For the Love of Cats

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I’ve talked about my cat, Locke, on the blog before.  As I said then, and will probably say often, he was far too beautiful to have been a cat rescued from a box by a dumpster.  After eleven wonderful years with him, we lost him very suddenly at the end of September.  It wasn’t something that showed any symptoms or caused him any pain until the day we lost him, so at least he didn’t suffer and we were able to be with him at the end.

Locke was the first non-fish pet I ever had.  You just don’t get attached to fish the same way you do to an animal you can cuddle and interact with.  It took me a few months to work through my grief and get to a point where I was willing to talk to others about my loss or consider getting another cat.

That ended up being two cats.  We adopted two six-month-old brothers last week, so you’ll start to see them periodically on the blog now.

Jordy and Julio

I wanted to take a little time today to talk about why I take such joy in cats generally, and Locke and our new kittens specifically.

I’ve loved cats for as long as I can remember.  There were no pets in my house growing up (except for the fish) so I had to enjoy other people’s pets.  My very best friend growing up always had cats.  One of them was even sort of mine (I was her favorite human at any rate).  I practically lived at their house during the summer and on weekends from second to sixth grade.  I learned that while I was allergic to cats, I was usually fine as long as I didn’t touch the cat and then touch my face.

I spent a lot of time petting and playing with those cats, and missed them almost as much as my best friend when we moved away.  There’s just something about soft fur and a happy purr that makes me happier than I was before.

Petting cats is supposed to reduce your blood pressure too.  Locke is probably a big part of why I survived graduate school.  He came to live with me for my last year, when I moved into a bigger apartment that would allow pets.  He was there for my worst (read most frustrating) class, and for my comprehensive exams.  We snuggled on my futon almost every night as I tried to unwind watching movies.  He watched through the whole in the door any time I closed him out of the bathroom.  And my very favorite thing was that he would be there, waiting on the kitchen counter right beside the door whenever I got home.  He was an amazing and wonderful cat and I still miss him.

No cat will ever be quite as perfect as Locke was.  He didn’t walk on keyboards, he didn’t bite or scratch when we tried to bathe him (he just tried to escape), he didn’t over eat unless there was another cat competing for food, he didn’t walk on me (cats walking on me leads to scratches and allergic reactions), he didn’t chew on cords, and his only bad habit was taught to him by a human.  My cat would sit pretty and beg like a dog.  My sister-in-law taught him this and even though we never reinforced it, somehow he continued to do it.  It was kind of adorable even when it was a bit annoying.

Our new boys, brothers Jordy (black) and Julio (tabby) are sweet but still young enough to grow into their personalities.  Julio is the brave one, who explores and wants to play and already knows how to get human attention when he wants it.  Jordy is shy, and still gets up and runs off about 50% of the times one of us approaches him.  Sometimes he consents to be petted if he’s comfortable in a chair or perch, but I always approach slowly and hold out my hand to ask just in case.  If he turns away, I leave him alone.

Julio and Jordy

Jordy and Julio are best friends though and love to play together and sleep together and were only adoptable as a set, so I think we got a pretty good deal.  We’ll have at least one who wants to cuddle, so if Jordy never becomes an affectionate and cuddly cat that’s alright.  I’m just happy to have little furry critters in my home again.  I know my husband is happy to have company again, even if they can’t talk (maybe especially because?).

Not everyone likes cats, just like not everyone likes dogs.  I am decidedly a cat person.  I can tolerate a well behaved dog when I need to, but I’d rather just have cats underfoot.

I’d love to hear any interesting stories folks have about their own cats (or other pets).  I love to trade pet stories.  Especially the funny ones.

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