maura @ 6:15 pm
One thing that I’ll definitely miss about sabbatical is hanging out with our cats. They turned 9 this past spring, and being a cat owner continues to surprise me. Which maybe it shouldn’t, because we did have cats when I was a kid, though we didn’t get our first cats until I was about 12. They were outdoor cats, ostensibly because a few family members were allergic (though I should note that those same family members now have both cats and dogs that live inside, hmmm… [thinking emoji]).
We started with three cats, one each for me and my sibs. Two of them came with us when we moved across several states a little over a year later (RIP Freckles, my brother’s cat accidentally killed by a car on a snowy day). Things got a little more hectic when I was in high school — my parents’ were heading for divorce by that point and when my sibs “found” a few kittens in the small stand of trees that separated our yard from the yard of the house in the development behind ours, we were allowed to keep them. And two of them got pregnant before we could get them fixed, and at one point we had maybe 13 cats total? The moms + kittens lived on the screened porch until they were old enough to give away, and I think things stabilized after that at about 6 cats. And then I went away to college.
Anyway, so outdoor cats are a little different than indoor cats. No cat hair on all of your stuff, for one thing. Also if they had hairballs I guess we never saw them. On the minus side, sometimes you couldn’t find them when you wanted a snuggle. And also they would bring us presents from their killing escapades, mostly mice, though one cat used to eat grasshoppers and barf them up on the back steps, good times. I wonder now about the weather — if it was a really cold winter’s day we were allowed to bring them into the laundry room, which was next to the garage, but mostly they seemed okay outside.
Our two current cats are spoiled indoor cats, like many city kitties. They are snuggly and lovely though I do feel like things are happening as they age that I was not prepared for. Hair-related issues for one: they shed more and more and seem to produce more hairballs, most especially when we’re away (which I guess is a stress-grooming thing? which makes me sad). Gummy loves to be brushed so I try to brush him once every week or two, but Caramel can’t stand being brushed. We got a couple of decent lint brushes that make it easier to deal with hair on clothes and furniture, but some shirts just seem to be like velcro for cat hair, sigh.
They are funny with their own personalities, which I think I was less aware of with outdoor cats. They’re brothers but don’t really hang out much, though there is the occasional chase and sort-of-mock fight. Caramel likes to sit on our laps and knead, he also follows you around meowing if he wants something (usually food), occasionally throws himself down on the floor belly-up for pets, and sometimes he wants to sleep right next to my head. Gummy is more aloof, he wants pets but won’t sit on your lap, instead preferring that you sit on the floor and scratch his chin and ears while he walks around you. Sometimes he will sit next to us on the sofa or bed, he also regularly meets us at the door when we come home from being out, sort of like a dog. Caramel’s purr is quiet, and Gummy’s is very loud. Caramel’s naughtiness is that he likes to eat plastic/paper (esp. window envelopes), ribbons, and plastic bags. Gummy is a fan of lightly biting things, like my laptop cord which has several tiny teeth indentations.
Really they are quite personable, which is good when we’re here but not so much when we’re gone. We originally got two rather than one so that the solo cat wouldn’t be lonely, but since at least one of us tends to be home much of them time I think they get sort of stressed out when we’re not here. I suppose we could get more cats to help these guys not be so sad when we go, but that would push us into the realm of too many litterboxes for a 2BR apartment, I think. [cat with heart eyes emoji]