I should say that I've always been an animal lover, but not necessarily a cat person per se. We had cats growing up, but they were always aloof or bitchy or bordering on feral or all of the above. I never had a cat that was really "mine," except for Muffin who was hit by a car on Christmas day when I was 11. You could say that my experiences with cats weren't great.
But, when I was 23, I found myself wanting a pet. I had been through some incredible physical and mental stress and felt that I had been pet-less long enough. I needed pet therapy. I was living in Hollywood at the time and couldn't have a dog in my apartment. Looking back, I probably could have. I'm pretty sure my neighbor had a pet squirrel, but I was a somewhat rules-abiding kind of gal. So I went to a shelter and brought me home a cute little raggamuffin kitten. Her tail was scraggly and she had a terrible cold, but she turned out to be perfect for me. Jete (named after the ballet leap) was freaking cute as a kitten.
And it turned out that all she needed was a little lurve because she has the softest fur of any cat I've even encountered. She's always been quite the ham, entertaining my friends with her antics, always needing to be the center of attention.
Now, this cat is totally and completely neurotic. You could say that's how you know she's mine. Because she's got issues. She's attached to my hip, is always crawling up on me for cuddles and attention, and she has abandonment issues. Yes, I abandoned my cat. I lived in Europe in 2006 and left her with my parents. And she has a blankie. I kid you not. When I came home from Europe, she drug a piece of cloth out of a box and claimed it as her own. She drags that thing all over my house. I find that damn filthy thing everywhere. And sometimes she cries while dragging it, mournfully, like the world has ended. Sometimes she even cries in the middle of the night until I wake up and remind her that I'm there. Damn crazy cat. Totally high maintenance.
Aaaaand then there's Hobbes. Hobbes was a rescue kitten. Someone dumped the tiny (back then) little guy in my dad's VW bus. My dad was barbecuing and when he lifted the lid on the grill, this little orange head popped up in the window. Poor little guy couldn't get out and when my dad caught him, he purred like a muscle car. I couldn't let them take him to the shelter.
So the next thing I knew, I had two cats.
Hobbes is a total character. As a kitten, he was fearless, picking fights with Jete and barreling around my apartment. Today? Today Hobbes is scared of ev.er.y.thing. Everything and everyone. It takes people months of hanging out with me to even glimpse Hobbes. And every day that he gets more brave, I get so proud of him. He's such a sweet cat. Would never bite or scratch. He just wants to hide under the blanket until everyone is gone, thankyouverymuch. But he's cuddly. Cat is like an effing dog. Loves a good belly scratch. And when he purrs, I swear the neighbors think it's an earthquake. And did I mention that he's huge? Hobbes is a big ass cat. Not just fat, but BIG.
I want to tell this sweet boy that he's big. That he could take whatever is scaring him. But alas, he's just a sweet doormat of a cat. And I had intended to gripe about the life of being a cat owner, but I find myself gushing over these sweet ones. Right now, Hobbes is squeaking at me in his mousy version of a meow and it's freaking cute.
And these two are double trouble. One minute, they're cuddling and cleaning each other. And the next, one has bitten the other's ear and it's all out war. And when that happens, just cover your head and hope you survive.
These two are totally high maintenance, but I wouldn't ever give them up. And I realize they're cats. It bothers me intensely that my dad refers to them as his grandchildren (they're CATS, Dad!). But they are family.