[This has nothing to do with music, although I could probably find a way if I tried]
For many years, I thought I was a cat person. And then I married a man who loved golden retrievers, and suddenly I became a puppy mama.
From 1980-2003, I had had cats. First there was Kahlua, a big black-and-white cat that was gifted me by a neighbor in my apartment building who said, “Want a cat? I rescued him from someone who was going to drown him, but I can’t keep him.” So I took this little kitten that soon grew into a big tomcat, but was affectionate, sweet, and used to put his paws around my neck and squeeze. (Kind of like Pippin did.)
When my ex-husband and I sold our first house and bought another, we had a gap period where we had to move into the Plaza Hotel in Milwaukee for 6 weeks (and to tell you the honest truth, that was a great way to live, IMO – I was downtown, I didn’t need to drive anywhere, someone cleaned my room once a week for $6 – seriously, if I were single, that’s how I’d live in a heartbeat). So we let his parents take care of Kahlua, and my mother-in-law got really attached to him. And her mental health was such that we felt that if we took Kahlua away without any kind of replacement, bad things might happen.
So when we moved into our new place, we got Mittens, with the intention of giving her Mittens. But then we saw Mittens poised on the top of a door that we’d put at the bottom of the stairs to keep her out of the basement, and we envisioned her systematically climbing upon and knocking things off their open china cabinets. And we decided that it was better for us to keep Mittens for ourselves and let her keep Kahlua. He was eating better with them than he’d ever eaten at our house, anyway.
I adored Mittens. She was also affectionate, and sweet, and seemed to sense anyone who either didn’t like cats or was allergic to them by being in their faces at all time. I imagine that Kitty Heaven is Allergic People Hell – a room full of dander-laden sofas and cats wandering around and sitting in the laps of sneezing people with watery eyes, who finally embrace their fate and start to pet the cats, only for the cats to flounce off in a huff.
I don’t have any pictures of Kahlua, but here’s one of Mittens. I think she had just woken up. She looks a little testy.
When she died, at the age of 18, I had started my journey as puppy mama to Dave. Dave adored her and followed her everywhere. She didn’t seem to have much use for him, but I came downstairs one day to find her sleeping in a ball upon his head. Unfortunately, I have no pictures.
Most cats I’ve met since then have been unsocial jerks. In fact, I haven’t met them. I’ve been told that there are cats but that they won’t come out because they don’t like strangers. So I thought, “Who wants a pet like THAT? I’ll stick with dogs, thank you very much.”
And so I’ve had Dave –
And Pippin –
And now, Seamus
All of my pets have been… characters. Especially Seamus, as evidenced by the pictures taken on our recent road trip to Arizona and back:
So I decided that if people have cats who are jerks, maybe that’s less of a reflection on the cat than it is the person.
That might seem judgmental.
So we’ve decided to welcome two new additions to our family.
Meet Spike and Charlie. They were rescued by a foster mom for the group Cause for Paws, from someone giving away cats out of a trunk at a Target in Maryland. (Better than Kahlua’s situation, but still.) Also pictured, Seamus forlornly standing at the gate.
(Spike and Charlie are named after the restaurant where Bill and I had our first date.
I honestly remember nothing about it except that it was really noisy and we spent a lot of time saying, “What?” over the music.)
And for the first three days, they … hid under the bed. But now they’re exploring and they are being affectionate. At least toward me, and a bit toward Bill. Bill caught them touching noses with Seamus through the baby gate, but a full frontal meeting has not occurred yet. I’ve tried, but they go back under the bed. But I’m determined that we will all be friends and a family (I rather hate the terms “fur babies” and “fur-ever home” — they make me cringe a bit). And I’m pretty sure that they’ll be characters as well. After all, I’m their kitty mama.
And sometimes I think – What have I gotten myself into? What have I done? What was I thinking? So many people in my age group – whatever that may be – are downsizing and easing toward retirement and travel, and not replacing their pets so that they have more freedom to pick up and go. I have no intention of doing any of those things.
I appreciate that some of my students may have allergies, and during studio hours, they will stay upstairs and I will do my best to keep them out of the studio once they’re ready to leave this room. (This is one of the reasons I want to put a sliding door across the arch to my studio – privacy and to keep out cats.)
If you’re looking for a pet, and want to support a worthy cause, check out Cause for Paws. Whether you want to be a puppy/kitty mama for ever or just as a foster – it’s a good cause. (Hey, that fits with the name…..)