Mark Twain

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do ...
Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Our cat history!

There are cat people and dog people.
I am a cat person!

Shocking as that statement is to my neighbors (I am always walking dogs.), those who have known me for a while are not surprised.

Over the last 41 years my husband and I have shared our lives with 9 cats. The first 3 were friends with each other - not related but close in age. They slept together, they cleaned each other, they played together. Life was simple. So simple that we thought the next bunch would be the same - so why not get 4 cats!

Life with the next 4 cats was like living in the Middle East - you never knew when hostilities would breakout, but it was a sad fact that they would. Peace was possible with major adjustments, frequent accommodations, and substantial barriers and bunkers. It was always a fragile peace. But our cats are part of our family, so just as we wouldn't get rid of a kid because he didn't get along, we wouldn't get rid of any cat just because scud missiles would regularly fly. It was a long 12-15 years for us humans!

But we loved those 4 cats enough to commission an oil painting of them. No, they never sat as close as they show in that painting. Artists are skilled at making unlikely things look likely, look natural. Don't they look like they are pals and just "hanging out" together on our deck during a sunny afternoon? It is the way we like to remember them. The painting hangs in our living room now. It will be one of those items that our children fight over after we are gone. "You take it." "No, you take it." "Please, I insist you take it." "Hell, no - I offered it to you first." I guess it is too much to ask that they check with "The Antiques Road Show"! :-) (From the bottom clockwise: Gandy, Alex, Teddy, and Cassie)

Anyway, now peace has returned. Maximilian and Wallace are the current cat residents. They are brothers and were selected as kittens because they were a "bonded" pair - able to live with each other without the benefit of bullet proof vests or automatic weapons.

Max is a stomach on legs. Food is what makes him tick. Anything that remotely reminds him of food brings him on the run. The rattle of a pill container or the crinkle of a bag can send the wrong message to "the stomach with legs". He is not very smart, but the stomach is not the best organ to think with.

He has degenerative kidney disease that will shorten his life, so while we have him we cherish every moment - even though we rank #2 behind his dinner.

Wally is a thinker. He is smart. Frighteningly smart. That means problems because a bored smart cat can be a terrible thing. Bumps in the night, crashing sounds, puzzling out containers with secured lids, dancing on the computer keys - all are valid activities when you very smart ... and bored. He loves dogs, even crazy ones like Milo who he is still trying to figure out! And he loves my dog-walking coat. When I am not wearing it, he is.

He is healthy now except that he carries extra weight - we hear about that every single time we go to the vets. I have had "soul-searching conversations" with Wally about his expanding waist line, but so far it has fallen on deaf ears. The truth be told, cats seldom take anything you say seriously. Selective hearing is one of their "charming" traits. Only a cat lover could call that charming, of course!

My grand-dogs are very dear to me,
but if I had to choose between only cats or dogs,
cats would win hands down!

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