Sunday, February 01, 2009

To All the Cats I've Loved Before...

You know how there was that email floating around a while back explaining how to find your stripper name by taking the name of your childhood pet as your first name, and the name of the street you grew up on as your last name? So my stripper name would be: Buttons Buchanan. I like it. It has alliteration. And Buttons is a damn adorable name.

I actually had very few pets growing up. I have a vague memory of a fish. And then there was Buttons. I got him when I was six. A cute little black and white kitty. However, I wasn't taking care of him, and one day I came home and was told that my parents took him to a farm. He was my first heartbreak.

Then came Dustin and Sunny 10 years later. My cousin had two cats, but got a job that involved a lot of travelling. So she gave me her cats. Dustin was black and super fluffy. If you patted your chest, he would jump from the ground up into your arms so you could cradle him like a baby.
Sunny was a snobby white cat who could stand to lost a few pounds. My brother would chase her around the house to give her some exercise. (This is funnier to picture when you realize that my brother was 28 at the time).

However, Dustin and Sunny missed my cousin. They started peeing. Everywhere. My Dad finally had enough and one day I came home from school to find that these pets were gone too.

Then my Dad got re-married. I moved in with a cat named Casey at age 18. She had no tail - some sort of accident had happened before I ever met her. Her and I got along great. My stepsisters moved out, and she adopted me. One year my Dad and Stepmom went to Europe and I noticed that Casey didn't smell very good. And she got sick on my parent's bed. I called and told my step-sister's about it.

And again, I came home to a house void of cat. My stepsisters had taken her to the vet and had her put down. (As an amusing aside, they told me to avoid the parents' call ht next day- they didn't want to me to tell them while they were away. But they figured it out when I didn't answer the phone. They got a hold of one of my step sisters and she immediately confessed).

But then my heart shut down for a while. My parents got a new cat. We had a very democratic process for the naming of this new little grey furball. We all got votes and though I preferred "Czarina" my second choice of "Ember" won out. But I simply didn't really care. Ember was very sweet, but I was tired of having my heart broken.

I moved out and decided that was the end of my cat career. Until I realized that I couldn't control the actions of my roommates. My first roommate brought "Puddy" into my life. Puddy clawed my chair and couch.

My next roommate brought in another cat whose name is completely escaping me. But that cat scratched up my chair even more.

Then I agreed to cat-sit for a good friend. Enter Jacques and Jasmine.
They each had very distinct personalities. Jasmine was aloof and not terribly bright.
Jacques? Well he was a demon cat. I'd never actually heard a cat growl before or since. I was concerned that I had made a mistake agreeing to take this project on for the summer. But I realized that I couldn't live in fear in my own home. So I laid down the law with Jacques and eventually won him over.

My friend came back from her trip to Australia and found that she needed a place to stay so I agreed to let her live with me. We go on remarkably well. And the cats? Well they were fine in the beginning. Until they began to break things. Le sigh. And then they peed on this massive pillow I had that was as big as a mattress. You could actually use it as a guest bed for someone. There was no getting that smell out. I called my friend at work. She was welcome to stay, but the cats had to go. Not surprisingly, she went with them.

And that was it. I was done. Cats had clawed my furniture. Peed on pillows. Swatted things off shelves and shattered them and broken my heart more times than I could count.

When I had a roommate last summer, I threatened to throw him out in the street if he dared bring a cat into my condo.

But every once in a while I feel a little twinge. Maybe it would be nice to cuddle up with a little furball at night. Maybe it would conquer the occasional twinges of loneliness. It's not like owning a dog, I wouldn't have to rush home after work everyday with a cat.

Maybe. But not yet. I really don't want to be known as the crazy single cat lady. Yet. I want to wait a few years until I can really appreciate and revel in that title.



MissE said...

I get where you're coming from with the heartbreak, princess.

When I was born all those 34 years ago, it was into a family of three - Mum, Dad, and Peter the black'n'white part Persian. He hated kids but he let me do anything to him. Seriously, we used to have to warn our neighbours everytime we moved that they needed to keep their kids insides for a coupe of hours coz Peter was getting let out for the the first time in the new house... but that same cat would let me stuff him in my doll's pram and wheel him around the house. It broke my Mum's heart when he had to be put down at age 12. She declared we were never having another pet.

Four years later and a mouse plague in the latest place we were living introduced Cricket to the family. She was a dumped kitten that we adopted from the vets. She was insane. She used to chase my little sister around the house, and pounce out at both of us from around corners. She tolerated us. And adored my Dad. She made it to 16 before Mum and Dad had to have her put down.

