I started this blog years ago when I was sitting with my sick “firstborn” (he wasn’t my first cat ever, but he is the first that I alone chose at the age of 16). He recovered, as he always did, from the anemia that time, the pancreatitis before, the blocked urinary tract before that. Now here I sit again with my firstborn on my lap, my baby, my chunkalunk, the one I cried over for weeks when I moved out of my mom’s house. But this time there’s no recovery. His birthday is a day before mine, March 1st. He just turned 17. And he went from feeling a bit bonier than usual on Monday to a cancer diagnosis on Wednesday. These little a-holes hide everything until it’s really bad. His normal girth didn’t change, apparently because it’s not filled with fluid, and didn’t even have any interest in the one true love of his life – food. So I’m here visiting, as I will do every day that I can until he tells us it’s time.
I know 17 is a long life for a cat, but I suppose somehow I expected him to be around forever. It’s life, I know, but when he’s sitting here on my lap (which was a rare privilege for him to bestow before), my heart breaks. It feels more like he’s trying to comfort ME. When my legs go numb eventually and I am going to have to move him off my lap, he will fight to get back on it. He’s just sitting and purring and occasionally looking up at me with his big eyes and his fu manchu whiskers (both reasons I fell in love with him at the shelter in the first place).
This is the life of an animal parent, we take on these furry babies and hopefully give them the best life they can have knowing fully that we will, almost certainly, outlive them.
I apologize for being a downer. A blog about a dying kitty (especially after so many months of not posting anything) is not exactly uplifting material. But, well, this blog is about being a crazy cat lady, and crazy cat ladies all have to deal with this at some point.
So many things have changed since I was 16, but Fatty has always been my kitty. This sucks.
I think I probably post more pictures of Taco. This is not because he’s my favorite, it’s because he’s overly photogenic. Plus, he’s always in my face so he gets more picture opportunities, and he’s better than Moosh at not moving at the exact moment the picture is being taken. Also, Moosh, being all black, tends to end up looking like a black blob depending on what he’s laying on and the lighting.
So, because I had a hellish week that fried both my brain and my body (and because I’m extraordinarily lazy today), I’m not writing more than these introductory paragraphs and some captions. Instead, I bring you a tribute to my Boo Bear, the snuggly, perching elder son.
So, Moosh. He’s a weirdo. After we initially fell in love with his face nuzzling, we got him home to learn his many quirks.
First, he was kinda cross-eyed when he was younger. We really didn’t think he could see up close at all. It seems to have straightened out a bit but sometimes I still don’t think he can see up close. He also needed to try everything once. I found him climbing a wall. He singed his whiskers sniffing a candle. He’s never done either of these things again.
We also learned that he was a biter. If you walked away from playing with him, he would lunge at your leg and bite your calf. Not hard, but weirdly…like he would just open his mouth and aim at your leg. No paws, just like a shark. He’s a little better now that he’s older but every once in awhile he gets a wild hair and nips.
Most random thing ever: he licks blinds. I don’t know WHY he licks blinds, but he tends to do it more in mornings than he does at other times of the day.
He has the pussiest of meows. I know from past experience that he is capable of a howl, but he chooses to squeak instead. He is the bigger of the two cats and it’s hilarious to hear them whine together…Taco’s big MRROOOOWW to Moosh’s “mreep”
He gets what we call the “skinny face” when he’s happy. It’s hard to explain, but his face looks skinnier when he’s in la-la-land purring. It might have something to do with his eyes getting super dilated to make his face extra black (because, as you know, black is slimming), but then, he does that when he’s ready to pounce too. Who knows.
He loves the vet. He hates getting there, but once he’s there he parades around the exam table like it’s his time to shine. He doesn’t even mind the rectal thermometer.
He perches. You can’t just hold him. He needs to be on your shoulders. He’s really pretty good there, although he claws the boyfriend a lot because he never listens to me. You have to adapt to his climb and put your arm up to help. Otherwise a back paw will gouge your chest…or push your shirt down, putting you at risk for flashing.
I like these perches most of the time (when I’ve been dutiful about clipping his claws), there is nothing quite like walking around with a cat as a parrot on your shoulder.
Fatty’s the OG black kitty. I was 16, totally into punk rock and rebelling (while still being a mostly good kid as far as teenagers go) when my mom and I were at the thrift store for Friends of Strays. So convenient that they had kittens there as well.
I don’t remember why Mom relented and was so easily talked into a kitten, but Fatty (his name was Ernie then) was a tiny black fluffball with fu manchu whiskers and a purr that would melt ice.
I decided Chaos was his name, because, as I said, I was into punk rock and rebelling. It didn’t strike me at the time that this wasn’t a particularly great cat name. Not until we got another kitten two years later and he somehow morphed into Fatty while the kitten morphed into Little (CREATIVE ALERT).
Fatty likes to eat. Like, REALLY likes to eat. In fairness, he is a medium-haired cat so some of his bulk is fur. Aside from that, though, I have, on occasion, caught him laying on the floor with a bag of food knocked over and a fat paw casually scooping morsels into his mouth.
