Monday, November 03, 2014

THE CATS WHO LOVED ME

From early childhood to present day I've always been a cat lover.  And over the course of my life, I’ve owned a variety of breeds. Since 1994 Himalayans have most graciously allowed me the privilege of living in the house with them and feeding them. I often told people they ate better than I did because the cat food they consumed is Science Diet @ more than $30 per bag. If you aren't familiar with the breed, Himalayans have Siamese markings called “points” and like Siamese cats, they're highly intelligent, have a melodious voice and beautiful blue eyes, but they unlike a Siamese cat their bodies and fur were of a Persian cat.  A few characteristic I've always found to be fascinating with this breed is their love to pose and their need to act regal in all situations.   

This breed is not overly active, but they do like to play and be involved in whatever activity I'm doing. For example during my computer time, I always had company nestled around me in various spots. Draped on the tower when I owned a desktop computer, positioned on the stool next to my desk, strategically positioned on top of the printer and on the back of the sofa positioned behind where I sat, they all found a spot to best “help” me type.  Not only did they assist me at the computer, but they scrutinized all my activities and followed me from room to room. I had about a two minute window of time to return if I left before they'd seek me out where ever I was. If I went to the bathroom, they'd have to “bond” with me while I was in there. It was senseless for me to attempt having any privacy because they'd thump and cry at the door until I let them in. My bathroom time usually consists of grooming, petting and sweet talking them.  Too much togetherness just wasn't a concept any of them seemed to grasp. 

I first got involved with this breed in a breeder capacity. When my breeding days were over, I kept the mother and father along with two males from two different litters about a year apart from each other. My clan consisted of Dixie, a small tortie-point female, Beavis, a very large blue-point male and their two sons, Chewy, a large seal point male and Whitey (Dwight Cat), a beautiful flame point male who was a stereotypical "blonde" in every sense of the word.

Dixie was the resident schizophrenic who developed a strong dislike for her two sons who loved to aggravate her. When her space was invaded she lunged at the violator. The older she got the wider her personal space got.  It was comical to watch the males walk way out around her to avoid getting snapped at and/or bitten. Her "husband", Beavis was the only one she tolerated and allowed near her and although she appears to have a dislike for all other cats, she was always very affectionate towards humans and loved to talk to everyone and tell them about the horrible males she had to live with.  That sounds like a typical female to me! 

Beavis was a gentle giant with the softest little voice I’ve ever heard, yet his purr sounded like a loud motor boat. Beavis didn't need to be petted to purr. Sometimes merely looking at him or talking to him would trigger it. One of the funniest things Beavis would do is growl like a dog when someone would knock on the door or ring the doorbell.  He was definitely the Alpha male and at the very top of the pecking order in all feline matters.  He had a very gentle, loving demeanor, but about once a month he kicked ass to make sure everyone knew who was the boss!  What usually started out as him giving them a bath turned into a kitty wrestling match.  As soon as they'd tap out and show submission all would go back to normal until next time.  It was hilarious to watch 3 large tom cats give each other baths and no matter how old they got, Whitey remained the baby of the family and was treated as such by his entire family...humans included. 

Chewy (named after Chewbacca from Star Wars) reminded me of an Ewok not a Wookie when he was a kitten.  It didn't take him long to train me to his liking and he deemed himself “my cat”.  That position was his until the day he died from cancer.  He knew exactly how to get his point across and as long as I complied everything was all sunshine and rainbows. His loud voice freakishly resembled Chewbacca's voice. He did tricks like a dog and “flopped” on command.  Flopping consisted of falling over and landing with his head on my foot. The maneuver took skill and grace and was funny to watch.  Chewy never learned to purr until he was around 7 and when he finally did learn it was in an erratic, unnatural pattern.   It was something he never got the hang of doing, but that was okay because he after all was Chewy.

Whitey was the baby of the family and the cat Chewy picked out to keep. When Whitey was just a small kitten Chewy kept separating him from the other kittens as the time grew near to sell them.  He tended to Whitey like a mother cat would and never stopped mothering him even when he became an adult cat. Instead of selling Whitey, I kept him because that's what Chewy wanted and Chewy always got everything he wanted.  Whitey was very vocal from an early age and has a wide range of cries and noises he made. His most memorable sound sounded like he was saying “momma”.  This was cute except at 2 am when he got on a rant and would tear through the house running upstairs and downstairs crying for “momma”. Whitey also loved to be “spanked” and talked while he received a spanking.  His favorite "spank me, baby" tool was the back scratcher I keep on my desk.  I would gently spank him and he would tell me all about it with such fervor.

Last night, Whitey passed away at the age of 18.  His mother, father and brother who had died several years ago had been cremated and their ashes had been stored in my closet until they were all buried together early this morning.  Yes, I'm sad, but feel blessed because they filled my life with such love and joy for so many years.  They are and always shall be the cats who loved me.