Vincent Safuto’s Weblog

Notes and observations

Playing favorites with the cats

My newspaper, The Gainesville Sun, has been running articles about a couple who had collected nearly 700 cats at their home.

The county commission allowed them to have a certain number of felines, but people kept dropping off cats and they were trying to be a “no-kill” center, so there was no way to cull the population, so it just grew and grew out of control.

Neighbors’ complaints about the smell were finally heeded, and local law enforcement stepped in.

I have heard for years about cat hoarders, and know that even caring for a few cats can make for a busy endeavor. Years ago, I set my upper cat limit at four, and found that I can manage that many kitties in my living space. Still, the litter boxes can get pretty ripe when you have four cats, and keeping them fed is costly.

I love my four cats: Tommy, Mikasa, Shadow and Midnight. They’ve shared my experiences with me in several different living spaces and I’ve returned their love by making sure they’re cared for well. Like most cat owners, I allow them to pretty much sleep anywhere, and Tommy, Shadow and Midnight like to climb into bed with me, especially after I’ve fallen asleep. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve awakened to find myself “wedged into bed” by the cats.

Tommy was always the affectionate cat, and he still is today. It’s odd because when he was a kitten, he was so shy he’d hide under the throw pillows on the sofa. Now, Tommy likes to lick me, for some reason, and he’ll run his raspy tongue over my nose if I let him. He claims a spot next to my left shoulder when I’m lying on my back in bed, and that’s his spot that he defends against the other cats.

Shadow likes to lie down at my feet and guards her spot well. If I move around too much, she lets me know her disapproval by clawing at my feet.

Mikasa is not a bed kitty, and is not always very affectionate. She stakes out a place on the ottoman and spends her nights there. Every once in a great while, she’ll climb on the bed but she doesn’t stay long because the other cats chase her away.

Midnight is an odd cat. He’s Shadow’s brother and they like to cuddle each other and play, sometimes very roughly, but he’s always been weird about being affectionate.

He will invariably be the first to join me when I go to bed, and he enjoys being petted but his affection is limited to sniffing, occasionally biting my hand and swatting my face with his tail. He purrs lightly and lets me know he likes being petted. When I’m watching TV, he’ll sit next to me unless Shadow wants that spot.

So which cat is my favorite? Well, I have to say Midnight. He doesn’t vomit in the car, meows mainly when he’s on the bed and I’m not, and is mostly friendly. He is terrified of house guests and thunder, and will hide under the comforter on the bed, not realizing that his body creates an easily visible lump when he’s trying to be invisible.

But the other three are also an important part of my life, and while they’re healthy now, I fear what will happen as they get old.

Kittens may be cute, but when you’ve had the same cats for nearly eight years, you get used to them, and they get used to you.

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August 24, 2011 - Posted by | Living in the modern age | , , , , ,

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