He’s also a momma’s boy. In retrospect, I guess they all are. I take a certain pride in that. He’s been there for almost half of my life. When I moved out of my mom’s, I visited every weekend for months even though he was so pissed at me he wouldn’t come near me, resulting in months of weekends of tears and wailing “My baby doesn’t LOVE me anymore!”
He’s had his share of costly vet stuff, like the oh-so-common-in-male-cats crystals, but last week got really sick with severe anemia. It heartbreaking to see him so lifeless. So he got a blood transfusion, buying him some time for his body to start building up his own blood cells again. This is not a guarantee. Fortunately, he’s made a lot of headway getting better, so much so that he fights off his pills with claws of fury. Here’s a million-dollar idea: start a mobile “cat pill feeding” service. Taco figured out the pill pocket trick and won’t touch them and Moosh is such a picky eater that he turns up his nose at the pill pockets anyway.
I luvs me some Fatty, even if he does love food more than he loves me. I never thought I would be so happy to see him wolf down food.
Moosh is turning 4 this month. Sadly, he started life being thrown from a car along with his litter as kittens and rescued immediately after. When I found him, he was with a shelter called Second Chance for Strays (amazing people, please support them). I was in desperate need of a kitten, having been without one since having to put our baby Jager to sleep. After you lose an animal, there’s a period of time when you can’t imagine having another. Once that stage of grieving is over, you feel like you have to have a new one immediately to survive.
I wanted a kitten-kitten, Jason wanted anything but a black cat (Jager was black, he thought it would be too hard to have that reminder, which sucked, because all I wanted was a black cat — or a bazillion of them), and what I found was a black 7-month-old teenager cat, the last to be adopted from his litter.
Jason is not a guy who does a lot of grand gestures, but he surprises me sometimes. And so begins the story of Moosh. I couldn’t find any kittens, so I was looking in between jobs and online. I saw Moosh (except his name was Oz). I thought, “K. This is a black cat and not as kitteny as I want. Buuuuut I’ll just try him out anyway. What’s the harm?”
As if he’d been training for this moment all his life, he nuzzled his face into my neck and I was in love.
I called Jason and said something like “iknowyoudontwantablackcatbutireallyreallyreallyreallyreallylikethisoneandwillyoupleaseatleastlookathimilovehim.” He managed to decipher this. I guess he’s used to it. I get excited a lot. Mostly about cats. He’s usually prepared with a NO before I get out the first two words.
I got home from work that night to find Moosh. My darling boyfriend went to see him, unbeknownst to me. Moosh laid the charm on thick with the ol’ man. Put a paw on each side of his neck and nuzzled in. Jason thinks he’s a tough guy but he’s really a pushover for kitty snuggles. He’s going to kill me for making this public. But his friends won’t read this, and in the event they do, they’d have to freely admit they looked at a blog about cats. Catch-22, suckaz.
Anyway. That’s when he took him home. Moosh is mostly a momma’s boy, so every once in awhile Jason reminds him who took him home (he still loves me more).
Seriously, black cats are the best.
I decided to introduce Taco next. He’s the newest addition to my harem but by far the biggest brat. By “brat” I mean that he keeps us all on our toes. We adopted him from a friend who’d rescued a preggo stray, Taco being one of the litter resulting from said preggo stray. She named him Fernando, which I loved, but a condition of Jason’s (that’s my other half) was that he was to be named after Taco from “The League.” So whatever. Taco’s fine with me. It works for him.
Anyway, I thought that his introduction to his brother Moosh Moosh would be seamless, as he already had a black brother, Zorro. I seriously live in a dream world sometimes. Like he would be tricked into believing all black cats are his brother. What ACTUALLY happened was an awful lot of hissing on Taco’s part. Moosh was intrigued but pretty much “whatever” about the whole thing.
So we did what you’re supposed to do when introducing a new cat. Put him in a separate room and let them sniff each other through the door for awhile. THIS is when I was introduced to Taco’s lungs. You haven’t heard a cat meow until you’ve heard Taco. This little shit can go for days. This is also when we discovered that he despises closed doors. Whatever’s closed off, he has to be in. But that’s another story.
Now, what makes Taco a brat?
- He cries. All the time. For no reason. He acts like he’s dying. I would have no idea if he was actually hurt because he ALWAYS sounds like he’s hurt. He also has several different types. There’s the one where his tongue kinda sticks out and it sounds like “Mlllooowwwl”…the “MROW!” lookitme meow… and the howling “meooooowwwwwwwwwwwwww” one that will make me run in from another room.
- He HAS to be the center of attention at all times. He can be dead asleep and somehow SENSE that Moosh is getting attention and BOOM! He’s right there. Meowing.
- He can get into the accordion doors to the linen closet. Then he gets fur all over my clean towels.
- He knows JUST where to step on my gut to cause the most pain to wake me up to feed him. Then meow.
- He eats all the food. Moosh likes to graze. He eats a little and comes back for more later. Only there’s nothing left, because Taco already ate it all.
- He fucks with everything. He’ll be sleeping on my lap peacefully and out of the corner of his half-closed eye see a non-moving pen on the desk…and stick his fat paw out to grab it. He somehow managed to find a old bottle of diet pills in my closet, opened it, and tried to eat one, resulting in an epic freakout on my part (it turned out he didn’t eat one, but it was a frantic 15 minutes figuring that out).
