The Defiant Cat

defiant cat

It’s hard to believe that it will soon be a year since we rescued Volta and his brother, Ampere.

I suppose it was fate that brought us together that night. My cancer diagnosis was still new, and the surgery to implant my port was just a few days away. So we went for an evening drive to play Ingress and Pokemon Go, just to escape the badness that had only begun.

We found these two hot and scared little kittens in the middle of the park that night. Volta, small and yet brave, stood in the middle of the street, meowing for help. My husband scooped him up even as we heard the pitiful cries from his brother echoing in the storm drain.

A car drove by several times and parked farther up the street, watching us as we struggled to coax Ampere out of the darkness. Finally, finally, they were safe with us.

Since then, strong, sparky Volta has grown into a defiant cat, ruling the roost, so to speak. He loves to dominate and annoy the other cats, caring little when he is disciplined for his behavior.

Volta has matured and mellowed a bit over the past year, but he is certainly obstinate.

He reminds me of a feral cat who had a run-in with our little Anakin so many years ago. So that Anakin could survey our fenced-in yard at our old house, my husband had placed a chair in the middle of the yard. Anakin would sit on that chair, happily enjoying the sunshine.

One afternoon, however, I heard Anakin barking angrily. I ran outside to find that feral cat–obviously a tom who paid little attention to dogs or man–sitting defiantly on Anakin’s chair. The cat ignored Anakin’s barking, really seeming to relish the fact that he was disturbing our Shih-tzu.

I shooed the cat away so that Anakin could have some peace, but I had to admire the strength of that cat.

And now we have our own defiant cat, one who tests our patience each and every day. Although he often disrupts the quiet in our household, I’m not sure how we ever lived without him.

A Tail of Two Kitties

grant-and-ampere-for-blog
Grant (above) and Ampere (below)

(Yes, I did use “tail” intentionally.)

When we first rescued the kittens last year, I had just been diagnosed with cancer and was already overwhelmed. Taking in the two little street urchins–they had been abandoned in one of the parks here in our city–seemed too much at the time. But take them in we did, and they took over our hearts in the process.

We knew they would impact the already existing cat “culture” of our house, and it was certainly a long, extended introduction. There were many hissing fits at first, but with patience and time, those have lessened, with general acceptance and peace in the household.

One thing that was pleasantly surprising was the friendship between Grant and Ampere. Both are lovable and amiable, laid back in their approach to life. They just want to love and be loved.

And with each other they’ve found a kindred spirit of sorts, a haven from the bullying that they both receive from Ampere’s brother, Volta. (He has become the dominant cat even though he is the smallest of them all; he’s quite a force to be reckoned with.)

Even more happily, Ampere has brought out the kitten in Grant, who is about 5 years his senior. Grant and Ampere love to run and play together, creating quite a ruckus. Before Ampere, Grant had rarely played since his first year in our home, but now it’s a daily occurrence.

Both rescue kitties, Grant and Ampere have become fast friends, two kitties who have found happiness with each other.

Catnip Mice and Me

Catnip Mice and MeSince I have become a cat lady, much of my life seems to be devoted to caring for cats, whether in real life or in my Second Life. Spending so much time with them, I’ve learned a thing or two over the years. For example, cats generally enjoy variety, and they will typically do as they wish.

One of the most important things that Katniss has taught me, though, is that some catnip mice are particularly special.

When we first brought Katniss and Grant home from the humane society, I purchased a big pack of the mice as I was uncertain what they might like. We scattered a few on the floor and attempted to entice our new arrivals with the catnip toys. After awhile I noticed a pattern. While Grant played with any mouse, Katniss had chosen to play with only one.

Three years later, nothing has changed.

As that mouse has gotten more ragged, we’ve purchased other mice, but they quickly wound up in a forgotten heap in the corner of our living room. Like the Highlander, there can be only one catnip mouse in our house, at least for Katniss.

Cat mom that I am, I found myself with some anxiety one day when I realized that her mouse was on its last legs. Unfortunately, I couldn’t remember where I had purchased that original bag of mice. With a bit of searching on the internet, I finally found a replacement. Yes, I did indeed spend about 30 minutes researching and finally ordering catnip mice.

But will she accept a brand new mouse, even if it’s identical? I have yet to find out.

Her favorite catnip mouse is still hanging in there, providing her with hours of enjoyment. Frayed and worn, it still has its shape and stuffing. Let’s hope it has enough life for many more fun hours to come.

Continuing Stories from a Cat Household

Katniss Gives the Home Her Seal of Approval
Katniss Gives the Home Her Seal of Approval

I suppose we should have expected this. Word has apparently gotten around the neighborhood among the local cats that our house is a safe haven. With the cushy outdoor house, ready food and water, and loving people, what cat could resist? And indeed they have taken us up on our generosity, livening up our lives in the process.

It all started with the cat we call Toby. He had been hunting in our garden over the summer. Over the course of a few weeks, my husband managed to befriend him. At that time, we put out food and water each day for Toby, and he showed his gratitude with tail shakes and affection.

Little did we know at the time, though, that he would spread the word. Soon he arrived at our home one morning with a friend, Sally, She immediately took to us, claiming us as her home and family. She became a permanent fixture at our household; she would be waiting for us outside at every time of the day. Purring and pushing against our legs, she managed to find her way into our hearts, and she received daily love and food in return.

Now, those two have evidently spread the word among the neighborhood cats, and so we have another kiddo who comes daily. An orange and white kitty that we call Patches. We first saw him one morning; he was cold and bedraggled, very skinny with poor fur. With regular food, he has become quite the looker, more healthy with sleek fur. And he has even trusted my husband enough to pet him occasionally. He comes around regularly for food, water, and just some time alone in a safe place.

Yes, and we have had other cats come visit our home in the past week. Perhaps needless to say, we no longer get the opportunity to bird watch with all of the cats around. But we can have the good feeling of taking care of cats who are hungry and overlooked. Too, they give us a lot as well. Who would turn down head boops from thankful kitties?

If you want some inspiration for your own insulated cat home, then take a gander at my article:

Frugal and Homemade Winter House for Stray Cats