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Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Cat Blog Reaches 2,000 posts!

When I started the cat blog in August 2006, the few cat blogs I knew of were "old".  As in, they had been blogging for a couple of years while I read in admiration.  Well, after I retired in 2006, I saw a button on one cat blog that said "Click here to start a blog for free". 

I clicked...

I didn't know how to write from my cats' point of view.  At first, the fence was a wall, the glass deck door was a wall, the inside doors were walls, and the walls were walls.  They weren't sure what to call the house, etc.  I ended up "The Big Thing" only because I figured the cats weren't really sure what I was, but that I was BIG by comparison to them.

They slowly learned about the house and yard, but they never changed my name.  That's OK, I always HAVE been "The Big Thing" to all the cats.  It fits OK.  I never quite felt like "Dad" to them.  Its fine for other cats to have Mom or Dad, but I never thought that MINE thought I was their Dad. 

I expect I am a bit of a mystery to them. A large rather clumsy stompy creature who has no furs worth mentioning, but who has nearly magical powers over food and litterboxes and doors to the outside.

I would love to know what they REALLY think (because they surely DO think).  I don't mean they think like you and I do.  There are things they will never quite be aware of, like their own mortality. 

I am sometimes far too aware of theirs.  Skeeter and LC started the blog, and it really didn't occur to me that they would die.  Or at least, soon.  I knew they were mortal, of course, but they were so healthy when I started the blog, it seemed they would be around a long time.

Skeeter died just over 2 years into blogging.  It was a shock thinking back just the 2 years, but not when it happened.  I knew he was dying for months.  The vet told me he would be fine until he started to fall over.  When he did, it was the saddest day of my life.

LC followed him in only 13 months.  She was fine one night, and dead the next morning.  The vet said it was a massive infection.  I saw no signs of it. 

LC was Skeeter's cat.  Skeeter was mine.  I have never had a "bad" cat, but Skeeter was special.  He is my heart cat and always will be.  I miss LC.  She was the quiet kind of cat.  Have you ever seen "The Man Who Planted Trees"?  There was a dog there.  Never fawning, friendly, always quiet in dignity.  That was LC.  She was never a lap cat, but in her last couple of days, she came up on my lap and napped there.  Maybe she knew, maybe she didn't, but those were precious memories afterwards.

I have never been one to stay without cats.  I don't mean, of course, that I want any to leave, but I have space in my live for several and there are so many needing space.  I got Ayla shortly after Skeeter died...

All cats are good, but I had always wanted a female siamese and they are not available on most streetcorners.  I looked up breeders and made a ridiculous offer.  A ridiculous situation occurred.  A breeder had a female too small to breed.  I got Ayla for $100 because she wasn't good for breeding.  But she was perfect for me.

The cost is meaningless.  You spend more just in initial exams and shots.  I don't actually pay any attention to initial cost anymore.  Ayla was a joy.  Except she kept going into heat after bein spayed (by the breeders vet). Once, then twice... For 2 years.  Finally, she got an infection and MY vet found she had ladygarden parts still in there.  Since then, she has been a wonderful kitty.

Iza came after Ayla and right after LC.  Ayla couldn't be alone.  Iza was sold as a registered siamese, but she is really a Tonkinese with siamese colors.  Its obvious now that I've learned about Tonks.  Iza is the stereotypical Tonk.  Heavy-bodied, short-tailed, broad-chested, smudgy siamese colors, but also amazingly loyal, affectionate, and hard-playful.  You should SEE her dedication to attacking toy mice!

But Ayla and Iza slowly got annoyed with each other.  Not fights, but little hissy-fits, and the house was not RIGHT!  I needed a cure.

It seems silly to say that because Skeeter was a calmer-down cat and he was an orange/white male cat, that another one would be the same.  But I looked for one anyway.  Everyone I found at cat shelters came in pairs (ONLY after I liked one of them).  After that happened the third time, I ignored the shelters.  I felt sorry for the cats, but what I DIDN'T want was 2 attached to each other.  I needed one cat.

I found the one orange/white male cat with help from blog friends.   He was promised to a family, but I convinced the owner I was the best place.  When I went to pick him up, he was staring at me from the stairs.  I sat down on the floor and folded my legs up, he came right down and settled on my lap. 

I chose him somewhat, but HE really chose ME!  The Lady was surprised, but I wasn't.  I knew the moment I saw him, that he belonged with me.  He was so perfect that I didn't even change his name!  And coming from years of thinking hard about the right names for cats, that means something.  He was indeed "Marley".  He had the right name the moment I met him.

