Thursday, 18 February 2010

Cat Post

I realized the other day that I haven't written about our mad - err... I mean - cat house in a while. Surely, the kitties make an entrance every once in a while, but the last time I wrote about the kitty situation in detail was back in September last year when we were all desperately trying to get along. To recap: when I lived in Finland, I had two kitties, Masa and Illusia, both of whom came to me from an animal shelter in Helsinki. Illusia had a history of getting into trouble with other cats in the shelter (she has a cloudy eye and a shredded ear due to cat fights in the past), and Masa was basically a wild cat. For whatever reason they became the best of friends at the shelter, and the shelter decided to lump them together for whoever was crazy enough (who, me?) to take them. After about two years Masa is still on the wild side of things, but with Illusia's help he is becoming more acquainted with people-friendly cat life. Illusia is here on the left, Masa on the right:

When Chris came into my life, it soon turned out that he was very much of a cat person himself - he had five. There were the two older kitties Blue and Cassiopeia (probably around 10 years of age), and three sisters, Audrey, Willow and Lyric (all 5 years). When things with Chris and myself got serious it took us about two seconds to decide that no kitty was to be left behind in this whole ordeal of us making our lives beat in sync. Last August we packed up my flat in Finland, and with us came Masa and Illusia, on the plane, all the way to the United States. (Traveling with the cats, may I add, was by far the most stressful experience ever, but well worth it.)

Before long it was obvious that our seven cats did not get along. We pretty much expected it, but hoped for the best anyway. We thought that with time, they would settle all accounts and would at least learn to tolerate each other. As it turns out, they did not. After six weeks of hissing, running, yelping, bunches of fur flying in the air, and the older cats getting seriously stressed out, we decided that it was time to think of an alternative solution. In came the door separating up- and downstairs, and the two kitty-zones were successfully established. Ever since, we have had a very peaceful house of cats. Every once in a while we leave the door open (under our watchful eye, of course), and occasionally some Finnish cats rub noses with the Americans in a friendly manner. Other times fighting resumes. This, by the way, is Willow, by far the most easy-going, affectionate kitty I have ever met:

Willow has truly become my lap kitty. Whenever I have a free lap, she makes a mental note of it and fills the empty spot in no time. Willow's belly is all shaved up right now, because she had a little lump in her stomach that had to be checked out. Luckily the vet wasn't worried and said that most likely it was a deposit of fat (hmm, we do feed our kitties). Audrey, as usual, has that look on her face that means trouble:

Audrey gets first place when it comes to ranking the vocal capabilities of our cats. She makes the strangest sounds; little yelps, big yelps, random yipping, and while meowing her little heart out her mouth becomes so wide at times that it looks like she is going to be cut in half.

Cassiopeia here needs to go see the groomer. Her fur is getting all tangled up despite my brushing her every day. She sounds and behaves like the girl in the Exorcist whenever I tackle her mane. I have tried to condition her to respond to treats after brushing, but it seems to me that knowing that the treat is on its way, she struggles even more.

Our poor over-eating Blue has lost a little bit of weight, but she still resembles (and is often called) the Battleship Potemkin.

The only kitty not presented here is Lyric, who is, sadly, still very timid and scared of me. Unfortunately she refused to be photographed for the purpose of this post. She tends to hang out in the basement during the days, and only comes out when I am nowhere to be seen. During the past couple of weeks she has finally started coming up to me in the evenings, which is certainly better than nothing.

Anyway, living with seven cats is wonderful. Okay, so what if my clothing is always covered in cat hair, and who cares if our house never seems perfectly tidy. All seven are such distinct personalities and make our lives so much richer.


jesse.anne.o said...

I have 6 myself (in a Bklyn apt!) -- but that came from running a nonprofit that did rescue and Trap-Neuter-Return. I've adopted out at least 50 cats that I've had in my apt and fostered over the years so the extra 4 who couldn't be placed anywhere else is not a bad retention rate.

I did have to completely change my apt over time to accommodate for the cats' hair and activities (not the least of which is elimination) but I think it's at a happy medium at this point (everything is either wire, plastic, plexi, or naugahyde).

Vetting is cheaper to do via a housecall service so I do that once every 3 years for their vaccs (half of them are still feral so that's a JOY, let me tell you).

You probably can't tell from my pictures because 5 of the 6 are black!

a cat of impossible colour said...

What a great story! I can't tell you how thrilled I am that you brought your cats with you to the States. I would do exactly the same. Where I go, Mink goes. We had to leave our cat and dog behind in Zimbabwe when we left, because we weren't allowed to bring them from Africa to New Zealand, and it is still the hardest, most heartbreaking thing I have ever done. We found good homes for them, luckily. Many whites fleeing Zimbabwe simply dumped their pets at the SPCA, abandoned them or left them on the side of the road as they drove to the airport. It makes me sick to think about it.

Marie McGrath (The Joy of Fashion) said...

Your kitties are so cute! I have had cats all my life, but right now we only have 3. They are all so cute!

a cat of impossible colour said...

Hello again! I just wanted to let you know that I featured you on my blog today - I hope that's all right. :)

Andrea xx

Charlotte Holmes said...

So you also have a Maine Coon cat (Cassiopeia)! They are such good-natured cats, but their fur is a taxing job. Sven is also a MC, and he loathes being combed, but otherwise gets such tangles. That you brought your Finn kitties to the States is an heroic gesture. Good for you!

gina said...

I would love to have 7 cats! I've often said that about 1/2 a dozen is my ideal number.

I have 2 right now in a small studio apartment. My youngest is cranky and bad-tempered enough (she pees on my furniture a lot) that I've decided not to bring any additional cats into the house while I live in such a small space. I can't wait till I get a bigger place though and can have more cats!