- If a bag of treats happens to be left out on the counter and not put back in the pantry, that shit will be on the floor in the morning, COMPLETELY RIPPED TO SHREDS. I once left an open bag of treats on the floor that I had used to coerce Taco into his carrier for a vet visit. When I came back, Moosh was sitting right next to the bag. Untouched. Good son.
- He pees on my couch. This isn’t totally his fault, he has Feline Idiopathic Cystitis. When he gets stressed, his bladder inflames and in turn it makes it hurt to pee. When it hurts to pee, he pees in places he’s not supposed to. This is not fun for all involved.
So why would we keep this drama queen around? For one, I love him. I love his quirks and his meow (just not so early in the morning or when I’m in another room and think he’s gravely ill). And crazy cat ladies don’t give up on their lemons. But he’s also a pretty amazing cat, and he makes up for most of the evildoings. You’ll have to wait for part 2 to hear about that.
Shadow was my first cat ever. After my parents divorced and my mom bought a house , I got my first cat. Up until this point I had only been allowed birds and hamsters, this having something to do with my dad not wanting a cat for reasons that I didn’t know until later in life when he repented and got his own cat, but that’s another story. Anyway, when it was just me and my mom living in a house that we owned, I finally got to experience kitty momminess. Shadow came with his mom (I think her name was Whisper or Wispy, we just called her Momma). And eventually Shadow became Baby. I don’t remember where we got them and why Momma was an outdoor cat and Baby an indoor, but all the same, this is where it all began. I have an entire album of pictures of Baby. Just like I have an entire digital album of my current ones.
As you can see, I have always loved a good pun. This poor cat let me take so many ridiculous pictures of it. I have one of him wearing a sweatband and wristband. One of him covered with stuffed animals so that only his head is sticking out. He was a good sport about all of it and I loved that cat fiercely.
At some point here, we got his brother Sammy, too, but he was always outdoor and really skittish. He never really let us in but we tried to love him anyway. Until one day he disappeared and it turned out that my REALLY AWESOME neighbor had set cat traps because she did not like cats in her yard. I have never forgiven this horrible bitch woman because as a single mom, my mom didn’t have the money to get Sammy out of the pound. I hope in my heart of hearts that someone adopted him.
I don’t remember what happened to Momma. I don’t know why I can remember Sammy’s fate and not hers…but I do remember what happened to Baby because it was my first kitty heartbreak.
I stayed with my dad for 2 weeks. While I was there, my dad surprised me by telling me he knew someone with kittens, and my mom was letting me pick one and take it home. I think I was 12, so I hadn’t yet developed the skepticism I so famously flaunt now. BLINDED BY KITTEN EXCITEMENT.
Theeeeennnnn I get home. Mom tells me Baby is missing. I cry and cry and cry. And then I make signs. Put them all over the neighborhood. Go to the pound. Cry some more. Kittens are great and all but they do not ease the heartache of losing your other beloved, and while I appreciate what my mom was trying to do, it didn’t work.
We never found Baby. This is partly why I am now so adamant about keeping cats indoors only. There are assholes with traps out there and people who won’t brake, not to mention NATURAL predators. I will never forget Baby, partly because of the album of pictures, but also because he was, in essence, my first love.
Hi. I’m Sarah. I’m a 30-year-old crazy cat lady who has two cats at home (with her boyfriend, yes, I am not a single crazy cat lady) and two at her mom’s. I am reasonably sure that at least one of my cats (Taco, you’ll meet him later) could successfully fill a reality show. I have continuously had at least one cat since my parents divorced when I was 9 with the exception of two times…once when I moved out (even though I still really had two at my mom’s) and again after we had to put our Jager to sleep (even though I still really had two at my mom’s). I have enough google and real-life cat knowledge to put me through vet school, but as my mother so nicely pointed out, “You couldn’t do that. You’d cry over every single one.” And, she is right. I currently have Fatty, the big fat black cat I have had since I was 16, in my lap as he is trying to recover from anemia. So I thought, “Hey. Why don’t you blog about cats?” That’s what crazy cat ladies do in the technology age, right? So that’s me. I don’t believe in god or fate or anything but sometimes I do feel like the universe gives me the lemon cats so I can take care of them. I don’t mind so much until they make me cry. Which admittedly isn’t that hard, I’m a pisces after all.
So what else makes me a crazy cat lady? I’ll have to post a picture of my office. I didn’t realize I had decorated almost entirely with cat until a short time ago. I’ve probably spent more money on cat toys, cat food, cat litter and vet visits than it costs to feed a small army. I have googled such terms as “green cat poop,” “what happens if a cat eats a diet pill” and “feline idiopathic cystitis.” I talk to my cats as if they are babies and I imagine their responses. I know they have tiny brains but I just KNOW they know what I’m saying. I want to adopt every cat that I see. I could probably go on like this forever but that would really ruin future blog posts, so I’m going to leave at that for now. Just trust me. Eventually I WILL be that lady in a robe on the Simpsons who walks around with cats stuck to her.