In Servitude To Felines

Once upon a lifetime all my living life from as long as I can remember until now, I’ve lived with cats. Domestic cats, of course. Nothing exotic like lynxes or leopards that some crazy people seem to think is OK. Of course there were dogs sprinkled in with the mix, but the cats far outnumbered them in our family. My Beautiful Girlfriend had a similar upbringing, although I’m not sure her family had as many cats as we did back in the day.

We love cats; and when we married and made our own home, my Lovely Bride brought her kitty NoName from Wisconsin to Florida where I was doing my Air Force thing. NoName ran away for two weeks shortly after we all settled into our apartment. That of course prompted us to answer an ad for “free Persian kittens.” Upon arriving at the “Persian” kittens’ home there was only one kitty left for adoption. Agrisby Anne, as we named her, was anything but Persian. More like a tortoise shell colored, short haired gremlin with fleas that were nearly as big as her. So we brought her home, got rid of the fleas, and did our best to satisfy her insatiable appetite.

Then NoName came home.

OK so now two cats. No big deal right? I mean, cats know where to go potty, and they don’t need you to go with them. They’re pretty independent creatures and we like that. And if you treat them right, they love to snuggle with you. We’ve always been the types to let them outside, but that has hazards; not the least of which is automobiles. And yes, we’ve lost some that way.

Fast forward many cats later, to autumn of 2022. Freddy the Freeloader, our last indoor / outdoor cat, died of natural causes. He was one very cool dude, a feral that My Awesome Sweetheart fell in love with as he roamed about outside our home. She started feeding him outside, and although I knew the end result, I resisted allowing him in the house since we already had two other cats and a dog. In those days he used a plastic kiddie pool we had leaning up against the back of the garage for shelter, and since we hadn’t seen him for a couple days we feared the worst. On my way out the door for work, I lifted up the kiddie pool to see if he was dead or injured and found he was very much alive, as he shot out of there like a rocket. After he slowed down a bit I saw that he walked like he was very drunk. I told my Amazing Best Friend, but since I had to skedaddle for work she was left with the time consuming chore of getting him into a carrier; and then whisking him off to the vet. The vet shot him up with antibiotics and told us to keep him indoors for a couple weeks; after which we let him out thinking we might not see him again.

Turned out Freddy liked our house and us enough to come back, and he was Mr. In and Out for 13 years with us. In fact, he was the last of the indoor / outdoor cats in our line of many, many others. Both of us, of course, were very saddened by the loss of our pal Fred. My Beautiful Honey Pie solemnly pledged, “I don’t want any more animals for a year!!” Within about 5 months we were knocking on the door of the Noah Project, a local no-kill shelter. After proving we were worthy, we came home with Ivy Anne and Luna. Ivy was about 14 months old, 2 of which were spent in the shelter. Luna was 6 when she was dropped off at the shelter, and stayed there for 10 months!! Poor baby.

We love these two rascals. They are indoor cats, an experience we’ve never dealt with before. And in our personal opinion, shelter cats are weird. We’d love to let them outside but both of them would be roadkill in nothing flat. And you know what else? The litter boxes fill up a lot faster. Huge surprise, right? Indoor / outdoor cats actually prefer to do their business outside… unless of course the weather is nasty.

Since my Lovely Lover is not really able anymore, I’m the Lone Cat Rancher these days. I feed the cats. I clean the shit box. I clean the water bowl. I wash the food bowls. Then comes the afternoon feeding. And evening. Then it’s time to clean the water box, feed the shit bowls, and wash the food all over again. And again. And again. Oh and not to forget trying to keep them amused with toys and play time! But due to our serious devotion as foster parents, we do all this with love.

Yes, we really do love our cats, but sometimes we wonder who’s really running the show.