My mother use to tell me about a great-aunt of mine, who was found dead alone in her house, with hundreds of cats. I think I have become the incarnation of this aunt.
My life has been taken over by three cats and I am a minor inconvenience only useful to them when they are hungry and can’t get the bag of cat food down from the top of the refrigerator or when the kitty litter needs changing. Three cats — who think they are independent and that they own me instead of the other way around.
The oldest is black with gold specks — they are called tortie cats or “money-cats”. Don’t ask me why because lord knows, she has not earned a dime since she moved in. I believe she came from a feral colony because she has this hiss that only a stray cat who needs to protect herself might have. It is unlike any sound I have ever heard before — in fact, I did not know cats could even make a growling sound like she does when either of the other two cats come within a room’s width of her.
She is extremely demanding and she and I have had a running battle over a storage closet that she is not allowed to get into. But she is determined that some day, I am going to change my mind about the closet. Everyday, about the time I want peace and quiet so I can write — she stands at the closet door and meows incessantly until I am almost ready to wrap a coat hanger around her neck. She seems to know when I have reached that point, and immediately disappears for the rest of the day — after my nerves are so on edge that I snap on the very next person or cat who bothers me.
She is the first cat who is sent in to tell me when the food bowls are empty.
My second cat is calico who has a name but I can’t remember it because for three years, everyone has called her Baby Kitten. Now Baby Kitten still thinks she is a kitty and is the star of our family. She plays fetch with a toy mouse — by herself. She doesn’t need anyone to throw the mouse across the room, because she does it herself and then runs to get it, bringing it back to her starting place. She repeatedly runs up and down the hallway, not just a few times, but for what seems like hours. She wants the other cats to play chase with her, but they both hiss at her if she comes near them. Actually, she is very good at entertaining herself — which I should be grateful for. She have her own video channel.
One day I came home and Baby Kitten had gotten up on my dresser and found a bag of catnap that I had stored there. She spilled it all over my bed and was having a high old time when I opened the door. She was stoned for hours and rolled from one end of the bed to the other, making a small mess into a huge one.
She is the second cat who is sent in to tell me when the food bowls are empty.
Then there is cat number three, a gray tabby, and she is the youngest and the biggest. She has a name that I have also forgotten since everyone just calls her “Biggins” because of her size. She thinks she is the leader of the group and the others let her believe that. When they do get into trouble as a group, I will admit, she is usually the one who planned and directed the trouble to get into.
She sleeps all day and because she is big she sleeps anywhere she wants to — usually on my bed under the lamp. She is always under a lamp and I am not sure why. She is too big to be cold so I have stopped trying to figure it out; I just make sure there is always at least one lamp on during the day. So, much for trying to save electricity.
She is the last one sent in to tell me when the food bowls are empty.
These cats have taken total control of my whole life — I have spent hundreds of dollars on toys, beds to sleep in and scratching poles, none of which they use. I go out in the rain if they are out of their special cat food. They have total control and are quite arrogant about it. Yet, nothing is more calming to my soul, than to lie down next to one of these furry friends and listen to her purr. The purring of a cat immediately heals the wounds that life has sometimes given me. That sound alone is worth all the struggles and trials of sharing my life and my home with all three of them.
Oh, by the way — after I have ignored the third cat’s announcement that the food bowls are empty, I usually hear a lot of noise in the kitchen. If I tiptoe quietly, I will find Biggins directing the other two as the three have teamed up, climbed to the top of the refrigerator and dumped the bag of cat food all over the kitchen floor. When they hear me walk into the kitchen, they all look at me at the same time with the same look, as if to say “We tried to tell you!”