Abbie and Emma in a rare moment of friendship.
I wish I had the ability to relax at will like my cats do. They yawn once, give a stretch, and the flop down in some strange position and fall asleep. Even as I lie awake for hours pondering every grave possibility that might befall me or my family in the next week, my cats lie strewn across the bed sleeping peacefully.
There are four of them. I only intended to have one but when my daughter moved out and took her two cats, Abbie was lonely. She walked around the house meowing. When I was unlocking the door as I came home from work, I could hear her pathetic crying. Had she been at it all day? A mother cat and her kittens disappeared from the barn one night leaving one scared gray kitten. I named her Emma and brought her inside as a friend for Abbie. Unfortunately, Emma turned into Godzilla – climbing curtains, leaping from mantels and attacking ankles in the middle of the night. She was not a good companion for my aging Abbie, at all, but we had adopted her and there was nothing to be done except be wary when walking in the dark.
Grace, was also a barn kitten. She refused to sleep in the barn and chose instead to sit at our French doors in the kitchen in early winter, staring in at the lights and the wood stove. She slept on the doorstep, allowing snow to accumulate on her long fluffy gray fur, looking forlorn and tragic. We stood it as long as possible until one night my husband, who is, by the way, allergic to cats, came in with a sodden Grace wrapped in a towel and flopped her on my lap. “Merry Christmas,” he said.
She and Abbie became friends immediately. Emma continued marauding through the house attacking us and my daughter’s Golden Retriever. But I was convinced that somewhere in her villainous heart lay a sweet and cuddly lap cat. Three cats was definitely more than two and we adapted with extra bowls and litter boxes. Never would there be more than three cats, we vowed.
Then my daughter found a kitten with its eyes barely open tangled in the netting of the pea fence in the garden. The mother was nowhere to be found. A quick order to Amazon brought kitten bottles and formula. Feedings were a family affair planned around work and meetings. “Baby” lived in the dog crate with a tiny litter box, which she mastered almost immediately. She was a beautiful tortoise shell and resemble a bobcat kitten when she was tiny. Of course, as she grew and was allowed out to explore the house, she made herself right at home. Baby became Cat No. 4 in our one cat household. She is without a doubt the most affectionate cat we have ever had. She stands and puts her paws on my knee to be picked up and falls asleep over my shoulder while I’m writing. Unfortunately she never acquired a name that stuck except Baby. She was a sweet bonus to the one cat house!
I can’t believe there will ever be five cats. The plan is, to help my husband’s allergies, to gradually decrease the number as the cats age. Dennie is afraid they will outlive him. But they are like children – which one could I do without? Emma has mellowed after a dash outside had her frolicking through the fields for weeks. I’m not sure what happened to her on her vacation but she returned subdued and humble – not a bad thing for Godzilla. Each cat has a distinct personality but they are all loved.
Grace asleep on my knee.