A change of pace. Time for feline awareness! In all seriousness, it’s a good topic to bring up. The ASPCA estimates that there could be up to 70 million stray cats in the U.S. In addition, 35% of pet cats are acquired as strays.
We are the crazy cat people of the world. We have 7 cats, 6 of whom were strays. How on earth did we get so many? Time to tell their story! Since we have so many, herein lies the story of the first three.
Luna was born on approximately July 10, 2007, making her currently 9 years old, and was our first cat. We bought her at a pet store when she was 9 1/2 weeks old. We named her Luna because she has a big white patch in her tummy that looks like the moon. Luna hates car rides and hates being put in cat carriers even more. There were many times in her early years that I wound up with bleeding scratches from wrestling her into a carrier for the long drive back to where I went to college. She would always meow incessantly until halfway through the trip (ironically, until we passed through the city in which we currently live). She also liked it when I put one finger in through the carrier door so she could lean against it. (I became very skilled at driving one-handed.) She also loved it when I sang to her, and she still does; she’ll meow and rub against my legs whenever I start screeching out show tunes or Christmas songs. She was really a very sweet kitten, but became quite crotchety when she was exposed to Sara, the cat I grew up with, who was old and wanted nothing to do with a little kitten. As a result, Luna doesn’t really like other cats very much and often antagonizes them, thus earning the nickname “Miss Crankypants” from my dad. If you attempt to pick her up she will howl and hiss at you, as she likely thinks she’s about to be stuffed into a cat carrier. She behaves very well at the vet, though. She generally prefers the second floor of the house, where she can be mostly alone since the others don’t venture up there too much. She loves antagonizing Nala, but she really hates Casper because he stands up to her to protect his sisters. Luna is still pretty spry despite her senior cat status. She loves to rub against feet, especially if you have no socks on. She will always be my baby.
Aurora: I could probably write a whole novel on this cat alone. Her birthday is estimated as May 29, 2008, putting her at 8 years old now. She is the most unique cat I’ve ever had in my life. Her story with us begins one weekend in early October 2008 during our 5th year of pharmacy school when David came home from a party in the middle of the night (we were living together, but not married yet). Unbeknownst to me, he also brought a cat home with him, which I discovered around dawn when she snuck out of David’s room, jumped up onto my bed, and started kneading my chest. At first, I thought it was Luna, but then I opened my eyes and saw a white kitten. Hmm. She was thrilled that she had found a nice mommy and
sucker daddy to take her in. I picked her up, marched into David’s room, and in my most polite you-are-in-huge-trouble-mister voice, asked, “Honey, is there something you need to tell me?” David sheepishly explained that the kitten had been wandering around outside the house the party was at, so rather than have her live in someone’s garage, he brought her to live with us. We initially made signs to put up in case anyone was missing her, but then one of our classmates told us she was pretty sure she recognized the kitten and she came from a house where the people abused their animals. So we immediately decided to keep her. She got on well with Luna, who warmed up to her after a few weeks. I think Luna realized she wanted a friend to play with, since she herself was only one year old at the time. We named our new addition Aurora because she was white like a polar bear and the polar bear at the zoo in my hometown was named Aurora. (Don’t question my logic.) But she quickly earned the nickname Smoosh because she is incredibly loveable and likes to smoosh her face against yours in a massive display of affection (we call it “getting a good smooshing .”) She is the ultimate lap cat; no matter where you are, she will find your lap and sit on it. She always sleeps on the bed with us, generally preferring to be between legs. She also has amazingly unique vocalizations she uses to express herself, so we know exactly what she’s trying to say and we think she can understand us based on the inflection of her responses. It’s the funniest and strangest thing. We often joke she’s a Time Lord who accidentally regenerated into a cat (not sorry for the Doctor Who joke). Her favorite toys are tinsel balls.
Molly: To make a long story short, my former college roommate suckered David and I into adopting a mama cat (who had shown up one day outside my roomie’s apartment) and her 1…no wait, 2….ok, there’s just 3…um, actually there are 4…kittens. After doing a cat exchange in a grocery store parking lot halfway between our cities of residence, we found ourselves with a malnourished mama cat, who was barely out of kittenhood herself, and four kittens who were roughly 3-4 weeks old. So Molly is the mama tabby cat, estimated birthdate around September 1, 2009.
She’s a great mom to her babies, though lately she has been acting up and definitely wants her alone time. She is almost always the first cat to greet me at the door when I get home from work. She loves sleeping on the hearth when the fireplace is on and adores a good sniff of catnip. She is very friendly to strangers and always wants to be pet when someone walks in the front door. She and Aurora hate each other with a vengeance pretty impressive for domestic house cats. However, they never try to hurt each other (we’re lucky that none of our cats have ever crossed that line.) Molly’s favorite thing is getting “rough pets” from David, usually on the kitchen stool, hamper, or our bed. This makes her purr so loudly you can practically hear her on the other side of the house. I always need to be cautious while going to the bathroom in our house; if I leave the door open even a crack, she will follow me in and demand what I like to call “potty pets.” In summary, she loves to be pet more than anything, but also enjoys wrestling with her son, Casper, even though he’s bigger than she is and he always wins!
Coming up next: the kittens!