I recently wrote about the similarities between cats and babies. There are many, more as time goes along but we’ll come back to that. In the post I mentioned that I had five cats without really meaning to have five cats. It’s true. I started out with one cat. I don’t, or at least I didn’t like cats. Then I got one.
Now I have five.
This is how.
The story starts with my first ever cat Micky. Before him I was a confirmed cat hater – having a bad experience with cats as a kid and always having dogs (and nearly every other animal) I never liked cats. Can’t trust um. Then one day about a week after I met my wife, we were walking from her flat to mine and found this cat. No collar, hardly able to support himself on his back legs. Skinny, filthy and flea-ridden. We bundled him up and after waiting for a very cold hour outside the vets (it was a Saturday in November) for an emergency vet that didn’t show we took him back to mine and cleaned him up. As bethend couldn’t have pets (neither could I but at least I lived alone), I kept him.
Bethend says that’s when she realised she loved me – sitting on the steps of the vets with a stinking animal of a species I hated because I wouldn’t see him suffer and because she wanted me too.
He lived for a year. Died after his ninth birthday. He was the best cat. I still miss him.
Micky left a cat shaped hole in my heart and in December I confessed to my wife that I wanted to get another cat. As it turned out she and our housemate had already found one and was getting it me for Christmas. She had been drawn in by a picture online of a very awkward looking kitten – the owner of which asked if we were sure we wanted that cat, she had others. But she was perfect. We called her Merry because it was Christmas and it started with M.
At first she didn’t know how to be a cat. Perhaps she was too young to leave her mum but her mum didn’t seem to mind loosing her. Perhaps she didn’t spend any time with her mum and siblings, hiding away from them. For almost a year we had to watch her use the litter box. She wouldn’t use it without us. It wasn’t until we got another cat that she stopped demanding we accompany her to the bathroom.
She’s still as awkward and neurotic. More so I think. My neighbour’s little girl says she has evil eyes. She can be a very nice cat – but on her schedule.
We got Pogo for Merry to play with. She was getting more demanding and wanted us to chase her up and down the stairs and given that my wife was doing a Masters, then working, I was still having to have daily afternoon naps and our housemate has ME so we decided to get another kitten. We got Pogo from Cats Protection. I wanted to get a ginger kitten and call him Rolo but we found Pogo and I didn’t know what to call him. Pogo sort of came to me.
And the first thing he did was jump onto my kitchen counters.
He was cute but thin and we needed to make him a little jumper to wear for a while. It turned out that being thin – slightly underfed – meant that he was a little crazy around food and a great thief.
Bad getaway driver but a great thief.
He still is.
Reb Brown just moved in.
We moved into the village a few years ago and saw this cat roaming around the place. well lumbering around the place. He had a dodgy eye and was really friendly. So we scooped him up so we could clean his eye and remove a tick we found and let him go. He was so friendly we thought he probably belonged to someone.
A few months later we saw him again, his eye was worse and he was missing the tip of his ear. We decided then to take him to the vet ourselves and they cleaned him up and set him right. The vet said now he had lost a fight to another Tom cat in the village he would continue to lose fights until he died. Not wanting such a soppy lump to die we let him move in and named him Reb Brown after an actor with a similar chunk head. Turns out he didn’t have an owner but there are a lot of cats that look suspiciously like him…
Seymour was found in the woods in Aberystwyth, living wild at three weeks old. Cats Protection took him in and our friend fostered him as she does with a lot of the kittens the charity finds. Our friend wanted him to go to someone they knew would take good care of the kitten and one day turned up at the charity shop my wife was running at the time with this pile of black fur. He was so small he was just a head and a bum. Bethend fell in love immediately and agreed to take him when he was old enough. I agreed because I’m a big softy and I’ve never had a kitten fall asleep on my shoulder before.
He used to sleep on my chest, I would wake up with a face full of cat. He’s grown out of it thankfully. I like being able to breathe.
We currently call him Stink, because he is a stink and doesn’t like to use the litter box. Luckily for us, he likes to go outside.
Efnysian is our current kitten. One of the neighbourhood strays (who looks suspiciously like Reb Brown) had some kittens rather late in the year – her third litter in as many years. She had seven kittens, five tabbies and two black cats and the weather was getting bad. This was November time. Our neighbour Helen was working on getting Lady Reb as we call her to trust her so she could catch the kittens and hoepfully Lady Reb too and have her fixed. We were helping and going to help find homes for all the kittens.
One day when bethend was walking home the kittens were playing in a skip around the corner from our house and took a chance to grab a kitten and bring it home. For a few days he lived in a dog cage and quickly settled in. Those first few days he was wild – I still have the scars on my hand from his claws after cleaning him up.
Helen managed to catch the trust of the kittens a couple of weeks later. She thinks the mum urged them unto the cat trap when the weather was getting bad. She’s not gotten hold of the mum yet, but we see her, outside Helen’s house (she kept a couple of kittens herself) and our house as if she’s keeping an eye on all her babies.
We mostly call Kitten. It started because we didn’t want to get too attached because we were certainly not keeping him.
We’ve kept him.
No more cats. No more. We have five cats, the four chickens and a baby. I do not need any more animals. Oh except a hamster. RuPaul died a couple of weeks ago (old age) and I miss having one. I’ve had hamsters since I moved back to Wales. That’s another story though.
But no more cats. Four was more than enough. Five is lunacy.