Ayla and Iza were named for characters in 'Clan of the Cave Bear" books, and I expected to name a male cat "Creb".  But Marley was "Marley".  Maybe there will be a Creb or Jondalar in the future, but not now.  Marley is Marley, its in his genes.

And Marley has accepted the role I hoped for.  He immediately came between Ayla and Iza in a calm laid-back way and the hissy-fits stopped immediately. 

Its hard sometimes not to call him Skeeter.  I forget.  But when I do, I make sure to hold him and say Marley, Marley, Marley.  I mostly remember, of course, but no one is perfect.  Interestingly, that has only happened since Dad moved in.  The last time Dad was here, Skeeter was here.  And Dad makes me think of previous times.  So at night, when Marley crawls onto the bed to nap in the early morning hours (where he sleeps in the other hours is a mystery - when I've gone looking, he just shows up awake and walking) I just keep saying "Marley, Marley, Marley" and he purrs lovingly in my arms or feet.

There will come a day when Marley goes over the Bridge.  Probably 13, 14 years from now, but there WILL come that day.  I wonder what Skeeter and Marley will say about me between themselves?  Taht I couldn't tell them apart?  Or that I thought they were BOTH the best cats ever and they were so alike that I loved them both the same at the end?

I don't know now.  Ayla, Iza, and Marley are ALL wonderful cats in their own special ways.  Ayla is sweet like a sugarplum.  Marley is kindest most tolerant cat I've ever known.  Iza is so ME-oriented it is amazing.

I loved Ralph, Sport, Ballou, Mischief, and Tinkerbelle before these.  Am I just forgetting how much I loved them in favor of the current ones as the years have gone by?  If I could have Ballou back again for a week, would I think, wow, "she's the best"?

I'll never know.  I just wish I could have ALL of them back again.  No contest, no favorites. All those old grey tabbies against all the newer fancier cats.  But I DO know I would like them all back on my lap again in turns so that I could tell each one again how much I loved them.  And how much they enriched my life...


Punapippuri said...

What an incredibly moving post. I feel it is a privilege to read your blog as you are so open and honest. You have a huge heart and there's room for all cats there, even if some are deeper inside than others.


Mariodacatsmom said...

What a great post. As I reflect back on the animals we have had (4 cats and a dog in 50 years), each one was very special in their own way and we loved all of them. You are a very kind person.

Ramblingon said...

Your post touched me deeply. I feel the same way about my cats through the years. I would like to dedicate one of my own human blog posts to them but no one would want to read it among the human readers. Well, maybe 3 or 4.

You were made to be TBT to your brood.

Ramblingon said...

Oh and I am Katie Isabella's mom, by the way.

Katnip Lounge said...

Best love letter ever. And I feel the same way about my crew.

Thumper said...

I think if Marley could understand, he'd be ok with being called Skeeter every now and surprises me, sometimes, when I call Buddah by the nickname I had for Hank, our dog long gone. I don't think Buddah would mind if he knew. It all comes from the heart, anyway.

The Cat From Hell said...

I understand so well. I can not imagine my life without a cat! I too wish all my cats could be back! I wonder how they talk about me over the bridge!
Nellie's Mom

Tina T-P said...

What a sweet story and concatulations on your 2000th post! T.

Shaggy and Scout said...

Dang it Mark, you made me cry!
What a lovely, sensitive touching post! Each and every critter that comes into our lives, for a long time or not so long time) is so special and precious. Each one their own unique personality, each one loved so very very much.

Ok. I blew my nose & wiped my eyes.....thanks to you I've been singing the banana-fanna song in my head to every person's name that I meet this week, even as I mowed the lawn, even as I woke up this morning, while reading the paper! Did you see my comment about the boys on the hockey bus? Today I saw the name that got shouted out after the team went through all 25 kids names, 3 coach names & whatever brother, sister & parent names they knew......when they ran out of names one would invariably shout out "Chuck" and a parent would yell "No!" but they'd sing it anyway. Extra loud because they were 10 years old!!!! Thanks for a fun week!

Mariodacatsmom said...

Remembering can be bittersweet. We've had a total of 4 cats and 1 dog. Each was wonderful in his/her own right., Mario tho takes the prize as his disposition is so wonderful. He's a very laid back cat, in fact down right lazy. But he is such a sweetie.

Megan said...

I miss my heart cat on an hourly basis 7 years after he died suddenly at a young age. But I am very appreciative of the opportunity of having had him in my life, and of feeling the depth of the bond with him.

Sydney, Australia