My litter of pussies totals four bundles of fur that I can't imagine a day without, and one little angel that will always be with us.
Here is my mama-bragging page where I get to swoon and drool all over my kitties and share them with other cat lovers out there.
Gia, Her Royal Highness
I fell in love with Gia the second I laid eyes on her. She was a big, fluffy, long-haired raven beauty with apple-green eyes and I was instantly smitten.
It was August 2001 and I'd been searching for "the perfect cat" to be my companion in the new apartment I was just settling into (my first all on my own) when a co-worker suggested we head down to Pet Smart on our lunch break and look at the for-adoption kitties. I saw Gia, but was nervous about making any hasty decisions; also, we had to be back to work soon.
I sat at work for less than an hour before the fear that someone else would scoop her up before I could get back to her overwhelmed me, and I called Pet Smart and told them I wanted her and would be in after work to pick her up. They agreed to hold her for me.
When I came back, they led me into the room with the cat cages and the guy opened her cage door for me. I squatted down and smiled at her.
"Hi, pretty girl. Would you like to come live with me?"
She came right towards the open door and let the guy deposit her into the box. It wasn't until later that I realized the true importance of this moment - because Gia is terribly shy and skittish; the idea that she'd come to a stranger or allow herself to be picked up and placed in a box by one so calmly amazes me still today. She had chosen her home.
At this time, I also accquired a sweetly persistant male cat named JoJo (see below).
Gia - spelled Ghia before I changed its spelling - was listed as a 2 year-old stray rescued by the good folks at A.P.A.W.S.; a note on her cage said she'd been found, with her kittens, in some old tires in a tire store. It is obvious that Gia was once a house cat, because, though skittish, she is used to people and very much comfortable in the surroudings of a home. (The nicer the better, thankyouverymuch).
Gia is a gorgeous, regal lady - very dainty, except when the need arises to kick butt (something she is amazingly adept at). JoJo, typical of any younger brother, drove her near to insanity with his picking before Gilly - then Maggie and Max came along.
She generally keeps to herself, though chooses to graces us with her presence when she feels like a little loving, or feels the food bowl is too low. She sounds haughty, but she really is the sweetest thing - her airs are part of her character, but don't detract from how charming and lovely she is to be around.
She is a quiet, good-natured lady - though I often feel she would have preferred to have resided in a one (her) cat home. JoJo and her have never gotten along (except for our time with Gilly), but she tolerates Maggie and Max amazingly well.
Gia can be talkative, in her way, usually making sweet little cooing noises that sound more dove-like than cat-like as opposed to actual meowing. I would love to record some of her little dove coos - they are the sweetest, cutest sounding thing ever!
We love our Gia, our little Queen, with all our hearts. I am forever grateful that she chose me that August day seven years ago to be her new family.
JoJo, The Main Man
The note hanging on his cage door read "Sweet little man with lots of love to give" - more apt they could not have been.
The note said JoJo, 9 months old at the time, had been returned to Cat Haven because his human had been diagnosed with a brain tumor. I never learned what happened to Jo's first human companion, yet I've always imagined them to have been kind-hearted and loving to the nth degree - a near-smothering, joyful love that was passed onto and learned by a little black kitten named JoJo.
Never one to be flustered, Jo was walking back and forth in his cage, leisurely almost, rubbing on the bars. He looked at me and meowed as if he knew I was to be his new family. If that be true, he knew it before I did!
I had come to adopt Gia (see above), but JoJo - in a cage above and to the right of hers - was talking to me and purring through his bars; it was impossible not to notice him.
He wasn't being ostentatious or blatant about it either - just that slow, sweet way that he has that says "Hi there, I think I love you - let's share rubs". Anyone who's ever stepped foot inside my home can attest to Jo's affable yet indolent nature; he isn't aggressive, but he has enough love to fill a few rooms full of people and simply enjoys sharing it.
I commented something - I no longer now remember what - about this interesting cat, and the young man who was assisting me in adopting Gia said suddenly, "You want him, too?"
It seemed preposterous at the time - I had a small place, I'd just moved in - two cats seemed a much bigger responsibility to take on than just one and I was already living on meager means. I simply couldn't even consider it...yet before I knew it I heard my voice saying, "Yes, yes, I guess so."
