I like cats as much as I like dogs. For a few years in San Diego I was a crazy cat lady, known by the local Mexican kids as, ‘La bruja de los gatos.” It wasn’t exactly my choice to have ten+ cats. I wanted TWO cats. Soon after we bought the crack house we fixed up, the Good X and I went to Animal Control and picked out a little Siamese we named Chada and a beautiful Russian blue we named Fred.
We had NO idea what we’d actually done.
Chada was an aloof creature and Fred was gregarious. Once outside the door, he’d roam the neighborhood making friends and bringing them home. So here came Eddy, who looked just like Fred, and Jack Frost who looked just like Fred if Fred had been covered with frost. They all also brought their hunting trophies into the house — Chada was partial to alligator lizards and Fred was a bird hunting cat. Sadly, Chada (known fondly as Chowder Head) was hit by a car which seemed to have opened a cosmic door for Fred to bring home even more friends.
And then…my students, international students, would adopt a cat for the duration of their stay in the US and then guess what? I know, way too easy. That brought Mousch, a yellow tabby. Then a couple of students got kittens on a field trip (a very cute girl was giving them away) and that was Reggie and Nigel. THEN the husband of one of my colleagues left her and her daughter ran away; she held it together pretty good through THAT but when her cat had a litter she fell apart which brought Vyger. “I’ll take one, Suzanne, it will be OK. You’ll find homes for them.” THEN my neighbor’s husband was about to kill a tiny kitten in their garden and the neighbor called, “Martha! Come and help us! Chayo’s going to kill a kitten!” and THAT was an incredibly nice little torty I name Triffid. Not long before my vet’s office called and said they’d rescued a beautiful cat in an abandoned VW so THAT cat came to live with us, too. She was a cross-eyed Himalayan I named Catmandu. THEN another tortie showed up with long “whiskers” in her ears and slanted eyes and of course I had to name her Klingon. Then, a tiny little kitty came in my back door one evening when I was cooking supper. She was crying. I looked down and saw her little black and white being and thought she was a kitten, but no. She was a full-on adult cat of the mini-cat stripe. I named her Holstein (obviously)
I don’t even know if I’ve cataloged them all here. We kept all these cats vaccinated and had them all fixed. We bought cat carriers at the swap meet and when it was time for the vet, we loaded the cats into the back of a station wagon the Good-X had at the time and went to a mobile vet. It was a circus. Cats are fun, though. They are all different from each other, and interesting to watch and live with. Luckily for us it was San Diego, we had a verandah and lived on a quiet street and they could be inside/outside cats. Some were primarily outside and others were primarily inside. The last surviving cat was Triffid who died in his sleep in his favorite spot under the bird of paradise in front of the house.
There’s no such thing as a stray cat
‘Cause now they all live in my yard.
I rescued them from the weather,
And a life unbearably hard.
They came the night of the cookout,
When they smelled a barbecue.
That night we had decided
To broil a burger or two
The first one to come was dirty,
He was gray, he was shy, he was wild;
He was hungry enough to approach us
And eat from our plates like a child.
First we tossed him a bit of a burger
Which he ate with incredible zest,
Then we gave him some cat food,
He tucked it away like the best.
Now Eddy is just a glutton
Who eats everything in sight.
The next one was much more fussy
On that beautiful starlit night.
She was fierce-eyed and ragged,
She clearly had seen better days.
She was thin, she was weak, she was tired,
And her fur stuck out every which way.
Nowadays she’s a princess
With beautiful tortoise shell fur,
And every night when she’s eaten,
She sits on my chest and she purrs.
The last one to come we call Jack Frost
He’s gray but all covered with snow.
He’s staying, I’ve just come to realize
Because he has no place to go.
Yes, there is no such thing as a stray cat.
And I’m giving this warning to you;
No matter how you feel tempted,
If you hate cats then don’t barbecue.
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