Monday, March 28, 2016

How We Became a Cat Family

In May of 2015, my oldest son and his girlfriend brought home 2 kittens. Her brother's cat had babies and they of course each ...  had to have one.  So 2 little brothers,  just 6 weeks old,  Prince and Rain were welcomed to our family.  I mean ... how do you say no to these little faces?

They lived at their apartment - so we only saw them when we the needed us to watch them. 

Some background.  My husband was brought up on a farm, in Central NY  - and so believes that animals were meant to live outside. Cats belong in the barn.   Me? Well,   I always thought myself allergic to cats. Sneezed when I entered houses that had cats - but besides that - I've always been terrified of cats. Something about their eyes - freaked me out - and their claws and teeth.  Gave me the willies.

Growing up - my dad always kept fish tanks - from baby nurseries to 50 gallon tank. My oldest sister had birds. Goldie (I think was the first) and Flyer (the one I remember) - both parakeets.  My brother (10 years older than me) had a bunny (Pink Eyes), but that was before my time.

When I got married - my first birthday gift from my husband (1988) was a cockatiel, I named her Harmony.  Pictured below with my youngest son who was about 8 at the time.  Harmony was about 16 in this photo.  We treasured Harmony before the boys were born - she had a wooden playland my husband built for her  that was right outside the cage. She sang and danced and yes, even talked. "Come on out" and  "birdie' frequently chattered in her little birdie voice.

  Harmony even danced to the Beach Boys Kokomo song - while singing "birdie, bird, birdie. Bi-i-i-ir-die. birdie. birdie" to the melody line.  Sadly Harmony died from Kidney disease - when she was about 17.5 years old, about 2005.   The boys always wanted another pet - but we always said no. 

Back to May/June 2015 ... The oldest went on Tour with the band - and we watched Prince and Rain.   Yep .... and I fell in love with them.  So when our middle son (who happened to be out of town at the music festival as well)  called us and said he had a friend who found an abandoned litter of kittens - could he have one ... I said "ask your dad"  ... and he said,  "Okay." 

And here she was as I first met her.  Meet sweet little Nala 

Yes, her name came from the Disney movie "The Lion King" and she is Zach's cat.  He takes care of her - pays her vet bills - took care of spaying - etc....  He is such a good Cat daddy :)

She was just 4 weeks when she came to live with us. Her momma -a feral cat - frequently had litters - that she abandoned to other wildlife.  This bunch survived - because they were found before the hawks and raccoons could get them.  My son's friend - took them to a vet and syringe fed them, litter box trained them - and helped them all find homes.  How could I say no to this baby - who was so little - she still had trouble standing up?  

 We were all hopelessly in love. 

OH how she LOVES her Zachary!! It is so cute watching her wait for him to come home from work at night. She runs to the door - if she isn't already sitting on the stairs watching the door from above!

 I had a blast taking photos of her  when she was so little -  (the one above was taken by Zach though)

 But it has been a real learning experience. From finding a vet ... to choosing food, to getting her spayed - even choosing cat litter - dealing with illness, worrying about her getting outside (she is an indoor only cat ... but yes still has her claws) we have learned a lot, with Zach taking the lead on all of it.  Christmas was extremely stressful though - she liked to climb the trunk of the tree. 

She is 10 months old now, and is quite the independent girl. Zach lives in a finished apartment in our basement and so she lives downstairs with him. When no one is home - she is down there - where she can't get into anything. When we are home she is upstairs with us. She definitely is a cat bred for loving the outdoors. She climbs on EVERYTHING! We can't have doors or windows open - because she will climb on the screens.  She gets on top of the kitchen cabinets - on top of my book shelves housing my piano music - on top of my dining room hutch - and loves to stare out the windows at the squirrels and birds - chattering away at them.

We used to call her the dark princess - because she hissed and growled at anyone who came over to the house. But since the oldest is now living home with us again (minus Prince and Rain) - she has made friends with him - and we rarely hear her hiss or growl - except of course if I want to hold her and pet her against her will! LOL!

One evening at the beginning of October - I mentioned to my husband how I missed Nala sitting with me - and letting me pet her. She is so independent. That same week - he mentioned that to his boss.  His boss replied; "Boy do I have the right cat for you". 

And that leads into how Nala - met her 'sister' Lola. 

But that is a story for next time. 


Ruth Hiebert said...

Even though I still refuse to have a pet,that ties me down in any way,your story is fascinating.I'm glad you are enjoying the cats.

Valerie said...

Ruth I will not deny they are a lot of work - but I am flabbergasted by the love I have for them. We are lucky to have Zach and Justin living home - so if and when we go somewhere they take care of them. But to wakeup in themorning and I have this little kitten on the otherside of the door - so anxious to see you and wanting to be held and petted (I am speaking of Lola) it is mind boggling to me how I have made a complete 360 degree turnaround. Had I known i would find this much joy in a cat .... I would have done it so much earlier. My siblings laugh at me cause they knew how deathly afraid of them I was.