I looked at Jo - he looked at me and meowed (he's quite a talkative bugger) - and all doubt was erased. This cat and I were meant to share a life and home.
It took a long time, I will admit, for Jo and I to truly bond. I have always loved him - though his passionate and often quirky ways took some getting used to. I came to realize that the things that aggravated me most about him were things I saw in myself; things that often aggravated others. In truth, Jo and I were simply too much alike.
The truth is, JoJo has an undying, unconditional, unfaltering, love and devotion to me that is amazing to behold. When I am ill, and the times I have been laid up at home for weeks after surgeries, he stays by my side and in my bed until I am well. If he hears me crying, he comes running - a worried look on his face - and will reach out a single paw and touch my cheek, looking at me so concerned. He'll nuzzle and love me until I feel better.
In 2005, on June 12, our JoJo went missing. He'd gone outside when Baret had come home, but was not there ready to come back in when I got there 30 minutes later - as was our custom. He usually went no further than our little fenced-in patio, or around the house and to the front door. We called and called - but nighttime came and went, and there was no JoJo.
We searched door-to-door for days and put flyers around the neighborhood. We called shelters to see if he'd accidentally been brought in; we did everything we could think to do. By time July 13 - a month and a day - had passed, we were painfully resigned to the fact that our JoJo - the heart of our home - was gone.
I can't begin to describe the emptiness that had enveloped our home during his absence; I realized just how vital he was to our lives and the happiness of our home - JoJo has so much love and life in him.
When a neighbor we had only met in passing - that lived directly across from us - phoned to say she thought she'd found our cat, we didn't believe it. We'd been on a few such false hopes before, and it never turned out to be our Jo. Besides, it had been a month; surely he was gone for good.
This time, however, was different. Jo had apparently gotten stuck under another neighbor's decking and couldn't get out. His underbelly was rubbed free of fur, and we surmise he survived on bugs and rainwater. After some coaxing and pulling, Baret was able to free him from his small, cramped prison and just as quick as that - our sweetheart was home.
We brought him to the vet the next day, and I took off the rest of the week to stay home with him as he was still very skittish for the next few days. I held him and let him sleep for hours, petting him and thanking all the gods that he'd come back to us.
Jo is now - as of this writing in Sep 2007 - seven years old, happy, quirky, loving as always. He's the same old Jo - he seems to hold no residual ill effects of his month-long vanishing - with just a few extra pounds on him. He is still the light and life of our home and I count my blessings every day to have such a unique, wonderful cat as part of our little family.
Maggie, Our Sweet Girl
We remained a two-cat home for many years after Gilly's death, but I was ready to re-extend our family. Baret was not; the pain of Gilly's death was so painful that he was fearful of falling in love with new kitties knowing he'd have to lose them someday.
At work, near the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, a co-worker found two kittens on the compound where I work. Knowing I was a cat-person, they contacted me about adopting one of the two little sisters.
I called Baret and pleaded - and, to my surprise, he relented. That evening I brough home the fluffiest, sweetest-looking little kitten I'd ever seen. Maggie is - and was - our only non-black cat (a completely accidental phenomenon).
She has grown into a beautiful, long-haired kitty with one of the sweetest dispositions. She makes little noises, similar to Gia's coos, but they're just sweet little mews as opposed to Gia's dove-calls.
She's Daddy's Little Girl - she is completely smitten with Baret, and he is with her. There are special meows, rubbings, and lovings that she keeps reserved for Daddy only. She has him wrapped around her fluffy, little tail, too; Maggie gets away with more than of the other cats.
Not that there's much to "get away" with. She was mischevious kitten, but has calmed down considerably as she reached the year mark. She and Max are the best of pals, and spend most of their time frolicking and playing together - most loudly, of course, around 3 a.m.
Maggie Fuu is our sweet little angel; she's beautiful and loving, and I cannot imagine our home without her as a part of it.
Max, Badness Incarnate
Baret has now said that if anyone at work contacts me about a kitten needing a home, he will come after them, lol.
A lady at work had adopted a kitten for her daughter, and somehow overnight realized said daughter was allergic to cats (and she really wanted a puppy). She sent an email out to all the cat-lovers in the agency saying a sweet, little black kitten - about 6 weeks old - needed a good home.
