Don't get me wrong. I love cats. I have always loved cats. I've had cats since I was a little kid.
I just never knew that one day I would live with SIX of them. And a husband who from now on will be known as CrazyCatMan.
Yes. Crazy Cat Man. Oh, I know. That's not an expression in today's vernacular. Crazy Cat Lady is far more popular. Cats and spinster women, blah, blah, blah. They go together like cookies and milk. But cats and men? Yes. Welcome to my world.
CrazyCatMan never had cats. He grew up with dogs. Then he met me. I loved cats. I just didn't have one at the time because the apartment I lived in had windows that opened out, were unscreen-able, and the thought of coming home to a cat who had fallen out of the window was not feasible. So cat-less I was. But I digress.
We moved in together. Rented a house in the suburbs. One night coming home from dinner we spotted something at the end of our dead end street: The silhouette of a little kitten. Sitting there right in the middle of the street. In the pitch dark.
Doesn’tYetKnowHe’sCrazyCatMan got out of the car and jiggled the light of a flashlight near the kitten. (CrazyCatMan is also CrazySafetyMan and carries a flashlight in his car.) The little kitten played with the beam of light. Then three more kittens came out from under our neighbor's parked car to play with the light. Four kittens in all.
They followed the light up to the front door of our house. I ran in to put some milk in a bowl. (OK, half and half, but I digress again...) The kittens went for that bowl like starving tigers.
One by one we lifted them up and put them in the bathroom and shut the door.
Doesn’tYetKnowHe’sCrazyCatMan: "Now what?"
Me: "We go to the all night Safeway for kitten food and litter."
We discovered later that someone had left them in a big box at the bay lands at the end of our street. LEFT THEM IN A BOX AT THE END OF OUR STREET. What is wrong with people??
How cute are these kittens? (Moneypenny: upper left)
After a week of 4 kittens running (literally) all over the house, Doesn’tYetKnowHe’sCrazyCatMan had his fill. It was time for them to go to the shelter for adoption.
But alas, I had fallen in love with Moneypenny. Fallen. In. Love. Had to keep her. So we did. Her siblings were all brought to the local Humane Society and Moneypenny stayed with us and became the world's most spoiled cat.
Fast-forward a year. Reading the local paper at breakfast. Article on Missy the one-eyed cat. Found in a box with her four one-week old kittens. And a newly stitched up eye. The kittens just got back from foster and were all up for adoption. They were adopted in no time flat. But Missy lingered. Adult cats don’t get adopted fast in the middle of kitten season.
AlmostCrazyCatMan fell hard. Can you fall in love with a picture in the newspaper? He did. Had to have Missy. Missy: adopted. The world’s second most spoiled cat moves in.
Fast forward another year. Both of us at the shelter for “volunteer training.” (Volunteer training? Yes. CrazyCatMan is now officially CrazyCatMan.) We see a Missy look a-like in the cage. Turns out it’s one of her kittens – returned after a year. How could we resist. One of her babies! A family reunion! Wow! We adopt Chance.
Chance and Missy have NO FRIGGIN IDEA they are related to each other. Noideawhatsoever. And never will.
Acacia. At the shelter for 5 months. Bites a potential adopter. (Who flipped her upside down like a baby. Who can blame the cat for biting?) She was put on the PTS list. (That’s Put To Sleep list for you non-shelter types.)
CrazyCatMan could not have it. She was too sweet. Too cute. And not a biter at all. Cat number four adopted.
Local shelter. Madera County, CA. Rural county about 2.5 hours east of San Francisco. There is such an overpopulation of pets in Madera that the local shelter deals with it by putting something like 90% of the pets it houses to sleep.
That’s what happens in rural areas. “Neuter my dawg? No way, dude. My dog needs his balls. He’s a man! I don’t want no wussy dawg walkin' round my trailer park.” (Apologies to all you rural folk who get the need for spaying and neutering.)
So once a year the Marin Humane Society empties out Madera’s shelter and takes all the animals back to Marin where they are fostered, spayed and neutered, given necessary shots, and put up for adoption.
We fostered a cat from that rescue. He was a cuddly bear. He’s got a slight neurological problem and therefore walks around in circles a lot, especially when he's excited -- like right before he gets fed. His right side paws slip on the wood floor. And he’s a little dumb. But he is the sweetest cat. We named him The Bear.
CrazyCatMan: “There’s no way we can send this cat back to the shelter. No one will understand his needs. He has to stay with us. We’ll give him the best life he could have.”
Adoption number five.
And that’s how it’s been for about three and a half years.
Until we fostered Kitty Cat.
The world’s most timid and scared cat ever. Cross eyed and no tail with a heart murmur. She was cowering in her shelter cage. Really – no one would ever have adopted her. It was so sad to see her like that. Apparently her previous guardians had her for three years but then got a new dog that "scared her." (Said the paperwork.) Scared the hell out of her. So they returned her to the shelter, which was a far better choice than putting her in a box and dumping her by the bay. We fostered her to help socialize her and make her friendlier and less nervous. She’s come out of her shell a bit – but still, IMHO, not adoption material because she's such a frady cat.
CrazyCatMan two months into Kitty Cat's fostering: “KC is trying so hard for keeper status. Look how sweet she is.”
CrazyCatMan four months into Kitty Cat's fostering: “KC will never get adopted. We can’t possibly send her back."
CrazyCatMan five and a half months into Kitty Cat's fostering: “Look how well she gets along with our other cats. Plus, she hides most of the day. We need to keep her.”
Kitty Cat: Officially adopted May 28, 2005.
And then there were six…
Not that I don’t love each and every one of them and their adorable cat-like ways. The way their fur is knitted into everything I knit. The way they swat at the working yarn as it comes over the needles. (See, for those of you wondering 'what does this post have to do with knittiing?' I just worked it in for you...)
So before you think "Hmm. There goes Another CrazyCatLady" the next time you see a woman with multiple cats -- take a look around. Don’t be surprised if you find a CrazyCatMan lurking nearby -- dreaming of his next cat adoption.
CrazyCatMan is also AnnoyinglyGoodPhotographer, as you can see by the photos in this post...And he cleans the litter boxes, too. Fab!
One day all of our cats will be up on Catster.com. But for now it's just Moneypenny, Missy & Chance.
If you want to see photos of some of our fosters, click here. But be forwarned. I'm not that good at HTML...