I’ve always been a cat person, and fur babies have been a part of my life since I was a kid. I love their grace, their quirks, their independence. I’ve even written five novels about cats. Most of the writers I know have cats. We sorta go together: writing is a solitary job and cats are solitary creatures.
Every cat who has owned me has been a stray or an orphan. I believe they make the best pets. It’s as if they know you’ve saved them. Our current cat, Rosie, showed up starving and dehydrated last summer. Before that, Gypsy showed up starving and meowing all day. Before that, Pandora was an abandoned kitten we had to bottle feed. Before that … well, you get the idea. Our home is the Statue of Liberty for cats. Give me your tired, your hungry, your huddled masses of fur.
Every time one of our cats crosses the Rainbow Bridge, another magically shows up. It’s like there’s some invisible sign at our house telling them we have an “opening” for a cat.
A couple weeks ago we heard a cat meowing constantly. Sure enough, another starving stray. I called to the tabby and she immediately came to me. I could feel her ribs as I petted her. So we fed her and she started showing up a couple times each day for something to eat. She was a very sweet cat that loved attention.
Cats are grateful when you help them, so five days later she brought me some presents. First, she came up to the deck with a tabby kitten. A few minutes later she brought a Siamese. Then a gray kitten. Then another Siamese. My wife corralled the kittens and brought them inside along with the mother cat to our sunroom to keep them safe. (Cat herding is a very real thing. The cowboys on "Yellowstone" couldn’t do it.)
Meanwhile, our cat Rosie was giving me the death stare. I am the queen of this house. How dare you bring other cats here! You gave away my sunroom?
So Rosie’s cat tree got moved to my office, a room she’s been dying to enter since we got her. She calmed down and loves her new hangout with a big picture window offering a channel of Cat TV showing "Real Squirrels of Alabama."
Meanwhile, we now had four kittens, which looked to be about a month old. They were thin and still nursing. After a couple weeks with plenty of food for mom, they’ve gained weight and look very healthy. The mother cat (we really need to give her a name) has also gained weight. We let her out every day when the weather’s nice so she can enjoy the sunshine and get a break from her now rambunctious children, who are more fun to watch than anything on television. We plan to keep the mother cat and get her spayed as soon as she’s done raising the kittens.
And we have to find forever homes for them. I’m not going to sit in a parking lot with a “free kittens” sign because you don’t know if people will be sincere in adopting a cat for life. So I’ll drop a photo with our vet and pass the word.
It’s funny how cats seem to come to our house when they’re in trouble. The other day my wife wondered out loud, “I think cats can pray to God when they need help.” Maybe so. Sure seems to make sense.
I didn’t write this to make myself look like a saint. There are plenty of people out there who do a lot more, running animal rescue organizations or fostering sick pets. I just thought I’d share the wonderful feeling you get when you save an animal. The mother cat looks right into my soul with her emerald green eyes, as if saying “thank you.”
But it makes me wonder. You know how every town seems to have a “crazy cat lady” who has a horde of felines? Given what I just said, does this make me a “crazy cat guy?”
I already have a starter kit. I mean, male cat lovers should have equality!
Randy Tatano is the author of more than 20 novels, writing political thrillers under the pen name Nick Harlow and romantic comedies as Nic Tatano. He spent 30 years working in television news as a local affiliate reporter and network field producer.
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