I have enjoyed the company of cats most of my life and what I love about them most is the way they can take or leave me. The only bearing I seem to have on their lives is whether or not I feed them and clean out the litter box. We enjoy playtime and an occasional cuddle, but I am highly aware that as Beyoncé says, I am replaceable. Each of my cats have unique personalities and quirks, which separate them from all other cats in my eyes.
Mungo Jerrie has been in my life for the last ten years. We met when I visited a small animal shelter. I peeked into the room full of free-range cats and kittens. The proprietor invited me toCredit: Self sit inside and see if one of the felines would strike my fancy. I sat in the room and waited for a cat to come to me. A white cat with black splotches moved in my direction, and for some reason, I did not feel that we were meant to be. I wandered over to the sole cat tree and spied a kitten small enough to fit in the palm of my hand. He reluctantly allowed me to pick him up. I looked on his collar to see what the shelter had named him. I grimaced when I read Lionel, it was a sign to save and rename this furry little soul.
I brought the kitten home and immediately changed his name to Mungo. He is a beautiful gray spotted tabby. There are three kinds of tabby cats, striped, spotted, and spiral. He has the characteristic “M” on his forehead. There is a legend that the prophet Mohammed had a beloved tabby cat and gave it a blessing. When he removed his fingers, there was a letter “M.” I sometimes think that the “M” looks more like devil horns when he is being feisty. Tabby cats are very affectionate and easy going in personality. It was the perfect choice for my first cat away from home.
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Near the first anniversary of finding Mungo, I went back to the shelter to “look” at the cats. I had no overt intention to buy another cat, but at the time Mungo preferred to keep his own company and had no interest in being a lap-cat. I walked into the room again and saw a mess of kittens trying to nurse on one of two tortoiseshell cats. One was dodging the attention while the other submitted to being a surrogate mother. I could not imagine separating the kittens from their source of comfort. I sat while Suzy, the other tortoiseshell made a beeline for meCredit: Self and started meowing like crazy. She was very affectionate and purred like a motor. The owner of the shelter walked in and asked if I was going to take her home. Since my male cat was not neutered, I had no desire to contribute to the overpopulation of cats. The owner brushed aside my concern explaining that Suzy was spayed. I could resist no longer and brought her home. Mungo was less than pleased to share space with her the first few days, but the newly named Isis was relentless, and soon they became friends.
Isis definitely has tortoiseshell attitude. She is incredibly vocal about what she wants and will give me the stink eye until I comply. She is totally affectionate and would prefer if I snuggled with her all day. She has the gentlest way of playing and only bares her claws to cat toys. One of her mildly annoying habits is to interrupt while I am writing with a continuous stream of trilling and meows. It can make me feel like I’m losing my mind. One of her favorite pastimes is to sit and stare at me. It is kind of unnerving to feel a pair of eyes on you only to turn around and see a cat staring. I think if the world is ever dominated by a cat it will be a tortoiseshell.
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Life has been wonderful with Mungo and Isis, but I started to feel anxious about their respective lifespans and how devastating it would be to lose both of my cats at once without any other furry comfort. The shelter where I had found Mungo and Isis had closed, but the Universe has ways of sending me things I want through unusual channels. One morning my sister and I were chatting in my driveway, and my neighbor walked over holding a gray kitten wrapped in a blanket. She asked if either of us wanted a kitten. He had been dropped at her house by her brother, but she could not keep him. I apologized, refused the kitten, and wishedCredit: self her the best in placing the adorable kitten. Little did I know that this kitten was going to be my new pet, whether I thought I wanted him or not. My neighbor let the kitten run free outside, but he sat beneath my sister’s window yowling all night. A few days later my sister called and asked if I would take “Georgie” in. She offered to have him neutered and vaccinated if I would be his new forever home. I could not refuse and welcomed the ball of energy into my home.
I renamed the gray ball of vitality Jacimo. There was not a day that passed when I did not say, “Jacimo no!” He was never troubled by what I wanted and would look at me with the most innocent eyes, and I could hardly scold him. Jacimo loves Mungo and Isis. While Mungo is delighted to snuggle with him and his large body of warmth, Isis prefers more distance. It is strange, but it seems Jacimo prefers my company instead of my other cats. He curls up by my feet while I write and yowls if there is a closed door between us. He loves attention from me and will flop on his side dramatically and look my way as if to say, “Don’t you see I’m love starved?”
Now I have a wonderful feline family of three unique cats. Each of them has a special place in my heart and keeps me looking forward to every day. How did you meet your pet? Please leave a comment.