I'm inspired to write about my cats today. I didn't become a cat person until I was in my twenties. I was supposed to bring my first cat Raven to Colorado with me when I moved from Chicago to go to Bel-Rea to learn how to be a vet tech. He was polydactyl and hopelessly devoted to me. Unfortunately, his kidneys failed 2 weeks before I left.
I promised him I would share that journey with another black boy kitty, so after I was settled I called Denver Municipal Animal Control and asked if they had any neutered black boy cats. They had one. He had been an owner surrender and was on his eighth and final day at the pound. I adopted Cooper later that afternoon.
One month later I met my husband. He had a dog growing up but was never around a lot of animals and had never been around a cat for long periods of time. Our relationships all began together. Cooper is still with us 15 years and 10 cats later. He has outlived his BFF, Marty (9), his first lady friend, Audrey (6), and his little buddy Linus (13 months) and we have gone from a 3 cat household to a (gulp) 8 cat household, but he rules the roost.
(Marty, top, Audrey, L, Linus, R)
All of our cats have sob stories, and none of them would likely be here without us. Our second oldest, Charlotte Meepers (the name I wanted combined with the name my husband wanted) was found on the side of a busy road on Halloween having been hit by a car as a 12 week old kitten. She had a fractured pelvis and her urinary bladder was filled with a large blood clot. She was on her way to a certain end at the shelter and was lucky I was working that morning. It took her two weeks to recover in our bathtub then one night she hopped out!
Gibson is the most feral cat we have. He lived with a feral colony near the beach and was hit by a car in the head at a gas station. He was also on his way to a certain end at the shelter but I really wanted an orange cat to replace an orange kitten we had lost. He was the first eligible candidate to come in to where I worked. 5 years later he still shies away from us most of the time but I can usually get in a good 5 minute belly rub once a day. He is the sweetest cat to other cats I have ever known. All of our cats love him to bits, and so do we.
Chi was sitting on a double yellow line on a road in August when he was plucked up by a good samaritan (who broke the tip of his tail in the process). He is very lucky that I was covering for a vacationing technician at the time where I worked and was the first tech he met. My husband had to be convinced with Chi, so I named him after a guy in his favorite band and may have shed a few well timed tears.
That brings us to the Final Four. My husband's old office had a feral colony that lived in the woods. The CEO of this group was "Grandma Kitty". She was a large black cat who didn't want anything to do with anybody. Her litters generally felt the same way; all of them except for one.
I first met Miss Kitty when she was 6 months old and pregnant. She had 2 brothers, Tom and Spot, and the 3 of them had befriended my husband and everyone at the office. They took turns running up on the weekend to feed them. They had all taken a shine to these cats, and my husband and I wished we didn't already have 3 or we would give Miss Kitty a home.
4 years ago today, Miss Kitty crawled into a broken down car and had 5 kittens in the backseat. She was allowed to move into the "office", and for the next month she saved her babies from ants and after they were put back out, birds of prey. My husband and I decided to intervene at that point, so he brought the family of five home to stay first in our garage, and then in our large master bathroom.
We found homes for the boy kitten and one of the girls. We sent two of the remaining girls to a foster/adopt situation and kept Miss Kitty and the runt, Tiny.
When my husband went to the Office to feed Tom and Spot on Father's Day, he found that Spot had been killed by a car. He didn't want to leave Tom by himself, so Tom came home too, got neutered, and a week later I drove him to Chicago to live with my mom.
(Tom on the way to Chicago)
Several months later, just a week after finding out I was pregnant, the 2 we had sent to foster/adopt were returned to us. After about a week of freaking out, my husband and I just accepted the fact that we were going to have a lot of cats for a little while. The other family had named the girls Jasmine and Ariel after Disney princesses. Turns out the names are somewhat fitting.
(Jasmine, L, and Ariel, R)
So we have eight cats. Sometimes my husband lies and tells people we have 5 or 6. If you came to our house, you would see a few black cats but we rarely see all 8 at the same time unless treats are involved. We love all of them. It's a little much sometimes, sure, but they are all loved very much as individuals and as our little "pride".
The feral colony at my husband's old office is still there. For 3 years he went every other day to feed and water them. The torch has been passed to some nice neighbors but Miss Kitty's relatives are still in charge over there. Slowly they are all being spayed and neutered. Grandma Kitty lost her life to a car about a year and a half ago. We were sad to see her go but in her 5 or so years she ruled a little bit of forest with gusto. We are happy to have been able to take care of 2 of her children and 5 of her grandchildren.
Happy 4th Birthday, Jasmine, Ariel and Tiny!
(Jasmine, Ariel, Tiny, Miss Kitty)