many more. Oliver has the dubious honor of being both the worst and second best cat we have ever had. It is a good thing he is beautiful, funny, and plays fetch better than most dogs. Bert lives in Oliver’s shadow, but is a sweet, mostly well behaved cat.


One comment

  1. Steve and I were trying to remember all the cats we’ve had in our almost 25 years. (I seriously only remember a few of the ones we had as kids. Rainier-named after the beer, the neighbor’s cat was Budweiser. Janet always called him Reindeer). Anyway, we had a hard time! There were MANY! Loved this remembrance you shared.

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