Let me first start out by saying that I’m a lover of animals. I’ve got a soft heart and I know “they” know it. It’s difficult for me to turn away an animal in need…
And to attest to that fact, I’ve currently got two dogs and 5 indoor cats – all that came to me, by one way or another, with needs or broken pasts.
It drives my adult children crazy that I have so many and they often state that the one thing they’ve learned from me is to never have more than one cat and/or dog. So be it… Crazy dog/cat lady I am then.
Having said that they, my children, have been part of the reason the animal kingdom in my house has grown. Whether they want to realize it or not their hearts are as soft as mine and they have been party to many of the household arrivals over the years. I think it’s easier for them to blame it all on me since I am the one that ultimately cares for the critters.
As I already stated, I have 5 cats and, mind you, not normal cats as cats go…
One young female has severe allergy issues; requires special food and has to be kept separated from the rest of the household to eliminate flare-ups. Her cute, perky little personality and sweet voice keep us fighting in her corner. My son and I often comment how she would have never survived in the “wild” and we are so lucky she found us…
My beautiful rescued Siamese has a mental disorder which causes her to fear closeness and affection. She will only cuddle and snuggle with my pit bull (which makes me happy that she, at least, has someone she feels close to). The vet told me these types are normally put -to-sleep (PTS) as people have no desire to have a cat that eludes them constantly. So sad.. Because of the lack of human and/or cat interaction during her most important days this beauty carries fear constantly in her mind…
My oldest feline is old (nearly 18 years), stately and refined, and defies the limits of aging. She’s as beautiful now as the day we rescued her from being PTS’ d at a shelter many years and states ago. We dearly love her and hope she continues to live forever.
My only male was, quite literally, dumped at my doorstep eight years ago as a feisty, spitting, flea-covered kitten. He’s caused a lot of destruction in my house that I bemoan to this day but on the flip side, he is affectionate; as faithful and companionable as a dog; and has mellowed much in his older years.
Lastly, is our sweet, impish girl who is frightened of thunder and very loud noises and runs frantically through the house seeking shelter when upset. She tends to hog the water bowl, which we feel is directly attributable to her not having enough water when she lived rough.
And, lastly there’s my dogs…
My decrepit old Chihuahua, who doesn’t want to be bothered by anyone, has no teeth but will still try to bite, and is recognized as the “ruler of the roost”; and my spoiled, kind-hearted pit bull, who tries to act tough but is more frightened of you than you are of her. She is mother, protector and companion to all her “kitties” and loves to stand near them so they rub against her legs with their soft fur.
So, with all these needy souls already in my house, I have stated, quite explicitly mind you, “NO MORE ANIMALS!” I couldn’t possibly have room for anymore – it’s just too much!
Two weeks ago my daughter was visiting and was talking with my son on the front porch late into the night. I’d already gone to bed and was off into dreamland when she burst into my bedroom. “You have to get up and come outside,” she cried. “There’s a little animal outside crying, it needs help! HURRY!”
I stumbled around and made my way to the front porch. I’m wondering what little animal needs help – a deer? A fawn had gotten it’s head stuck in our fence a few weeks back so that was fresh on my mind. I walk out onto the porch and see this skinny tiger and white kitten. HORRORS! Inside I cringe. I hear my son telling me, “He’s really skinny. He just showed up on the porch while we talking. Should I feed him?” I feel sick. Why ME?
All I can see is another cat, another soul to take care of… I just want to go back to bed and forget. I hope IT will go away. I tell my son to go ahead and feed and water him – after all, I’m not cruel and heartless. As I head back to bed my children (those who would never (EVER!) have more than one cat and/dog!) gleefully set about getting food, water and toys. Again, I secretly hope he’s gone in the morning…
The next morning I walk out the front door and see the kitten sleeping on the rug. Sigh… So much for that! He’s getting comfortable. Also, my children inform me, via text message, they have ALREADY named him Odin. Already NAMED HIM!! I fear he’s here to stay…
The first couple of days I try to resist. I state emphatically that he can’t stay; that we need to bring him to the shelter or find another home. I can’t have anymore – I have too many already.
But then my resolve starts to melt… I notice that he is anemic and covered in fleas. I give him a flea bath and put flea medication on him. I give him worming medications and clean his infected ears.
His little personality is already growing on me. He’s lovable, purrs loudly and loves to be pet. I start to look forward to going out to the front porch, looking for him and spending time just playing and relaxing with him.
I buy him a breakaway collar – which he hated, at first, but I loved. It has a little bell attached and I can hear him padding around and know he is safe and close.
One morning I go out and he is no where to be found for two hours. I really got concerned – he has never been gone that long! I am amazed at myself at how attached I have grown to this little guy! As I begin to lose heart and think he’s been captured (by other humans), injured or worse I hear frantic kitten cries coming from a distance away. I call for him and he finally runs up the hill and to the porch and I can tell that he is so happy to see me! I don’t know what little adventure he had been on but he stays close to me and his purring is loud and pleasurable. And, boy, am I glad to have him back!
As the weeks have gone by Odin’s anemia has vastly improved and he has gained considerable weight. As such, an appointment has been made to get him neutered and get all his shots. He will be the “outside” cat but will be properly taken care of, of course.
Life is not perfect with Odin… He and I silently fight over his destruction of my potted plants – a battle that I have yet to win. But if that is the worst of his evils I guess can live with that… And I worry (about him being outside) but I am trying to live in the moment of him…
His cute tiny and silent meows.
The way he stares deep into your eyes with such adoration.
How he tromps around the yard with the dogs looking so big and yet so small.
How he saves us from bugs and spiders and leaves their carcasses all over the porch.
The way he politely sits and watches, with fascination and respect, the hummingbirds at their feeders.
Odin’s favorite toy is a fabric ball, which he constantly plays with, batting it and carrying it to and fro on the porch. I hope the skills learned with it will carry over into him being a good mouser!
My pit bull is in doggy heaven. She now has kitties IN and OUT of the house. She loves to pin Odin down and clean his little body like a mother, which Odin willingly lets her do. And she lets Odin play with her tail and ears as she lays on the porch floor. They hunt together for bugs and creatures in the grass, which is endearing to watch. And they often sit, side-by-side, at the top of the porch stairs and just stare at whatever animals stare at. Odin has changed even my dogs world…
How will this end? I really don’t know but there’s obviously room in my heart and home (porch) for Odin. Having an outside cat concerns me greatly but I’m hoping he’ll be one of those that sticks close to the house or I’ll end up being worried, hanging around outside longer than necessary, listening for that bell.
Little Odin came here because he needed me and I’m glad I am able to be here for him. He was a great and unexpected joy – isn’t that always the way that it is?
Though, again, I say, almost laughingly and with less conviction than previously, as I watch Odin play with his fabric ball, “No more…” And I need to find that sign that is posted somewhere out there that reads, “NEEDY, SICK OR UNWANTED – APPLY HERE” and pull it up.