International Cat Day by Jenn McKinlay

JENN McKINLAY: Apparently, August 8th is the International Day of the Cat. This seems only fitting then that this is my week to host the blog since this has truly been the summer of the cat. 

It started so innocently...

This guy who we call Shackleton because much like the polar explorer, he is brave but dumb (I don't really know if Ernest Shackleton was dumb so much as he was overly optimistic about his outcomes) and the name certainly fits this little fellow who is afraid of nothing...nothing! This video is our first meeting when he was three weeks old and just trotted right up to me and demanded my attention.

Shack Attack!!!

He got it! Once I saw his fam - a very young Mama and FOUR kittens - I felt like I needed to help her out - it takes a village, after all - and so I began feeding them twice per day in our side yard where she'd decided to hunker down, bringing toys, etc. You know, typical Auntie stuff.

Then it became apparent that we were going to need to step up and find them homes because street cat life is hard and we wanted more for them than that. I started feeding them in a cat carrier and one day (when they were about 10 weeks old) they all piled in to eat and I just shut the door. Mama watched me and (I swear) she gave me the slowest blink ever. I like to think it was her way of saying, "I trust you." I told her she was a great mom and promised that her kittens would have happy loving homes.

Since Hooligan 2 had moved out to go to college, we had his vacant bedroom and it became the kitten room. One of the kittens, who resembles a beige tiger, did not come out from under the bed for two weeks. I was certain we'd have to neuter him and release him back into the wild. Yeah, no...

Shh, don't wake the baby!

Named El Tigre because he was all teeth and claws, he has become the biggest Mama's boy in the house. Seriously, I am shocked.

One of the four rescues was adopted. See? I'm not totally hopeless! We called him Danny (short for Danger! because every time he saw me when he was tiny, he'd puff up and scamper away as if shouting "Danger!") His new mom dotes on him and sends us pictures and videos. His new name is Max :)

And then there is Wynona. Small but mighty. She keeps up with her bigger brothers and is the fiercest hunter of the three - look out crickets! She was almost adopted but the cat in the house she was to go to was not having it. I was secretly relieved. I mean just look at that face!

She's modeling a post surgery sock-onesie,
which I learned from mystery writer Tammy Kaehler,
who also rescues and fosters kittens if you need a cute FB follow.

Sometimes the universe just knows what you need. It's been tough around here entering empty nest land. While I did push the Hooligans out of the nest, I've missed the yelling, wrestling, farting (okay, not that one so much) that was daily life with young men. Now I have these three scamps, who make us laugh every day. The Trips (short for triplets) have blended into our home seamlessly - all of our other pets are equally amused by them - so obviously we're a monster foster fail and the remaining three are staying.

Hub is a spectacular cat daddy!

Presently, we have two dogs, one fish, and six cats in the house. How many felines makes you an official cat lady? Does it have to be in the double digits? Or do I just need to always be covered in cat hair and constantly showing everyone I meet pictures of my cats? 

All right, Reds, who else is a cat lover in the group? How many do you have (or have had)? If you’re not a cat lover, what is your pet of choice and no pets is a perfectly acceptable answer, in fact, I envy your sanity. Also, if anyone wants a cat, I can help you out! Just sayin’.

LUCY BURDETTE: Raising hand here, I am a cat lady. I don’t think you have to go higher than six, Jenn, lol. The highest number I had was nine and it was too many! They began to turn on each other. But one at a time, I love cats! You’ve already met my T-bone, most handsome cat ever!

HALLIE EPHRON: Raising both hands here. I don’t have any but I adore cats. Jerry and I had a pair of stinkers when we lived in NY. Black and white cats that we got when they were tiny abandoned kittens and then had to give away when my cat allergy put me in the hospital. 

Three Little Kittens Lost Their Mittens - Jerry Touger

HANK PHILLIPI RYAN: Oh, yes, love them. SO much. They are endlessly hilarious, and so smart, such good role models for self-care. :-) When I was a kid, and living essentially in the most rural of places, we had…the gorgeous all-white Rosemary, and Rosemary's babies, named F. Scott and Zelda. At the same time, a feral cat called Picnic,and my darling Mrs. Purdy, who had kittens in my closet on the first day of school. But as a family of maybe 5 people at the time, that’s kinda only one each. So I figure  you can do cat math and allocation. And as an adult, I’ve only had two at once, and I hesitated at that for the very reason you mention. But then, stray Leon, (who I found when I was out jogging and was about to go to the shelter to prevent me from being a cat lady), was so ridiculously adorable that I could not resist. Even though my Lola did not acknowledge his existence for the 14 years they shared an apartment.

Jonathan and Lola, clearly a creature from another planet. Lola I mean. Circa 1995.

(Oh and I just saw this on Twitter:  “Here's a common scam that is going around that you should know about: Sometimes cats will meow at you like they haven't been fed, but in fact someone DID feed them and they're just trying to get fed again.”)

DEBORAH CROMBIE: Jenn, I've been following your kittens with absolute delight. And, yes, I am a cat lover. Dogs, too, but I can't imagine life without cats. They are endlessly amusing, and anyone who thinks cats aren't affectionate must never have owned (or been owned BY) one. We are now a two-tabby household, as we lost our little tuxedo guy to kidney disease just recently. Yasu is the Tail-less One–she was found badly injured as a kitten and her tail had to be amputated, after which she came to live with us. Lucy was a neighborhood cat who adopted us, and we are the most doting cat humans ever. I think we have an invisible sign on our door that says "Suckers here!" 



RHYS BOWEN:  We only had one cat. He was a big orange male who adopted us when we had to live in a rented house after moving back to CA from Texas. Absolutely adorable. He walked the kids to school in the mornings, would come running beside my car when I turned into our street and wanted to be in on all our activities including sitting on the board or in the box when we played board games. He was the most lovable and loving animal ever and I still miss him.


JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Oh, yeah. We never had cats when I was growing up, and the few dogs wound up going to other good homes because when you suddenly get posted to another country, what else do you do? (Dogs and military life can be hard to mix.) But when I got married, it was to Ross and his cat, Big Mac, who was at our wedding! Since then, we've had a one or two cat household. Mac was followed by Georgie, who bit everyone and then ran away within a few months, followed by Anastasia, then Juno (who we thought had scabs and missing hair from a hard life on the street, but who turned out instead to have allergies requiring expensive shots and pricey allergen-free food.)


Our senior-most pet is Neko, Anastasia's sister, who is a sleek and healthy twelve. Her special role in the house is to lay next to me on my desk while I'm writing, interrupt me for skritches, and shed enough hair so I have to get my laptop professionally cleaned periodically. 


How about you, Readers? Cat lover or no? Tell us about your felines!