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I need a cat

I need a cat. Or a kitten. Or two kittens.

Taz, the stray kitten-cat up in Edelweiss, has been reunited with her lost family, so I won’t be adopting her. But I still have this overwhelming desire to live with a cat.

I haven’t had a cat since Flea died back in 2003 at the ripe old age of 19. He had lots of extra toes. I like extra-toed cats. (Did you know that Ernest Hemingway left his estate in Florida to extra-toed cats?)

When my son was born, I had five cats. They were all brown tabbies. Their names were Mr. Jones, Catastrophe, Mean Joe, Screamer and Beethoven. The old-fashioned pediatrician convinced me that I should get rid of them, for the baby’s sake. I really liked the baby, so I did. Five different friends each adopted one of my cats.

When my son was five he wanted a dog, but we weren’t in a position to adopt a dog then. I got him a cat instead. He named him Lassie. And later we got a wonderful brown tabby with a magnificent belly, and we named him Bud. A few years later Bud vanished, and during my frequent trips to the Humane Society to look for him, I met Flea.

There was a hand-written sign on Flea’s cage. The first day the sign said “Nice cat.” The second day the sign said “Nice cat. Very affectionate.” The third day the sign said “Nice cat. Very affectionate. Gives hugs.” I brought him home.

A couple of years later, a puppy followed me home, more or less. That’s not how it happened at all. I encountered a puppy on my way to work, and he had no street smarts whatsoever. I had to bring him home for his own safety. I named him Pavlov. Either he was untrainable or I was a very poor trainer. I had him for three months and he never learned anything. He did not come when he was called. He only went to the bathroom indoors. He never learned not to chase the cat, even though the cat dealt out swift and severe punishment with remarkable consistency. He was a very cute puppy though. He died of Parvo, even though he’d had his first set of shots and was only a week late getting his second set. Parvo’s an awful way to die.

A year or so later we adopted Sam from the Humane Society. Sam was a year old at the time. My son picked him out. He didn’t need to see any other dogs once he’d locked eyes with Sam. “This is him,” he said, “This is my dog.”

After Sam died last March at the age of almost-fifteen, I decided not to look for a new animal friend. I would just wait until the right one found me and moved into my house. We would have a tacit understanding, this animal and me.

But this mystical karmic thing hasn’t happened yet and I don’t want to wait anymore. I think I’m going to have to take the initiative and go find a new animal to live with.

I think what I think I want is two brown tabby kittens. But maybe I want a multi-toed brown tabby sad-historied momma cat like this one.

It’s weird though. I worry about ending up with the wrong one. What if I go adopt a cat or two from the Humane Society and then suddenly the mystical karmic cat shows up on my doorstep? What then? My son, who has three cats, told me there isn’t much difference between two and three cats, so if that happened I could still let the mystical karmic one in.

I told him that’s how people become crazy cat people. It starts off with “there’s not much difference between two cats and three cats,” and escalates from there. In the end, there really isn’t any difference between 35 and 36 cats. (Ask Coyote: he’s always got room for one more.)


11 comments to I need a cat

  • Ciaochow

    Is it possible that mystical karmic cat is waiting for you behind the bars of a cage at the Humane Society? Maybe on her way to you, she was plucked from the streets and booked in as a stray. Why not check it out?

  • Gillian

    Now you’re feeling ready to adopt, go for it. If I knew of kittens somewhere, I’d tell you, but I don’t.
    I had a dog who died of Parvo in Montreal, the first year it hit the city. It was so new, some of the vets didn’t even know enough to diagnose it and as I understood it, they were unlikely to be able to do anything anyway.

  • Liz

    My Bugs the white cat with Siamese traits died after gracing me with 22 years of her company. I miss her still.
    Life happens and it turned out that I am in a place where NO PETS are allowed. That didn’t hurt a lot because no pet could replace my Bugs.
    Then. One black winter night a horrible yowl set up on my patio. I opened the door and this blackest black cat with the biggest yellowest eyes I’ve ever seen walked in like she owned the place.
    She did.
    I made excuses to the landlord: a surprise Christmas gift for my nephew, she’ll be gone by Christmas… etc.
    I call the SPCA daily: anyone looking for a fabulous black cat with eyes like suns? No takers.
    She showed up on the day Lord Black was sentenced so I named her Lady Black of Cross Harbour, Connie for short :)
    I left the door open so she could go home when and if she pleased, but she stayed. I brought in kitty litter and good cat food. She ate tuna the first two days because I thought she was just visiting.
    Until noon today.
    So, here I am, almost midnight worrying about a cat that is not mine, and hoping she finds her way home, comes back here, or finds a person who cares for her like I and my child did/do while she jaunts her way.
    Cats are…
    Well, cats are.

