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Ovation: Cats … Gotta Have One.

09/19/2012

I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t have a cat.  While most of the cats in my life were “outdoor” cats … cats that would come and go as they pleased, searching for love and affection only on their terms and on their schedule … I have enjoyed the company of several “indoor” cats as well.

A close college friend of mine raised purebred Burmese cats and competed for Best In Show at many Cat Fanciers Association competitions.  The pedigreed cats that she and her mother raised were extremely beautiful and very much sought after by those in the know.  There was one particularly beautiful female cat in their group who had “aged out” of the breeding process, been appropriately spayed and needed a new home.  My friend suggested that I take her in since I lived alone in an off-campus apartment and she would still get to see her.  I obliged.

That cat lived with me for many years after college and travelled with me as I moved from one place to another, spending a sabbatical with my parents when I moved into a “no pets” apartment building for a short time.  She was a good cat, that caused no problems followed all the best rules of cat hygiene and was friendly toward everyone that she met.

Until that fateful night in Baltimore … the night that she went crazy.  This lovable old cat, who had slept at my feet each night for many years by this time, went crazy and attacked me as I slept.  I woke in a panic to find that my cherished pet had grabbed my head, claws on either side just above the ears, and was chewing on my nose!  I looked into her beautiful yellow eyes and didn’t recognize her.  I scolded her, she ran away to hide and I tended to my wounds.

Then it happened again.

My bedroom didn’t have a door … just a spiral staircase to a third-floor loft … so it was difficult to keep her away at night.  After all, we had a routine in which she was comfortable sleeping at my feet and would cry if we were apart.  I began to lose sleep.  You’ve heard the phrase “sleep with one eye open”?  I’m certain the phrase was coined by a cat owner.

Weeks went by without incident before, after I believed that we were once again the best of friends, she chewed on my face for the final time.  A trip to the vet resulted in a diagnosis that I have long since forgotten and a prescription for what I called “anti-face-biting pills” that didn’t work.  Eventually, the vet declared her insane and took her from me for my own safety.

I so loved that cat.

My current furry little roommate and I have been together for almost seventeen years.  He shouts in the middle of the night, slaps us when we try to sleep in on Saturday mornings and lets us know in no uncertain terms when he wants water RIGHT NOW, but he’s never acted aggressively toward me or anyone else that he’s met.  He leaves tufts of fur, stray whiskers and the occasional hairball as his calling cards.  He craps in a box in the basement.  But he’s not a face-biter.

I love him, too.  And I’ll miss him when he’s gone.

And then I’ll probably get another cat.

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From → Ovations

13 Comments
  1. Since we’ve been together, Carlos and I have had eleven cats–seven all the same time!!
    But each one was a unique animal and we loved/love them all.

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  2. Being a cat person I totally get it. There’s always been a cat in my life. I’ll always have one. That’s why there’s a sign in my house “Love Me Love My Cat” I’ve had it since I moved out of my parent’s house. Mike said once he’d gone out with me a few times he knew it was true. We now share our home with 3 quirky furry felines (no face biters thank goodness!).

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  3. Cats make the world go ’round.

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  4. I’ve had cats since I was a child so I can totally relate to this, except for the face-biting. We have two very spoiled tuxedo cats who have trained us very well. Our oldest is 16 and we know our time left with him is limited, so we enjoy every moment we can.

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    • My furry little roommate turned 15 in April. He’s mellowed out in his old age and he’s starting to spend more time with us. We’re getting a big kick out his meows in the middle of the night that sound like “Hell-OHHH!” He sounds like a person.

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  5. Hahaha wifey and I are 100% dog people. We’ve got a small group of refugee cats that we’ve been feeding since they were born in our yard, but otherwise we definitely prefer dogs.

    Of course, that doesn’t mean we have to go into some tedious name-calling exercise now, right?

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  6. Amy Smith permalink

    I don’t remember that cat. Was it Joy?

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  7. I had the meanest cat ever growing up. It would hide under beds, around corners, in closets and attack you when you passed by. We finally had to get rid of it after it. One day, knowing full well the cat was in the house, I was sitting on the floor watching TV (Hey! I’m not a bright adult what kind of moronic kid do you think I would have been?) when it jumped on my head and started tearing into me. I still think it had to have been somewhat humorous to those who saw it as I ran around the living room punching at a frenzied cat hat.

    I’ve also been bitten by dogs, snakes, birds, many things really; kicked by a horse; stung by who knows what; pissed on by a ferret; shit on by birds, you know, I’m thinking maybe I should rethink my hating people and liking animals stance. They really seem to have it out for me.

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