Let’s Talk Cats: Crystal’s Corner

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When I was growing up in Chicago, I really wanted a pet.  I always liked cats and dogs.  My parents would not let us have a pet, especially a cat, even though we had field mice in our house.  After Ron and I bought our townhouse in Alsip, we got two kittens.  Samantha was a gray long hair, very intelligent female and Peter a black and gray tabby, affectionate, but not very smart.  I constantly talked to Samantha and Peter even before I became a stay at home mom and worked part time.  They always looked as though they knew what I was saying. Although, strangely enough, they never obeyed a single command. I did, however, teach Peter to walk on a leash outside, which amazed our neighbors in Chicago. They were my babies until we had Elizabeth.  These cats both loved the baby.  When she would cry, they would look at me and meow.  When Elizabeth was about two years old and she would cry, Samantha would lick her tears.  As a toddler, Liz would fall on them or grab them, but they wouldn’t hurt her. Instead they would look at Ron or me for help.

Peter and Samantha were sibling strays, living outside with their mother under some bushes between two houses, when a friend of ours at church found them and sought homes for them.  Since then, every cat we have taken in has come to us.  We didn’t go looking for them.  Friendly, a black and gray tabby stray, who looked a lot like Peter, was in a bush across the street from us in Indiana.  Elizabeth was 6 years old when she rescued him.  It was love at first sight.  He was her cat.  The older cats (Peter and Samantha), now 8 years old, didn’t want a new cat in their house, but after a time, learned to love and cuddle with Friendly.  Friendly was very persistent in making friends with them.

On Michelle’s 13th birthday, at her slumber party, “Minnie”, a beautiful gold and white stray cat, had her kittens on our back porch.  We had to take her to the vet to get two more kittens out.  The kittens were premature and did not survive.  But of course, after such a traumatic experience, Minnie would have to live with us.  She would sit on top of a dresser by the window overlooking our porch.  We had been feeding her as an outside stray.  Now another stray, “Asia”, was visiting on our porch.  Minnie was talking to Asia like they knew each other on the outside.  We fed Asia and petted her outside.  Then one day, we noticed she was limping.  We took her to the Vet and saved her life.  Asia was a little cat with brown, black, gold, and white colors.  When we let her in, Minnie, who seemed fond of her on the porch, didn’t want her in our house. However, she soon got over it as did our other three. That’s right, we were up to five. God help us!

After we moved to Ohio with all of these cats except Peter, who died in Indiana, we found a kitten in our driveway.  Ashes, a gray longhaired tailless cat, was injured and had to see the Vet.  He attached himself to Samantha, who looked like him, but didn’t want to be near him.  We lost Samantha soon after we moved.  She was 20 years old and had been with us through five moves and four states.  Maybe about a year after that we got Seal, another stray with problems. This rather small gray tailless cat soon grew a real affinity for our youngest daughter Lisa.

Now in 2016, we only have Seal.  Ron, however, is trying to become friends with a little, not so friendly, black cat who comes onto our front porch from time to time.  We do get stray cats in our driveway and hiding in our raspberry bushes.  This cat likes living outside and is not warming up to him.

Since Lisa moved out, Seal who has always been very affectionate and has become my lap cat.  When Lisa visits from time to time, he seems very happy splitting time between us. I am used to lap cats. All of the cats with the exception of Minnie have been on my lap. When we had Asia and Ashes, they would take turns.  Asia, the female, would dominate, but Ashes and Seal would sometimes climb on top of her on top of me, especially when I am working on crafts or reading or writing.  They would have to be a part of it.  Asia would take pins out of my pin cushion and just drop them next to it.  They all loved chasing a spool of thread around the room.  Asia was a bit of a tease. She would also find a small toy somewhere and then take it in the living room.  She would get the other cats to play with it and then just take it away and hide it.

As much trouble as cats can be with their hair everywhere, knocking things off tables, sitting on my knitting, crocheting, and quilting projects, fleas (at times) and illnesses, I never regretted having any of them.  The bottom line is; I guess I’m a cat person. I don’t even want to imagine living without one in our house.  These days I run many of my ideas past Seal.  He always approves and looks at me with loving eyes.  Since Lisa moved out, Seal even sits on Ron sometimes, if I am not around.  He meows when I come back as if to say “Where were you?”  Then he plants himself on me to keep me from leaving again.  I just pet him as if to say, “I’m here.”  I think, in his own way, he smiles as he cuddles with me.

P.S.  I don’t think Seal wants the black porch cat to come in here.  Asia sometimes comes back as a ghost and rubs my leg.  I think she is enjoying cat heaven, but just misses me.

Ron’s Two Cents

Unlike Crystal, I have had many pets growing up, including a couple of very loving cats. When I suggested to my new bride that we could have a cat I thought she would explode. She was so very happy. Originally, when we went to look at the litter living in our friend’s bushes we agreed to pick one. Samantha came right to me as if to say I choose you. The lady told us it would be a good idea to take another, ‘at least for a couple of days’, so Samantha wouldn’t get lonely. Boy, were we saps. I reached into the bush and pulled out Peter.

We loved them both. Their first toy was an empty Kleenex box. They both fit in very easily. Peter loved being a family cat and just liked people in general. Samantha, while a people cat, was particularly fond of me. I called her my daddy’s girl. I have been fortunate enough to have three more daddy’s girls since, but none of them had four legs.

There was no doubt that while, as Crystal said, both cats adapted to our girls, Samantha was obviously jealous. She didn’t like sharing me or our attention. I still remember the day that our one year old was crying and we were desperately searching for her pacifier. We were ready to give up. As I got ready to go to the store to buy a new one, there was Samantha bounding energetically up from the basement. She almost looked proud as she showed off her new chew toy. Crystal and I both laughed hysterically at the site. Of course this find didn’t keep me from my trip to the store. There were just a few too many holes in that pacifier by the time we managed to wrestle it away from our girl cat.

I think every married couple needs pets. It’s probably what kept Crystal and me together all of these years. If we broke up, who would get the cats?

Note: I’ve had the unenviable task of burying four cats since we’ve been in Ohio. The first three are in our back yard in unmarked graves. The fourth (and any subsequent cats) I buried in some local woods. Unfortunately, since I didn’t mark the three graves, I don’t remember exactly where they are and don’t want to disturb them.

Peter and Samantha 001

Michelle with Peter and Elizabeth with Samantha circa 1987

Category: Animals and Pets

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