I had been pushing my luck with Maggie; I knew I'd never convince Baret to let me bring another cat home. I, myself, wasn't thrilled at the prospect of a four-cat home - but there was something I felt that made me push all trepidation aside. I felt so very strongly, deep in my heart, that this kitty was meant to be part of our little family. I felt it so strongly, I cried at the thought that I might not be able to get him.
After some phone calls and pleading, the lady brought this rough n' tumble black kitten to my office. He was - to my dismay - another long-hair, and it was obvious he was covered in fleas, had worms, and suffered from ringworm. I knew bringing him into our home was going to be problematic for awhile - and regardless of our best efforts to prevent it, all the kitties ended up with ringworm and fleas.
Now, months later, everyone is healthy and happy, and Max is a silky-furred, stocky little man - quickly growing and causing fun terror to everyone in the house.
For all his badness - and trust me, he's a typical bad kitten - he is a ray of sunshine and so very sweet. He loves people, everyone that walks in the door is his friend, and he loves all of his older siblings. He and Maggie are especially close.
We are completely smitten with our little man, and are so thankful for all the fun and smiles he has brought into our lives.
Gillian, Our Angel
My sweet Gillian; it still hurts to write about her - all these years later.
I adopted Gilly from a co-worker/friend who had found her in the backyard being thrashed around in a dog's mouth. She was unharmed, but shook up.
I already had Gia and JoJo and really wasn't looking to expand my kitty family; my apartment wasn't that big and I was already living paycheck-to-paycheck. Yet I was told if I didn't adopt her, she'd be brought to the pound or dropped off somewhere. And so, I went to pick up this fragile, sickly little kitten from my friend's home the next day.
Gilly was so small, and so sick. She had the usual fleas and worms, and a horrible case of ringworm making huge patches of her hair fall out; so bad was it on her tail that the vet we brought her to felt for a time it would have to be removed. She cried a lot but depended on me; at her sickest she simply wanted me to hold her. Despite her illness, she was a sweet kitten and it was impossible not to love her.
She won my heart unequivocally and forever after we'd left her at the vet - they'd bathed her harshly and scrubbed all the dead, ringwormed skin off of her; it needed to be done. When we came back to pick her up, a nurse walked out with this damp, limp little kitten in her arms.
"Oh, my poor baby!" I exclaimed, seeing her in such a sad state.
At the sound of my voice, her head shot up, her eyes found me and she suddenly used every little bit of strength she had left to scramble from that nurse's arms into mine. She loved me and needed me, and I loved and needed her.
Months later, she was a happy and healthy kitten - perhaps even happier for the knowledge of how ill she'd been before. She was a ray of pure sunshine, love, and joy in our home - even Gia and JoJo mended their constant fighting and, together, doted on and pampered their little sister. They never fought while she was alive; in fact, they even appeared to like one another.
When she was old enough, I brought her to the vet to get fixed - and, as required, they gave her a FeLV test. I got the call at work; Gilly was positive.
The vet suggested I put her down immediately, but I couldn't even entertain the thought of ending her life prematurely when she was perfectly healthy and happy at this time. There was also the fear that Gia and Jo could contract the disease. I had a lot of big decisions to make.
Finally, I decided to keep our family together and to keep Gilly for as long as she was happy, healthy, and enjoying life. It was the best decision for us all; Gia and Jo were kept vaccinated for FeLV and tested regularly. To this day, neither has the disease.
We had our angel with us for another joyous three years before she got sick - and she was, to date, the happiest little cat I have ever met. She loved her home, her family, her siblings - she simply loved life.
I won't go into details about her death, but will give the brief synopsis. She was rushed to vet ER's twice in the early morning a.m., and then landed - for a week - hospitalized at AVS in Baton Rouge (next to Greco's). I called and checked on her, and we went to visit with her daily after work. At the week's end, they told us they could do no more and she was suffering. She was bloated and could not eat or drink. We made the decision to ease her pain and suffering. It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do in my life. At the last, all she wanted to do - as she had when she was a sick, little kitten - was to be held in my arms.
We have her ashes in a little chest; her collar and nametag which they removed moments after she left us, sits on top of it. We miss her.
Time spent with cats is never wasted.
- Sigmund Freud.