I’ve always been a cat person. Not that I have anything against dogs. When I was a kid we even had a couple of dogs and as much as I loved them, there has always been something about a cat curled up in my lap, that I just love.
When I was finally out on my own and had my own apartment, my best friend found a litter of kittens in the rather scary maintenance shed of her apartment complex. What she was doing in the shed is still a bit of a mystery, but the end result was half a dozen little balls of fur who all needed lots of love and warm laps. I fell absolutely head over heels with the one I nicknamed “second to runt.” As the oh so clever name implies, she was the second smallest in the litter. At least for the first few weeks. But then, even the runt outgrew her and was quickly snatched away by neighbors. Second to runt was my favorite and every time I visited, I spent all my free time letting her run all over me.
It just so happened that my birthday fell somewhere between her sixth and eighth week of life. My ex (who was quite allergic to cats), decided my love for her over-ruled his allergies and in a moment of great sacrifice, put a little bow on her and let me bring her home. Olivia was my pride and joy.
Olivia and I have been together for somewhere between 12-14 years now. She is still thin as a rail. She still loves to curl up next to me, but now that’s only after the kids have gone to bed. I’m not sure she’s forgiven me for bringing my son home from the hospital almost six and a half years ago. While my kids are wonderful around animals, Olivia wants nothing to do with them. The have never chased her or pulled her tail. They are just too darn loud. She’s always been skittish and constant pounding of their feet and the insane echoes of their voices is just too much for her. She hides most of the day.
The same was true for our other feline friend, Jenkiss. He was a stray I was fostering for a local shelter that was out of room. Even though I really wanted to keep him, Olivia didn’t seem very fond of him, so I decided that when the shelter could take him, I’d have to give him back. That was, of course, before my husband (who was just my boyfriend back then), took a liking to him. My husband never had pets as a kid, and he thought Jenkiss was the bees knees. Before the week was over, I got a sheepish call asking me not to give him back to the shelter, so I quickly bought kitten supplies and took them over to his apartment so there was no way my boyfriend could back out.
Late last year Jenkiss got sick. We took him to the vet, but to no avail. My husband had to let him go and it about broke his heart. At that moment, he decided he was done with cats. Well, at least with getting any more (Olivia is still around, after all).
Even though I sometimes thought how much fun it would be for the kids to get a kitten that would be used to their loud noises–like Olivia, Jenkiss never took to the kids either. I think he actually despised them even more than Olivia. She never hissed at them. The same could not be said for Jenkiss. My kids got used to it and learned to just ignore the cats, but every now and then, my son would get sad that the cats didn’t like him–I knew my husband didn’t want more cats, so I let it go.
Being a cat person is sort of in my blood. Everyone in my family loves cats. My parents were no exceptions. Well, at first my dad was. He hated cats (or so he claimed), but when I moved in with him at 14 and begged and begged for the stray kitten my aunt had found, he caved and Pookie came to live with me. It never fails, as much as I showered that cat with attention, she preferred the person in the family who seemingly wanted nothing to do with her. And that, is how my dad became a cat person: a sort of war of attrition. She just plain wore him down with her constant love. He got so used to having a sleeping cat on his lap, that when she passed away (I had to leave her behind when I moved into the dorms), he got another cat.
Bob was my dad’s cat. He loved Bob. The two of them could be found every afternoon lounging in my dad’s favorite spot on the couch. Each morning Bob would wait for my dad to get up, and then trot down the hall with him on the way to the kitchen. Like my dad, Bob was a night owl, and I suspect he was a huge bit of comfort to my father as the cancer slowly made his life harder and harder to bear.
When my dad passed away last year, Bob was a bit lost. He still had my step-mom and she loved him dearly, but he was my dad’s cat and you could see him pining a little. Now, not so much that the little fatty refused treats, more like just enough to get extra treats. He became my step-mom’s new lap kitty and seemed to be loving life.
But then, all of a sudden, my step-mom passed away in June. Once again, Bob was set adrift. He was still living at the house (my aunt came over daily to check on him and the other cat), but he just meowed sadly. My aunt and I had talked about what to do with the two cats, but we weren’t really sure. She already had about a dozen animals and I knew my husband really did not want another cat.
A little over a month ago, my son overheard me talking to my aunt about giving clothes to Goodwill. We must have been talking about Bob just moments before, because all of a sudden, I heard this desperately sad cry from across the room, “You mean you’re going to give Bob to Goodwill?” My son’s eyes filled with tears and he begged me to let Bob come live with us. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen him so legitimately worked up about anything in my life. I calmed him down, assuring him that Bob was not going to be loaded up in the truck and tossed aside with the old waffle maker and coats, but it was not enough. He wanted his Pop Pop’s cat.
It was my husband’s call, but before I could even finish recounting the Goodwill story to him, he shook his head and said, “so, I guess we’ve got ourselves a new cat.”
And that’s how Bob joined our family. Unlike Olivia and Jenkiss, he likes the kids. He doesn’t run from them and even lets them pet and kiss him. My daughter has started calling him Bobby and she loves to follow him around the house. He never seems to mind. He’s claimed a spot on our bed where he spends about half of his day. He and Olivia are learning to tolerate each other. Even my husband has been won over by the Bob’s charm.
Still, I don’t think we’ll be getting any more cats any time soon.