Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Cats

After posting about working from home it made me think about the cats. I am a big animal lover which is probably one of the biggest reasons I have stayed a vegetarian for over 20 years. As a kid we had dogs, cats, fish, Guinea pigs, and rabbits. As an adult I have had birds but mostly cats. I really love dogs but they are VERY demanding of your time and I hate the thought of not being able to devote the attention they deserve. So I have stuck with cats. They are very independent and can have quite the personality. I got married when I was 20 in 1983 and we got our first cat, Merlin an orange tabby, that same year. He was the only cat we had for many years so he was VERY spoiled. I liked to ruff house with him so he was a bit of a hunter of peoples ankles and fingers. When we lost him to old age at 19 it was like loosing a member of our family and I wasn't in a rush to replace him. By that time we had also lost a female friend of his named muffy a few years earlier We also had a female kitten Chris found at the side of the rode that became Merlins best buddy named Maddie. We lost Maddie to old age just over a year ago but before that we started a new generation of cats.

In 2005 while setting up the Halloween display that we do every year we found a new guest that had the great habit of sharpening his claws on the foam decorations we built. He was a VERY friendly black and white tuxedo cat. After I got laid off I started leaving food out for him which he would gobble up and then hang around and nap and then disappear. We named him "Halloween" or "Hal" for short. As the days started getting colder after Halloween he would follow me to the back door wanted to be held and petted. One day, since I was home alone during the day, I just let him in. At that time we just had our older cat Maddie. Who didn't like the idea of Hal being in the house much. Maddie had always been an indoor cat and hated the outdoors (OK really was terrified of a leaf dropping on her). She eventually warmed up to him after weeks of hissing. Hal loved living in the house and didn't want to go outside all winter. He and I hung out all the time. After year you could see that Hal REALLY wanted to play with Maddie but she was too old to be bothered. Around that time I was taking her to the vet every day to get fluid IV's because of her failing kidneys. One day the vet set a cage out in the waiting room and stuck 2 kittens in it. They put a sign on the cage that said free to good home. The sign said the kittens names were Dorie and Mason. I told Chris about the kittens and after a few days we went down to check them out and brought them home. They were just little things and afraid of everything. Hal took to them right away and Maddie who was already used to Hal really didn't care about them (she was having her own issues with life at that point). Dorie is a grey and white short hair and is VERY small. Mason is a black and white short hair and is HUGE. He has VERY large paws and even after a year is still growing. Hal has fun chasing them around the house and playing with their toys. The kittens just love the open house to play in and have really settled in. Because Hal used to live outdoors in the neighborhood we don't worry about letting him outside. He never goes far and he is always in a hurry to get back inside where the FOOD is. The kittens are curious about the outside and last summer got out a few times and had to be wrangled back into the house. We are trying to keep them as indoor cats since they have no idea what is out there and would end up getting hurt or lost.

Hal will never replace our orange tabby Merlin but he is a unique personality in another chapter of our life. Now that Dorie and Mason are both a part of this house my days are filled with interesting adventures of the cats. Hal wanting in and out during the nice spring and summer days. The kittens finding new and interesting things to play with and get into which keeps me on my toes.

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