October 29, 2011

October 29 is National Cat Day

Genny was Sweet Sixteen when she passed.
I had two white cats and a yellow lab while growing up. I loved them all...even Frosty, a gorgeous Turkish Angora with a Hannibal Lector personality. I wore sleeves of cat scratches from age 5 to 19 when he died.

On the first day of every school year, Frosty would roll around on the sidewalk, enticing the kindergartners to pet him. They could never resist. He was white, and fluffy, and beautiful. And then he would attack. His favorite attack would be wrapping all four paws around your arm with teeth sunk into your wrists. We should have named him Vlad, but we were middle-class Mid-Westerners and naming him Frosty because he was white was about as creative as we got.

By the third day of school, the little ones would be walking in wide circles around Frosty, still flopping back and forth, enticing a newbie within striking distance. I can't say Frosty was psychotic. I mean, my sisters and I dressed him in baby doll clothes and carried him around in a paper bag. He had preformed expectations about kids.

Years later another Turkish Angora came into my life, and Genny was a polar opposite of Frosty. She was exquisite and sweet and so gentle, she made friends with butterflies and birds.
Genny and Woody Boyd were best friends.

I recall, when Frosty was with me, one of the neighbor boys asking which I preferred: dogs or cats. I answered cats. They all booed and hissed because, of course, they were dog boys. Not me. Even bleeding and scarred, I loved cats.

So it may come as no surprise to say that I am currently Feline Beck and Call Girl to eleven ex-strays. Buddy has been with me for 20 years. Nick and Cookie since 1999. Herman since 2001. Barney since 2005. Chauncie since 2007. Opie since 2008. Peaches since 2009. Jack and Jesse, Peaches' boys, since 2009. And Gidget since 2010. Peaches is an indoor-outdoor kind of gal. Chauncie, Jack, Jesse and Gidget are outdoor cats, although Gidget has claimed the laundry room on inclimate days.
typical summer day just hanging out
 Throughout my adult life I have rescued well over 50 cats, and a dog or two. Don't get me started on the pregnant Chow-mix who puppied all over my garage within 2 days of rescuing her. I've spent a fortune, not even a small one, on animals that I know I'll never see again after I've gotten them spayed and neutered, vaccinated. I feed anyone who ends up on my property, often searching through the fridge or cupboards for food I can do without. It never occurs to me to say 'No.' Not even to neighbors who end up with a stray on their doorstep, wanting help to capture, or advice if they're injured.

I celebrate Cat Day 365 days a year, 24-7. Unless you've never shared your life with a cat, you know what I mean. No matter how quirky, mischievous, cranky, finicky or affectionate, they sink their claws into our hearts and scar us... I mean...touch us...forever.

To all my feline friends...celebrate your cat with a hug and a warm lap.

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