You Know What It’s Like With Co-Workers

…. 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:

cats 006

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.

26 thoughts on “You Know What It’s Like With Co-Workers

  1. Ashbutt McDieselthroat (aka Floof) has decided that if we’re not actively typing, then we are clearly wanting 17 pounds of purr to snuggle.

    …and if we are actively typing, then he needs to politely request we stop via paw on thigh right before he launches into our arms for snuggles (because who’d deny snuggles?)

    Even if I take refuge on the treadmill desk, I get someone standing up on the window ledge and balancing on my hip with his front paws, looking up at me and squeaking. After all, I’m typing – this means I should be sitting and snuggling, instead!

    1. My dog is firmly of the opinion that any hand being used to type is not being used to pet the dog, and what’s the point of a hand that isn’t being used to pet the dog?

      Plus, he just got back from his first stay in the kennels, so he’s feeling extra needy right now. He’s got that look like, “Could you humans each grow a third hand? I think that would give me something closer to the pets I require.”

  2. As I posted elsewhere, we lost Snowflake Monday from diabetis and renal failure. My wife was busy so it fell to me to take her to the vet. I suppose it was my duty, she’d always been my cat. Snowflake and Amber, her mother, were rescue cats. Their predecessors, Willow and Chickory, were grarage sale cats. The family had two small (under the age of four) children who terrorized the cats. IIRC, we bought them for $10. Willow, a tuxedo, never allowed our grandkids to get close. In fact she hissed at everyone except for us and our daughter. Chickory hid whenever anyone visited.

    Neither were lapcats, but Chickory, eventually, would sit next to us and let us pet him. Before these two, we had Morris, a gray Maine Coon that we ‘inherited’ when my wife’s company went toes up. Morris was the office cat.

    At the moment, we’re catless. However, this afternoon, we’ll visit some rescue sites and see if any cats, we’re looking for a pair, like us.

  3. *sympathy* Wish we could do playdates for our idiots. Assuming they didn’t just freak out to see another cat. (Well, SquirrelCat would try to bully him, but it sounds like Havey would kinda ignore it. That’s what the big boys do, too.)

  4. > In minutes he’ll realize how lonely he is, and jump on my lap again, and lick my hands as I type.

    Try one of those baby slings, or a shawl, or even a small tablecloth. Sling him across your front so he is with you and has contact.

    Well, it worked with puppies…

  5. My gift-from-God, happily-ever-after trophy wife Vanessa, the elegant, foxy, praying black grandmother of Woodstock, GA, had NEVER, EVER had pets of any sort when we wed. And Sugar Belly, our rescue cat, made it known to Vanessa that Papa was HER property, and no interlopers were needed. She maintained that attitude for about six months, until we provided a temporary home for a poodle puppy, an undisciplined fur-ball. After Chewbacca left for his permanent home, Sugar Belly decided she LOVED Vanessa; and, she also LOVED everybody else who was a human.
    And Vanessa reciprocated; to the point that it was truly a sad house, when Sugar Belly crossed the Rainbow Bridge two years ago this month. I couldn’t stand it, and after three months, I picked up two rescues on consecutive days: PittySing, a tortoise shell, from the pound; Daniel-San, wearing a regal gray tuxedo and white shoes. She fell for them immediately, and they for her. It embarrasses her when I point out that she is talking to the cats as if they will actually MIND her, this time; but, if she couldn’t fuss at THEM, she might fuss at ME. I believe this is a perfect symbiotic relationship.
    She told me that black people don’t have pets. Well, it’s good to have new experiences, isn’t it? The synthesis of feline and human cultures has had it’s moments of high energy, but it’s just so lovely to see PittySing sitting on the table with Vanessa doing her morning devotions, and to hear Daniel-San DEMANDING to be let into our bedroom RIGHT NOW because closed doors are an AFFRONT! The three months between Sugar Belly passing in August 2018, and PittySing and Daniel-San moving in with us January of 2019 : that’s my only feline-free time since Easter of 1976, right after I got out of the Army.
    And, Lord grant, my last feline-free time until it’s my turn to cross the bridge.

