My family takes in strays. Sometimes we take in people who need a little help. On more than one occasion my children have had friends stay with us on an extended basis while they worked out problems with their parents.
Quite often these strays are the four-legged kind, and we’ve had a menagerie of pets come through our home over the years on a short or long term basis to add to the chaos of a household full of children. Our latest obsession is cats.
When we moved here, we had two; Zippy, my son’s old cat, and Noah, the girls’ schizo tom. Then the girls wanted to take in a tree frog and we had to convince them that the tree frog would not be happy in captivity, and would not live long enough to be worth the hefty investment in terrarium and equipment we would have to purchase to accommodate its needs, not to mention its food. To placate their desire for a new pet, we agreed to check out the cats listed on the animal rescue league’s website.
That’s where we got our first glimpse of Domino, and one look at the mischief in his eyes and we knew he’d fit right in to our crazy household. I made a 150 mile round trip trek to go pick him up from the neighboring city where he’d been rescued. He instantly became my cat.
About a year and a half ago, I went next door to purchase some Avon from my neighbor. She had just rescued two kittens off a neighbor’s land where people had a bad habit of dumping unwanted animals. Of the two, the grey tabby was sickly and needed to see the vet, and my neighbor didn’t have the funds. She offered the kitten to me, and rather than see the poor thing die, I adopted it and nursed it back to health. Now, Pipsqueak has outgrown her name and is the fattest cat in the house.
Shortly after that, my husband called me from his job as a courier to tell me he had a problem. A stray kitten had wandered into work that morning and the other couriers were being mean to it. He’d taken it out to the building next door, which put out food for the neighborhood strays, but she didn’t stay there. She kept coming back into his building. He’d decided that if the cat was still there when he returned from his route, she was coming home with him. That’s how we got Belle. She is a dark tortoise shell. Though tiny, she rules the house with iron claws.
A couple months ago, my husband texted me to advise me my daughter would be bringing someone home with her. I was attending class online at the time and didn’t think much of it; the girls have a constant flood of friends parade through the house. However, when she walked through the door, called her sisters, and started to introduce this “friend”, I immediately texted my husband back to accusingly state that he never told me the “someone” she was bringing home was the four-legged variety. He explained that one of her friends had rescued her from a tree during the thunderstorm we’d had the night before, but could not keep her due to her sister’s allergies. This “someone” soon came in to meet me, and it didn’t take me long to fall in love with this yellow tabby fluffball, whom I got to name Peaches. She is the troublemaker in our home, climbing the Christmas tree and eating my houseplants, among other things.
Our latest addition marched into our home one day of her own accord and started eating the cat food like she owned the place. The other cats, surprisingly, did not get terribly upset about the intrusion. We’d seen her hanging around the neighbor’s house so my husband picked her up and took her back next door. They were glad to see her, but dropped a bomb on my husband. They were moving away and could not take the cat with them. They’d been trying to find a new home for the cat. If they didn’t find one soon, they were going to have to leave her outside to fend for herself. My husband, being the kind person he is, of course told them that if they could find no other home, we’d take her. So now, we have a beautiful blue-tipped Siamese named Chloe added to the mix. She is young but very alpha, and surprisingly has no interest in the outdoors despite living almost entirely outside her whole young life. She has decided she has found the good life with us. We’re not yet sure how she’s going to fit with the others, but we’re thinking she’s the new top cat.
So, are we nuts? Probably, but we like the chaos and the craziness most of the time. How about you? Do you have an obsession for something of which you already have too many? How do you say no?