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Crazy Cat People

It has been another long and miserable day ferrying scrap metal and hazardous materials across the state and I am tired. I don't complain much, as it still it beats driving over the road because I am home every night. I activate the remote for the garage and slow the Harley down so I don't have to come to a dead stop to wait for the door to open. The absence of my wife's car reminds me that she is attending an out of state conference so I am alone one would think.

I have just settled into the kitchen chair to remove my boots when the greetings from those left behind commence. Six distinctly different voices issuing their own versions of greetings trot into the room. Six differently coloured tails standing straight up indicating happiness accompany these voices. Our cats are coming in to greet me.

The heads of all are rubbed as they bump into my leg, which is a sign of affection, as they circle the chair. The youngest members jump into my lap to stand on my thighs as they rub their faces against mine and I endure the sandpaper-like tongues licking my cheeks and forehead that usually follows. These are more symbols of affection.

The older members of the group are content to either sit on the floor and wait to be petted or stand on their hind legs and rest their front paws on my legs.

My hand is also rubbed. licked and bitten as they stare at me with large round eyes and purr. Cats give love bites as a form of affection and, despite the sharpness of their fangs, it never amounts to anything more than a pinch.

Their backs are stroked and each one is addressed by their given names. The greetings last about ten minutes before they leave the kitchen to return to their prefered resting spots. Yes, my wife and I are one of the crazy cat couples out there in the world and these are my charges.

There are six now, there used to be more. Two adoptions and the rest were rescues. Some were found abandoned out of doors and near starvation, two of them were less than 24 hours old and still had their umbilical cords when they were found in a plastic box and brought to us. We took them in, fed them with a small syringe and gave them a warm place to sleep and medical attention.

We find the ones that really need rescuing or they find us. One was found in our driveway on a cold and rainy December. Some unseen force had directed him to our house, as it knew he would be loved and cared for. Older cats and black cats, which are the hardest to place, have found a home with us and all lived to ripe old ages until they passed on. Each and every day they thanked us in their own way for rescuing them.

I laugh every time I hear someone say that cats are aloof and don't show affection or miss you when you're not there. It's true that they don't always come when called even if they are a few feet away and they don't do tricks or shake paws on command, but that's what makes them special.

I don my lounging clothes and take a seat on the couch and switch on the television. Two of the oldest members of the community jump up and join me. One perches on the arm while the other one lays at my side. The rest of the brood make themselves comfortable in the cat beds or on one of the levels of the cat tree.

All is quiet until it's their feeding time. How they know it I cannot explain, but they know. The younger ones saunter into the kitchen while the older ones sit and stare at me as if willing me to get up. Cans are opened and the food is portioned out and each one falls to them like they were starved. I replenish the water bowls and the large bowl of dry food before I return to the couch.

One by one they return to the living room and commence to take a bath. Years later I am still amazed as I watch them clean themselves. I extol the benefits of owning a cat whenever I can, especially to my friends who are dog owners.

"Leave your puppy alone for the weekend inside and see what you come home to," is my common response. 

Soon bedtime has arrived. I make my way to the upstairs area, a large master bedroom complete with its own bathroom, where I don my sleepwear and slide between the sheets. The cats take advantage of my wife's absence and one of the older and larger cats plops down on her pillow.

One of the younger one plants herself on my nightstand, which is her spot, and the others respect her space. The others position themselves on the bed in various places as I lay on my right side. Then the purring starts and I concentrate on the deep soothing sound. One of the other teenage cats jumps up and places her back against my chest and adds another purr to the others.

Being so close I can feel her body heat and the gentle rumble of the purr and I am asleep in no time.

Yes, I am a crazy cat person and I'll be one until I die.



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