|What's not to love?|
He was a farm kitty that my husband, John, bribed me with when we were first married. John was in the doghouse, as it were, for something or other, and he figured a little furry feline friend would be his ticket back into my good graces.
Well, paybacks, as they say are hell.
Timba turned out to be one hormonally challenged tiger tom, from his acute feline acne to his overstimulated rage center. Not unlike moi during PMS. But I loved him -- Timba was a good listener -- and John loved me. So we kept Timba, much to John's chagrin.
Next came Barney, our little all-black street cat. He needed a home, and though John was a hair claw-shy after Timba's reign of terror, he agreed to let me keep Barney on a a trial basis that lasted 17 feline urinary syndrome-filled years.
During Barney's waning years, we adopted Midget and Motina from our local vet -- at our young son Daniel's urging, of course. They were two tabby sisters who did us no harm. Nevertheless, John had become a bit of a tough customer.
"No more cats!" John decreed after Barney died and we had to give Midget and Mo away because where we were living temporarily -- my mother-in-law's farm -- did not allow indoor pets.
That did not stop me, however, from building a little outdoor plastic tote/insulated sleeping bag shelter next to the garage for Smokers, the tiny tortoise shell stray who happened to wander up the farmstead driveway one late fall day.
OK, so she wasn't really tiny. But Smokers (so named because young Daniel thought her coloring was that of smoke) was a sweet perpetual purrball who obviously -- and desperately -- needed sanctuary from not only the bitter Iowa cold but all the skunks, possums and other wild four-footers loitering about the family farm.
So I merely obliged. The makeshift kitty lean-to worked wonders. For the most part.
Long story short, Smokers survived the winter but wound up pregnant after a brief driveway romp with a roaming orange tomcat. (Iowa winters can make one do crazy things.)
Confession: When I realized she was with kitties, I wrapped her in blankets and, without letting John in on my plan, let her sleep in my car at night.
Then one early spring day -- call it women's intuition -- I just knew Smokers was going to have those babies. So, without telling John, I drove Smokers into town to our house (no longer being rented by friends) and made a comfy nest of towels for her in the bathroom. I gave her a kiss, placed her gently in the middle of said nest, closed the door and left.
A few hours later...voila! Six, count 'em, SIX adorable, healthy kitties -- four orange (like their wayward father) and two torties, just like their saintly (save for her one indiscretion) mama.
I immediately called John.
"GUESS WHAT, HONEY! YOU'RE A GRANDPA!"
Yeah, I had a little 'splainin' to do.
I eventually found homes for five of the darlings, and I decided -- admittedly without John's blessing -- that we would keep one of the two torties. (I could only deal with so much separation anxiety.)
And before we knew it, we were all one big, happy cat-owning family once again, living in town once more.
Granted, Flower -- named after the skunk in Bambi due to the white stripe down her nose -- has lived up to her name and has turned out to be a little stinker. Truth told, she's an annoying whiner who likes to nibble on our mini blinds when she wants our attention.
But Smokers is, by far, the best cat ever. Playful. Cuddly. Thankful to be off the streets, hence, humble.
OK, so her regular projectile spewing of undigested kibbles can fray one's nerves on occasion. But hey, we all have our little idiosyncrasies that drive our loved ones crazy, yet they love us -- and keep us -- still.
At least that is what I keep telling John.
"Your cats are senile," he complains.
"Yes, well, you're heading there, but I'm keeping you," I counter.
Love me, love my cats. Or at least tolerate them. That's my rule and I'm stickin' to it.
Besides, John's a soft-hearted guy. Deep down I know he likes cats. At least I hope for his sake he does.
For it's a well-known fact -- in cat circles, anyway -- that he who doesn't like cats comes back one day as a mouse.