I should start off by saying that both of our girls have full names based on cities we love and nick names that we use as their “regular” names. (And there must be some genetic reason that people-parents use a child’s full name when they’re in trouble – because I have somehow tapped into that when I’m yelling and chasing after cats causing mischief.) Funny thing is we have a name picked out for a boy cat, should we ever get one (Monterey, a.k.a. Monty). That may cross the line even for me, bordering on the edge of crazy-cat-lady; but we couldn’t help it.
Okay, so let’s meet the girls…
Calistoga a.k.a. Cali a.k.a Daddy’s Girl
We rescued Cali a few months after getting married 10 years ago. (Wow! 10 years!) My husband had cats growing up. I did not. My parents tried the dog thing once or twice, but we mostly had fish. Or nothing at all. So I had no idea what to do with a cat. Honestly, I was a little terrified. This sounds funny now, but you know how you’re more scared of the unknown? Working things up in your mind causing more anxiety than the real thing? Yeah, that’s what I did thinking about getting a cat. I worked from home so I was going to be the one home with this cat all day…by myself…at her mercy. I had visions of being attacked by the cat as I walked by her, chased down the hall into the bathroom, which is where my husband would find me when he got home from work. This is no lie – I was honestly terrified of the thought of this cat going for blood. Plus, how was I going to MAKE this cat go to the bathroom in a litter box? Seriously! I’ve seen how hard it is to train dogs not to go indoors, I had no intention of cleaning up after a cat all day.
My husband, of course, laughed and thought this was “cute”. But assured me that cats “just knew” to use the litter box if you showed them where it was, and I was not going to die a bloody, claw-scratched death.
Thankfully he was right. As my first-ever cat, Cali has spoiled me rotten. She has never (NOT EVER) gone to the bathroom anywhere other than her litter box. No matter how many times we’ve moved (a LOT), show her where the box is and she’s good to go. While she is not a lap cat (my mom thinks there is something wrong with us as neither of our cats are lap cats) she is sweet and cuddly sitting NEXT to you when she chooses. Oh yes, she is the queen of our household. She’s very good at playing/rough-housing with you using only her paws, keeping her claws to herself. Occasionally, you get the nibble bite, but very little blood loss has occurred.
Now for the bragging mommy part. Some fun facts about Cali:
- Prefers to drink from a cup rather than a bowl.
- Say the word “treats” and she quickly runs to the office (the dispensing location) and sits in her spot waiting for you to get a move on and drop the treats.
- Has classic older-child syndrome. Loves to pound on her little sister, but when the tables are turned she’s a wimp and a half. (As an older-child myself, I sheepishly have to admit this to be a true syndrome.)
- Is your best friend while you’re eating cereal, just for the chance of getting to lick a little milk out of the bowl when you’re done.
- Favorite cat toys include: balls she can bat around, “flicky tabs” (coils of plastic that fling out of her paws (plastic tab from gallon milk jugs have been known to also work), anything with cat nip, and Q-tips.
- LOVES to sun bake. (But really, what cat doesn’t.)
- Will choose her daddy over me any day. (Okay, at the risk of crossing over the crazy-cat-lady line, I’m willing to share that on a couple occasions I SWEAR she meowed “Daddy” through the window when my husband was doing yard work and she missed him. My husband thought I was crazy too, until he heard it. This was an anomaly only occurring a few times though – so no cool cat-turns-YouTube-sensation-turns-millionaire moment for me.)
- Is secretly a rabbit. LOVES lettuce, and has been known to come running at the sound of grapes being washed in case one should fall on the floor and she could play with it.
- Thinks she is much smaller than she really is and tries to fit herself into the tiniest of places. Tiny boxes, or in this case…in the 5-6 inches between the two shelves of this table.
Portland a.k.a. Po a.k.a. Mommy’s Little Monster
Po is mostly a mommy’s girl. She’s easily frightened, which is common for tortoise shell calicoes (so we’ve been told – which eases our minds that we haven’t traumatized this poor kitty), and does not like to be around anyone other than me and my husband. Seriously, bolts (not runs..BOLTS) and hides whenever anyone comes over. We adopted her during one of those pet adoption days at the pet store. She was teeny…they guess somewhere between 6-10 months old and about 4 pounds…and scared out of her wits! Apparently, she was from a litter of about 10 cats and all of her siblings were supposed to be brought in that day, but somehow she was separated from all of them and was all alone. I made the wonderful mistake of holding her. And feeling her shake like a leaf. And knew right then she was coming home with us. (This is also why I don’t hold any cats up for adoption, cuz I’m a sucker and I’m sure I’d have a hundred cats by now.)
So now some fun facts about Po:
- As mentioned earlier, neither of our cats are lap cats – unless I put a blanket on my lap and then Po will come curl up with me. It’s the cutest – thing – ever! I’ve been known to sit in this position for hours (even “holding it” even though I really had to go) just because I think it’s the warmest, sweetest, thing.
- Turns into heavy lump when she sleeps, which at night means I can hardly move because she’s sleeping on my legs.
- Has an unexplainable fear of those cat toys that are a feather or string on the end of a stick. Bolts as soon as you pick one up. (We are saddened at the thought that this might be due to some early kittihood abuse, but would have hoped after 8 years as part of our family she would know that we would NEVER hurt her.)
- Loves any people food she can get her paws on especially pizza crust and chips. Oooohh she LOVES chips. She will saunter up next to us while we’re eating, looking all cute, and even poking you on the shoulder (or face) with her cute little paw to let you know she is there and willing to eat anything you’ll give her.
- Has taken over the leather chair as HER chair. Seriously, she will sit next to you and stare at you until you get up so she can immediately jump in and stake her claim.
- Will poke at my face and nibble my hand or arm to wake me up if I am not awake to serve her. It’s much better than an alarm clock, but still.
- Currently bordering on hating us for moving her to Texas…land of many very loud thunder storms. (Did I mention she’s super skittish?)
And this brings me back to this morning….at 7am (did I mention it’s Saturday?)…when Po decided I had slept long enough and it was time for treats. They have a routine, and they know that whoever gets up first gives them treats. Seriously, Po knows the pattern so well, that she wakes me up and runs to the bathroom, looking back at me to lure me in because she knows that I first must use the facilities. After which she leads me to the kitchen to get the treats, and then mosies into the office for the dispensing of the treats. But seriously, I wanted (no, I NEEDED) to be able to sleep in today. This is partly how Po got her nickname of being Mommy’s Little Monster. It’s just so cute, right? But that first time I gave in to getting out of bed on HER schedule and not my own…when I gave her that little piece of pizza crust because she tapped me on the shoulder and nuzzled my face…she knew she had control and I was as good as wrapped around her paw.
But it’s all worth it. Because I love being a cat mommy. I can’t imagine our lives without them. For people who don’t have pets, you may not understand, but they are our children. And we even love to just watch them sleep.