    1. well, for years now I’ve had a dream of the “last cat”. He’s a marmalade boy who looks a lot like Pixie, and we discover him behind or under a dumpster, depending on the dream.
      If that comes true…. Havey gets a friend. But honestly, I’d prefer to wait till Valeria crosses the bridge. She hates all cats and is aggressive and I’m afraid for the safety of a little one around her.

    2. God willing, I won’t have another cat this side of Heaven, but I do enjoy living vicariously through all of your stories. I’m sorry for your losses, but you know this is the best of a bad business. If you passed first, they’d never understand why you left them.

  6. My little workspace it’s down in the basement, where a tight turn in the stairs protects me from having a St. Bernard rest his drooling head in my lap while I’m trying to accomplish something.
    The downside, is that it gives the cat uncontested dominion of the space.
    It’s not the I terribly mind her snuggling up and seeking affection.
    It’s that she gets mortally offended if you’re not looking at her while petting her.
    And she makes her displeasure known with her teeth. (She doesn’t break skin, but does it hard enough to hurt quite a bit.)

  7. Give it time; you don’t have to make a decision today. It sounds as if you, like us, have a household that attracts cats. Another one just may enter your life when the time is right.

    Alternatively… some circumstances help to speed up the decision. We were without cat for a couple of years after our ruling animal died, the Great One who had been dumped in the country and kept trying to move into an acquaintance’s stable until she brought him to us and he took over the management of the family… I couldn’t bear to think about replacing him… then a family of mice moved in between the dining room and kitchen walls and suddenly I was entirely ok with acquiring another cat.

  8. We are down to one cat now. Max doesn’t like other cats and is happiest as an only cat. Since we’ve been together this is the fewest cats we’ve ever had. We started with three, got up to five at one point, settled at three, and now down to one. I don’t think we’ll acquire any more until after the upcoming move. We already drove across country with three cats…I’m not really eager to do that again. One will be enough.

  9. Athena cat just got carted off for her monthly spa visit (the cat wash). She’s 17 years old, cranky, calico, and seems to be starting to “wind down.” Although she gets the late-summer blahs almost every year, so that might mean anything. She has plenty of energy when she wants something, and even more when she doesn’t want something (like . . . going to the cat wash!)

  10. Sara the Lab-Aussie is getting near 16, and was clobbered by seizures. This made for some changes; we kept her in a crate overnight since she was a puppy, but now she was rearranging her bedding constantly. So, now she has the run of the bedroom at night. We don’t know how long she has; she’s currently free from pain (AFAIK), but is having difficulty eating. I made a kibble-crusher years ago for our Mary, the late Italian Greyhound. It’s back in service. Angie, the Border Collie doesn’t quite understand, but has a clue…

    We’re just finishing up the nighttime bedroom training. It’s OK to lick once or twice as the humans get to bed, but continued licking gets a half-asleep hand making swatting motions. She now has much more space to move the crate bedding. Not sure why the mini-blanket wound up 5 feet away, but it’s interesting.

  11. Today, I was working on my Advance Directive. There is a place where you can express any special-instructions-not-covered-earlier, such as your preferences regarding administration of pain meds.
    Here’s what I wrote:
    “If I have pets at the time of entering the end stage, I want to have them visit me as often and as long as possible, regardless on any risk to MY body. If my body could spread disease, then that might not be possible.
    If I DON’T have a pet, then get me a puppy OR an old dog, IF a home is provided for him/her after I pass.”

    Just offered as information, not advice. But, you may wish to consider it. My late brother-in-law got a secret sneak visit during his last hospitalization from his dear friend Simon the Siamese. Simon did NOT like being inside the gym bag for the trip from the car to the hospital bed. But, it was GREAT for Bob!

  12. >> “So we broke into the house, stole the kittens”

    Now I’m imagining you and Dan in spy catsuits, breaking-and-entering to the tune of the Mission Impossible theme.

    But seriously, I have to admit I never saw you as the type.

      1. Still not comfortable with home invasion and theft, but I admit that saving lives is about as good an excuse as one could ask for.

        I’m guessing you tried to explain the problem and the guy just wouldn’t listen?

        1. The two idiots didn’t listen, yeah.
          We closed the porch back up after taking the cats and we left them a note saying “Come get them if you want them.”
          They just laughed about it.

          1. Huh. If they were that dismissive about it, couldn’t they have just given you the kittens for the asking?

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