Country Cats, Come to Stay

My mug is courtesy of my son, and I think my sister gave me the little tea guy. Just put loose-leaf tea in his pants, set him into the teacup hot tub and voila! Tea. Right now I’m drinking some loose leaf India black tea called Assam House Blend. It’s delightful!

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Mr. Tea Guy is enjoying his hot tub, and I’m enjoying my hot drink on this cold day.

In the interest of sharing a bit more about myself here–I’m ready to ‘fess up about my cats, because, yes, my son may be right. I just might be “one cat short of crazy.”

Yes, we have too many cats.

I’ll be the first to admit it.

No, we don’t live in a house of squalor with a hundred furrballs. I like to think our house is in pretty good shape, all things considered. See, here’s the deal. We moved to the country from the suburbs. I had never owned a cat in my life.

We were dog people. Small dog people. We have our little Shih Tzu named Snickers who moved with us to the country and was our only pet.

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Snickers, beloved pup.

That is, until I sat on our three-season porch one summer evening and heard a distinct mewing. With a flashlight and careful step, we located the little culprit—a black kitten with neon green eyes.

Finally, with a little string for enticement, my husband knelt down beside her and made friends. We allowed her on the porch “but not in the house.” Then, she was in the house. And in our hearts. We named her Kit Kat. Here’s a link to that story. We had her spayed and got her the shots she needed.

So we had a cat and a dog. Nice combo platter.

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Sweet Pea helps with the Christmas wrapping.

Next, my husband was working in the barn when a full-grown black and white cat jumped up on his workbench and rubbed her head against his arm. “Hello sweetheart,” he said gently, and she purred. When he left the barn, she followed. When he got to the porch and entered, she followed. When he came into the living room, she made herself at home.

Two cats and one dog. He calls her Sweet Pea.

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Pretty Petite, our “little one.”

We took her in to have her spayed, only to find she already had been. So she had belonged to someone. Had she been left? Had she run away or gotten lost? How had she found her way to us? No matter. She apparently was here to stay.

Then my husband saw in town a mama cat and three kittens, all in a cage on the front porch with the weather changing to cold. He knocked on the door and asked if he could rescue them.

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Basket of kittens.

Six cats and one dog.

The kittens grew, mama wandered, papas in the area learned of some hot chicks (kits?) new to the area. Pregnant cats.

Kittens. Too many kittens.

Kittens given away. We took one set to a farm where kids come to play with the animals. Several got taken by a few acquaintances. More spaying appointments.

Oops.

One more set of kittens.

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Molly has a “mouse” and isn’t letting go.

We put out a sign offering “Free Kittens,” but in the Indiana countryside that’s like an Eskimo offering free snow in Alaska. So that set ended up staying around. A couple of those surprised us with having one kitten before we could get them spayed. One had kittens that we tried desperately to save, but they were just born too soon.

My husband rescued yet another kitten from the side of a country road. Mama and another kitten crossed over, but this one was nearly blind from gunky eyes and full of fleas. He took this little one to the vet to get him all cleaned up. We call him Little Bit—and he’s now our biggest and heaviest cat.

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Little Bit hangs out

The numbers have fluctuated over the years as some have just disappeared—either victims of getting lost amongst the stalks of corn in the field across the way, or in the woods, or perhaps killed by a predator or a vehicle. That’s the sad part. I don’t like to think about it. But then, new ones arrive – twice we’ve had skinny, malnourished cats find their way to our doorstep and into our hearts. Both Mike and Molly are now healthy and well fed. At current count, we have eight cats. They come and go, but this is home.

So there you have it. These cats sit on my lap as I try to work, sit beside me on my desk waiting for me to put my face close for a nuzzle, lay beside me on the bed wrapped around my legs.

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Bandit and Spanky are clearly bored with me.

I wouldn’t trade these little inspirations for anything.

So sure, maybe too many cats, but all of these have found their way to us and decided to stay. So am I a crazy cat lady? Perhaps. We take care of them. We love them.

Oh, and they are all currently spayed or neutered.

Because really, eight is enough. Because more than that? Well, that would be crazy!

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6 thoughts on “Country Cats, Come to Stay

  1. Oh, lawsy, you are NOT the only crazy cat people in the world. I had six at one time, three of them rescued from a woman who pretended to run a shelter but was really a hoarder.
    I was down to two in July, both 16 years old, both raised from kittens and then found myself ‘rescuing’ a skinny little black cat that had been dumped by neighbors on my road, who moved away and left her. So now, I’m back to three. Miss Punkin Squawkypants, the rescue, is too smart for her own good, She annoys both of my elder kitties, Michael the Magnificent and Reesey Meesey Paddypaws, and does not want to go back outside where there’s no food or warm places to sleep. And, man! when she starts howling, it is like nails being pulled out of a wet board!
    That’s okay. I figure she’ll be here a while, and my other two will go on to wherever cats go when they pass, and I’ll add another moggy cat to keep Punkin company. Besides, if I run out of cats, I have a friend who has a barnful of cats of many colors!

  2. Linda, Years ago, when we lived in another state, we had a huge yellow tomcat we named Sylvester because we came home one day and found him hanging from our Tweedy Birds’ cage. Well, Sylvester was both an indoor and an outdoor cat. Every day to show his appreciation for being housed, he would bring me a half-eaten lizard and leave it on the living room floor. That was his gift. He also chased a small rubber ball and brought it back to us in his mouth. He had another unique feature: he was my babysitter. We had a toddler in those days, and her internal clock would lead her to our water bed where she would lie down with her thumb in her mouth and go to sleep at 1:00 every afternoon. Sylvester the cat would snuggle against her and they would fall asleep back to back. Those were good years. What a cat!

    1. Oh my! What a wonderful cat! I had so long been against cats hearing they were “standoffish” or “mean.” None of ours! Even the ones who have come to us from outside have acclimated to us and to the other cats.

      I love the lizard story. Here’s mine: One day, I was sitting on my bed with my laptop doing some writing only to look up at a “crunch crunch” sound. One of the cats had a squirrel’s head! Argh! Sort of like The Godfather!

  3. When I was a child living in Chicago, before adult allergies cut me off from my favorite felines, we had a kittie named Smokey, who one day got out, came back an hour or so later with a scarlet tanager in his mouth, and carefully laid it at my mom’s feet. He hadn’t killed it – we’re guessing it flew into the highrise in back of us and broke its neck in the process. Smokey hadn’t ruffled a feather on the poor bird. It was a gift! Linda, love the stories – and the kitties as well.

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