    Hope you find the one that’s looking for you, knitnut. Thanks for the story.

  • zoom, I’m looking after an 11 year old chocolate burmese for a couple of weeks while my ex-husband goes on holiday (when we split years ago I got the kids and he got the cat).

    Pablo has taken to lying next to stephen’s (my lover who died 4 months ago) photo and every day when I come home from work I feel like I’m coming home to both of them. it’s a weird feeling but very comforting. I mean, he could sleep somewhere more comfortable but he chooses not to. and stephen loved cats. there was a cat in the hospice where he died.

    I’m hoping I can keep Pablo as my ex is going to be moving…

  • Oma

    Maybe Liz would lie you to have the wonderful black cat with the sun eyes? And Mama-San sounds wonderful too.

  • Jo


    I agree that there is not much difference between two cats and three cats, though now the House of Science has three cats, three dogs, and two humans. I had second thoughts this weekend when Sam, one of the lady cats, was lying on the dining room table knocking unshelled nuts out of a bowl and chasing them across the table. When they fell on the floor one of the dogs would pick them up and run around, chased by the other dogs. Eventually one of the dogs would chew on them until the shells were in one million tiny pieces on the rug. As we tried to have a relaxing holiday I said to David, “I think it was a mistake to let them out number us.”


  • I loved reading all your cat stories!

    Liz – welcome to my blog. I hope you get to keep Lady Black of Cross Harbour. 😉 She sounds like she was meant to be yours. (You’re not in Ottawa, are you?)

    And Nursemyra, I hope you get to keep Pablo AND the children.

    Oma, I visit that MamaSan cat several times a day online to see if she’s still available. I think she might be the one. Or one of the ones.

    Jo, six is a lot. My son thinks the law says any household can have a maximum of sixteen paws, but I won’t tell anyone you’ve got 24.

    Gillian, I’m sorry about your dog dying of parvo. The survival rate is dismal. :(

    Ciaochow, I think you’re right! I’m going to go to the Humane Society on Thursday to see if my mystical karmic cat is waiting for me there.

  • Liz

    Zoom! Thank you for the welcome! I was happy to come across your blog and will visit often.
    An update on Lady Black: she strolled on in at noon today, ate, washed herself and then proceeded to sleep on the couch all day (still sleeping).
    We bought her a light-reflective collar to hopefully keep her safer while she prowls at night. We are attaching a note to the collar for the real owner (if she has one)to let them know that she’s taken to bunking down at our place. Hopefully we’ll hear from someone…
    Otherwise, two friends want her badly on the proviso that if she has an owner she must be brought back. We can’t keep her with us I am very sorry to say. She’s grown on us the past few weeks. To be buying cat food, kitty litter and collars after all these years is strange but somehow right.
    Who knows? Maybe we’ll find a new place that allows pets…and repatriate Lady Black of Cross Harbour. I’ll keep you posted.

    May the New Year bring you the cat of your fondest desire!

    Happy New Year from the West Coast of Canada!

  • Liz – it’s too bad you can’t keep her yourself, but I’m glad you found Lady Black a new home. I like the idea of the note on her collar. She might just have decided to live a double life.

    It does sound like your heart is preparing to love another cat though. I think it will be a very lucky cat.

  • Smabulator

    Hi Zoom,
    We have a pair of wonderful cats by the name of Ruby and Shackleton. They are sisters from the same litter, a pure cross between Bengal and Burmese. They’re lovely. Beautiful to look at and to be with, with lots of character.
    At first I was against the idea of paying for a kitten, preferring to adopt one, but when I saw them for the 1st time there was no going back. (We’d originally just wanted the one, but you know how it goes.) We’ve never regretted it – they’re amazing. However, they do need lots of stimulus so you’d need to let this kind of breed outside from time to time.