Tuesday, June 07, 2011

A 2 Z: Cats and Cavaliers

My family has almost always had two cats (sometimes more). The first two I remember were presumbed siblings, Twinkle and Shasta. They were abandoned as kittens out in the middle of the country and followed my grandparents' cows back to their barn. The farm was full of wild barn cats, but at some weak moment we grandkids had eliceted a promise that if a tame cat ever showed up, we got to take it home.

I was about five at the time, and distinctly remember sitting on the farmhouse kitchen floor with my two sisters. Our legs were spread out in a three-pointed star to keep the two kittens within reach as we attmepted to make the impossible decision whether to take home the black female with a tiny white star under her chin, or the grey, brown, and black tabby male. (Unfortunately, at the moment I can't find most of our pictures of them.) Mom and Dad had pity on us and finally allowed us to bring both home.

Twinkle was a more typical feline, complete with moodiness and spite. She took pleasure in aiming for my face with her claws whenever my childishness went too far. However, she also liked to cuddle and was known to bow her head in respect during prayer times. Shasta was anything but normal. He would never dream of using his claws on one of his girls, and was even known to jump between us and a big dog or even a scary man.When my oldest sister was being courted, he insisted on chaperoning by sitting between them on the porch swing. He was so tender-hearted that if he came across a mouse nest while he was hunting, he would carefully pick up each baby mouse and carry it to us, alive. Sadly, our attempts at bottle-feeding the infants with cow's milk in an eye dropper usually were not effective for long.

Shasta was the only living thing in the house that Mom would permit to whine for any length of time. She was even know to croon a response to his wails, to the high amusement of us girls. He outlived his sister by many years and lived to the old age of about 18.

We got our only dog when I was about 12. Rebel was a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, the most gorgeous, brilliant, friendly dog in the whole world. A completely unbiased opinion, to be sure. He learned a lot of tricks, including speak, shout, whisper, and moan. He was almost as good a mouser as the cats and loved to play in our hay fields. He especially loved kids and kittens. Shasta and Twinkle only barely tolerated him, but the cats we got afterwards were best buddies. I remember opening the garage door to find him laying with a half a dozen kittens using him as a matress. He would jump to his feet, sending kittens flying every direction, and look up with manly innocence, "Me, cuddling with kittens? No way!"

Sultana was the first cat we got that was all mine. Tana was slightly unusual...she loved to "fly" by sitting in a box lid and having me zoom her through the air, and she even let me pull her around on a sled in the winter. She was feircly loving of me, and would yowl at the front door every morning until I came out. Then she'd leap into my arms, wrap her paws around my neck, and tuck her head under my chin. She also loved being a mother, and between her and I those were the cuddliest kittens around. Some of them particularly liked water, and one even had her own wading pool at her new home.

After Tana disapeared (much to my heartbreak), I got my current cat, a beautiful silver tabby. She was named Licorice when I got her, even though she doesn't have much black. Sometimes she's Lica (with a long I) but most often she gets called "Amy's cat" or "Baby," due to her tiny size.

Baby is so timid that my sister and I dubbed her Secret Agent Cat, since she was always alert and secretive, slipping from shadow to shadow. She adores feet and would rather be rubbed with a foot than a hand, best of all if she can play with your empty shoe while being stroked with a stocking-foot.

A few years ago a black cat began hanging around. Though actually fairly small in size, his lean, muscled body earned him the name Bagheera. At first he was scared to death of people, but finally overcame his fear enough to come to the front door and cry until we came to make friends. He's obviously been abused at some point, but now a couple of years later is mostly over his jumpiness. Unfortunately he's still not over his firm conviction that cats should most definitely be allowed inside, or that rain is to be despized. Given that Mom doesn't allow cats inside this house and we live in the rainforest of the Great Pacific NorthWet, he spends many misrable hours wailing in the garage. But overall, I still believe he's happier than he'd been at his former house. He's not fond of sitting in laps, but loves leaning against my back and drooling all over my arm.

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Barbara Lynn Culler said...

Wow, you've had a lot of pets! What wonderful memories you have of them too.

JoyAveryMelville said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Patty Wysong said...

Oh Wow! Loved meeting your felines and dog! My Great Pyrennes lets one of our cats sleep on her. It's so funny to see!

I love cats. =] Wish I could have one in the house, too, but Jim doesn't like them in. =[

Patty Wysong said...

LoL, that deleted comment was me. Forgot who I was there for a moment--what a spoof. LoL. *eye roll*

Rita Garcia said...

Fun post! Thanks for sharing your cats and dogs! Love you!!

Laury said...

Pets are such a joy! Thanks for sharing, Amy:)

Diana Lesire Brandmeyer said...

We could be friends. :) I love animals.

Joanne Sher said...

LOVE that first pic of you, Aem. You kinda looked like me when I was that age.

And you have had a BUNCH of cats - LOVE them. So much fun!

goergenbearhugs said...

Thoroughly enjoyed the story of you cats and dog! Loved how you showed us each one’s personality!
I am an animal lover myself so animal stories entertain me. I have three Shih-Tzu baby-dogs that give me hours of delight (and sometimes aggravation LOL)

Look forward to more of your stories!
Blessings, Linda

Niki Turner said...

Your list of pets sounds like my list of pets! My first pet was a stray longhair orange and white cat I named Charlesina (I was 5). A trip to the vet to make sure kitty was healthy resulted in a name change... Charles was our family cat for 15 years.
Nice to think of him today, thank you!

NancyK@A Softer Voice said...

Loved reading about the many personalities of your cats and your cute, cute dog. Animals are so much fun and truly brighten our world. Lucky pets to have a loving home such as your and your family's.

God Bless.