I'd moved out 7 years earlier and that brought me Tully and Bart. Little grey balls of fuzz. I got these two coz I thought they would be company for each other when I was at work. Not so much. 9 months in and Bart went to live with my sister. So for 8 and a half years it was me and Tully. And then he got sick. And I had to have him put to sleep. And it shattered my heart. I still get choked up about it. I went three days without a cat in my house and then I went to the cattery where I'd put Bart (I'd been long term babysitting him for my overseas travelling sister and thought that his presence was what was making Tully sick) and took Bart home. He's still here. And his "grandparents" dote on him something ridiculous.

I can't not have a cat. But then I haven't had quite the same cat journey you have.

Hmmmm - sorry to waffle.

Shana-Marie said...

Pets never seemed to last in our home. We always had one or another it seemed though. In all my years, I think I've had something like 18 different cats, 7 different dogs, 4 rabbits and 3 birds. Not all at once ofcourse.

Never though, did we have a pet long enough that I could really get attached to it. I wonder though, what I'll feel when my big cat finaly goes. He's been around for 11 years now...

Lulu LaBonne said...

I've always loved the idea of pets but baulked at the idea of a) the responsibility and b) damage to house.

My previous answer was to only to own animals I was planning to eat (pigs, hens) I currently have cats that live outdoors and pretty much take care of themselves - they won't curl up on my lap though.

Jen said...

You're talking to the gal who owns 4 dogs and 2 Bengal cats. . . I'm of no help here. I'd say "do it! Go get yourself another fuzzy furball!" But I won't. Even if I want to!

It's heartbreaking & I do not look forward to the day that any one of my animals won't be here on this earth with me. . . . I'm pretty sure I will shut down for a bit.

the frog princess said...

Hey, I got my first cat at age 6 and her name was Buttons too!! She was a calico and ever since then I've always had a weakness for them. So pretty!

The dynasty of cats that have come and gone through my life is epic, to say the least (when I got Buttons, she joined the 2 cats we already had). They all find ways to break your heart, but in the end, I think it's entirely worth it.

My current kitty, Gracie, has been with me for 14 years, and while she's completely insane, has ruined several mattresses by peeing on them and as such is no longer allowed in my bedroom, and absolutely insists on clawing the legs of my dining room table... I will be very, very sad when she leaves me. She's my baby.

To me, a home is incomplete without a cat. I think I'll always feel that way.

Princess of the Universe said...

MissE: cats definitely play favourites, Jacques was a demon with everyone else, but loved me, like your Peter. Moody little creatures...

Shana- I think my problem is that as an adult, I've never really had a cat that was all mine...

LuLu- thanks for stopping by! Do the hens curl up in your lap??

Jen- maybe...will you come over and help?

Froggy- weird coincidence! Although I suspect Buttons is a pretty common name. I like Gracie too...

Anonymous said...

you are welcome to take mickey home with you... If not your always welcome to come over for kitty love...
As you know I have had alot of cats in my life, none that have ruined furniture, nor have I had a cat that pissed on my stuff. Puke yes, piss no..
My cat Newt is what keeps me sane!
YDA- nick

Princess in Galoshes said...

For what it's worth, I always had adopted cats growing up. Cats who were either strays who wandered up and claimed our garage as home, or cats we adopted from the shelter. It was a mixed bag, some were awesome, some were crazy and wild.

When I finally moved out on my own, I got my two purebreds. It's terrible that I didn't adopt from a shelter, I know I know, blah blah blah. BUT. With the purebreds, you get some good odds on temperment, energy levels, and grooming habits. For example, I have yet to meet a purebred who pees anywhere besides the litterbox. (I'm sure there's always an exception to the rule, but the odds are much less with a shelter rescue.)

If you can afford it, I really suggest doing a little research and finding a breed that'd be compatible with your lifestyle. It's one of the best decisions I've ever made.

Becky said...

There's something so sad about the loss of a cat (or other animal), then there are the ones that drive you crazy.

And haha about your crazy cat comment. You're too gorgeous for that to happen:)

Valley Girl said...

OMG that stripper name thing is such a funny coincidence--my boyfriend and I were talking about it the other day in the car and cracking up!

Alice said...

I used to love cats also....but once I had children...they had to more cats for me

delmer said...

Just after I got married we rescued two cats from the animal shelter -- Betty and Evelyn.

Betty ran off not too long after we moved to the country. Evelyn eventually used our garage as a portal to the afterlife.

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