Today, my awesome friend Shelley texted me that she wanted to lodge a complaint against LaLaLyssa. I immediately assumed she was going to say that I am not blogging enough, which is kinda true, and I’d admit it, but mostly because lately if I don’t have anything to say, I don’t say it. BUT! To my surprise, she instead told me that she clicked on the “Cats” section of the site and that there was nothing there! This is a tragedy of course, because I do dearly love cats. But it wasn’t always the case.
I was born into a house with two black labs named Rosie and Daisy. Daisy vanished into the cornfields one night while my family was on vacation, never to be found again. Rosie survived our move to Florida and the addition of our cute but bitchy dachshund beagle mix, Peaches. Peaches knew how to play a room, and often sat on her hind legs in what I called her circus act. However, if you got too close to her when she was in a mood, she’d quickly snarl at you and snap her shiny white teeth. She had ‘tude.
When we moved to California, it was decided that Rosie’s old age and frail state couldn’t make the cross country move, so she was lovingly put down. Once we were in California, we picked out our new dog to be Peaches’ companion: a fat, wriggling Black Lab German Shepherd mix puppy whom we named Bailey. Bailey was fiercely loyal, and I do mean fiercely loyal: she nipped the thighs and buttocks of many of our childhood friends. My parents warned me and my siblings that if Bailey bit someone again she would be surrendered to the pound… so we just never told them, as Bailey continued biting her way through the fleshy thighs of our friends. (It was never serious… just a small little bite on the ass here or there. Yes, I realize how horrible that sounds. Haha! Sorry, friends. My parents have also since found out and are in disbelief how many people Bailey sampled. LOVE, it makes ya do crazy things.) Bailey never once opened her jaws at us, and instead allowed our constant pestering and devotion.
Peaches succumbed to a seizure, and years later, my parents adopted Bella, a beautiful but clingy, massive golden retriever that lived in the backyard of the guest unit I rented. They now live with Bella and Maggie, a golden retriever my mom picked up the day after I got married (she always likes a project).
Growing up I never really liked or disliked cats, I just had never been around them. The first time I met Matt’s mom, I was delighted that their very shy, very choosy Abyssinian cat, Abby, climbed right up into my lap and settled into a tight little bun. His mom remarked upon how unusual it was for Abby to take to a stranger, and thus I decided maybe me and cats could be friends. I began to get used to the slinking around of Matt’s cats, and when Matt and I moved in together, we decided to get our first pet (I’m not counting the horrible brief time period of owning miniature red eared sliders). I stalked Craigslist for days, waiting for a gray, female tabby kitten with stripes to come onto the market., because I loved their polka dotted bellies and elaborate patterns. And she did… in the form of ‘Bianca’, a four week old kitten who had been rescued from a 7-11 dumpster. It was love at first sight, and as you can see in this picture, my eyes were alight with the possibility of our blissful future. We renamed her Lucia after the beautiful green sea of St. Lucia (which we had recently visited). Lucia quickly captivated my heart, with her dedicated cuddling and attempts to steal my sandwiches.
We decided that Lucia needed a friend and in came Leo, a majestic, shy orange Maine Coon kitten who had been overlooked for the four months of his life at a local kitten rescue. Lucia hated Leo with a passion, and our plan for their friendship was quickly foiled, but we never gave up. Leo was Matt’s shadow and Lucia was mine, and that was good enough. Leo had a constant hunger for the outdoors, always sneaking off through the door when we came in. Sadly his lust for the outdoors ended his life as he zigged when he should have zagged one night on our busy street. Now our cats are indoor only 🙁
Next up was our little ball of fur, Oliver. We initially were interested in Oliver’s brother, a fuzzy gray and brown kitten named Note. Right when we were going to say we wanted Note, his adoption was finalized. We went home empty handed and I decided to write on the organization’s Facebook page asking them to let me know if they had any male kittens. Sure enough, Note had a brother, ‘Cymbal’, who was out for neutering and would be available the next day. We visited ‘Cymbal’ and were smitten by his somersaults and leaps through his cage. And how could you resist such a little fuzzbucket? True to his show that day at the rescue center, he’s a curious, playful, mischievous cat, constantly chewing up telephone lines or figuring out ways to get up on top of doors, closets, furniture, and yes, even the ceiling. (I didn’t know it was possible until he did it. The wonders never cease…)
It’s been two years with Ollie and Lucia is finally beginning to maybe, kind of, just a little bit, like him. They sleep within two feet of each other sometimes without killing each other, and I count that a win. I never thought I’d be a cat lady, but now I can proudly admit that I love cats. I love about them the many ways in which they are different than dogs: They are definitely moody, they’re very independent, they’re incredibly intelligent yet sometimes very dumb, and they can be very, very devoted. I love how they can find a loose bead on the floor and be amused for hours, yet the food they’ve been loving for months they suddenly have no interest in. I love that they’ll stalk a gnat all day but ignore a giant spider that lives in the corner at eye level (can’t blame them). I also love that they have a whole kitty language, ranging from the most annoying meows to the most angelic mews to the most rattling warbles to the most strange sounding chirps. I love that they truly do sleep 22 hours out of the day, will use anything as a pillow (even lemons) and are the laziest animals I’ve ever seen. Cats! There’s just so much to love.
I definitely want a dog one day (a yellow lab named Butter, please), but until we live in a place that allows them, we’ll continue to be a two-cat family. Now what about you — cats, dogs, or both? (And proof that diehard dog fans can change: my parents recently adopted Marlie, shown below. I like to think my cat-lady ways had something to do with it!)