…. Always getting between you and your work.
The picture above is Havey Cat. He’s on my knees, standing in front of the monitor and driving me insane.
For some years now, we’ve intended to let the current batch of cats, acquired about 20 years ago and known as “the new firm” (As opposed to the batch we started with in 88, aka “the old firm”) pass down through the normal process of age and death, until we were down to one, maybe two.
Mostly because having five cats is a form of insanity and you never know who created that weird smell in the guest room. And when the vet asks “How is he eating” all you can do is wave your hands because SOMEONE is eating, but you don’t know who.
We started with ONE cat, whom husband rescued and brought home. Petronius the Arbiter, cat from Hades (“He’s Pete, because I’m Dan) was a personality. Also trouble on all four paws. But unknown to Dan I’d already agreed to bring home two kittens, who arrived two weeks after Pete (whom they couldn’t stand.) These were the marmelade twins, Pixie and Randy. Pixie (really Pixel) was Best Cat Ever. Randy had autoimmune issues that drove him insane and eventually killed him.
And we thought “Three cats is maybe too much.” But then someone at church was abusing a newborn litter by taking them away from mom and feeding them adult food (Stupid too, apparently they didn’t realize that meant mom would go back into heat.) So we broke into the house, stole the kittens, found homes for… well, all of them, only by the time they were ten weeks old and thriving, Dan had bonded with two, DT and Zebbie.
Zebbie disappeared 3 years later, while we were renting in South Carolina and they were (temporarily) outdoor cats. DT died 6 years ago, of jaw cancer, the last of the Old Firm to leave us.
By the time she died, we’d acquired 4 of the new firm: Miranda, the only cat we ever paid for.
Euclid, the black one in this:
D’Artagnan is the other one, the cow-cat in that picture. AKA (long story) grandcat.
And Havey, whom we found covered in grease and getting hit with sticks at our favorite mini-golf course (behind a Vietnamese restaurant. Which led older son to want to call him Chat Mein. Which was vetoed.) Picture of how wretched the critter was when we found him:
Euclid, btw, we got because he was going to be euthanized at the humane society for the crime of having kennel cough (he left us early this year.) D’Artagnan came sauntering in, in the middle of a snow storm, at 8 weeks of age, wandered over to the food, bomped heads with the older cats (Pixel and DT) like they were old friends, and made himself at home.
As far as we can tell he was feral and a brother of Greebo, who was already kind of our cat when DT died, only sort of sideways as he was the son of a feral and we THOUGHT he didn’t want to come in. I fed him in the mud room, and on nice days would sit on the stoop and pet him. This was him, earl this year:
D’Artagnan moved away with older son. When older son first moved away, D’Artagnan sat in front of his room and cried. So first weekend son came home for, we had D. in a carrier and said “he’s yours.”
He’s now living with son and son’s wife in another state. And, sigh, slowly dying of renal failure. But then he’s 15 or 16 or something like that.
Euclid was completely demented and we finally gave up, early this year. Oh, yes, Miranda died about 4 years ago, of stomach cancer. The first of the new firm to go.
Greebo died unexpectedly three weeks ago. Also stomach cancer.
This leaves us with Havelock Vetinari, aka Havey. And Valeria Victrix, the twice-loved cat. Valeria (looks like Greebo without the white) was a kitten I took as a rescue at 2 weeks old with a massive eye infection (the kitten, not me.)
The vet said I’d never rear her, but she thrived and by 8 weeks was eating food and using my desk as a play pen.
Alas we chose an adopter poorly. More growl inducing, the idiot never bonded with her or liked her, but didn’t return her — even though he knew we only gave her away reluctantly, since my husband loved her — for nine years. Until he found himself in financial difficulties and DUMPED her on us. Took us a year just to gentle her to liking us and now she seems to remember she loved Dan but is afraid of everyone else, and still runs and hides when we walk near her.
BUT the worst problem? She hates other cats. She truly hated Greebo, but she even hisses/bats at Havey who, frankly, loves every cat ever.
When we planned on reducing the fuzzy population to two by normal aging, we didn’t count on two things:
a) that we don’t even want to consider adopting more. Miranda was really hard to lose, but Greebo’s death is something I might never recover from. No, I can’t explain it. But it hurts to even think of a new kitten. Hell, I’m not ready for when Havey goes either.
b) Havey LOVES other cats and all his friends are dead. The remaining cat in the house is unfriendly at best, aggressive at worst.
So my poor fuzzy white and grey boy with the squeaky voice is lonely. And because I can’t even CONTEMPLATE getting him a kitten to fuss over, he’s become velcro.
I’ve convinced him to sit on the spare chair by the editing desk. But it won’t last.
In minutes he’ll realize how lonely he is, and jump on my lap again, and lick my hands as I type.
Which is okay, really…. But not conducive to fast work.