Monday, March 05, 2012

I've always been a cat person. There are cat stereotypes... that they're independent, unsociable, aloof, only sleep and eat, etc. etc. while dogs are "man's best friend" and infinitely more intelligent and loving. Vastly unfair to the feline population, if I say so myself. Like dogs, cats have very unique personalities, as I've come to learn. Due to the average lifespan of a cat (~ 15 years), my current, relatively short time on Earth (nearly 26 years), and the fact that I only enjoy having one cat at a time, I've had 3 cats in my life. Each completely different in personality. This here post is a little cat story time. I promise I'll try to keep it entertaining... even if you hate cats (shame shame).

First cat I had was Prudy, short for Prudence. My parents had her before I was born and she stuck around until I was 9, at which point my brother and his friend chased her into the woods from which she never returned. I don't remember her much but there are a couple of awesome, somewhat unbelievable stories of hers that certainly help give evidence to the "cats have 9 lives" theory. In fact, when I was in second grade I wrote out 2 of her stories, accompanied them with a lovely little crayon drawing of Prudy, and entered them into an "awesome pet stories" contest my local movie theater was having as a promotion for the 1994 flop "Monkey Trouble". It won me a free sundae at Baskin Robbins (1st place) and a Monkey Trouble T-Shirt (2nd place). I was pleased. I was also probably the only child who entered.

Anyways, first story... I was driving my younger brother to pre-school which was a short 5 or so minute drive from my house. Well, my dad was driving... since I was only 6 or 7 at the time I was merely along for the ride. We get out of the car and hear a cat meowing. Being an avid cat lover, and a curious individual, I proceed to look for the source of the mews. Who do I find? None other than Prudy, sitting on the exhaust pipe of the car. Our conclusion? She hopped on the exhaust pipe at home (she was the only outdoor/indoor cat of the ones I've had), and balanced like only a cat can for the 5 minute drive. Nothing else made sense. Thinking back to it now I think this may be a warped memory of some sort since I don't think there's physically enough room for even a mouse, never mind an adult cat, to fit on top of an exhaust pipe. Maybe she was on the roof or trunk and no one noticed? I'm sure it made an interesting view for any other cars that passed by us on that short drive. But she was not IN the car, unless my memory is seriously warped or my dad was playing a bizarre trick on us... regardless, it's a pretty fun story. Not sure if that one won 1st or 2nd place. haha

2nd Prudy story... she apparently liked to jump up and sit on a particular windowsill at our old old house. One hot summer day we opened the window and when she jumped up she didn't realize the glass was open and she fell right out. To add to the drama, apparently our old pool used to be right outside of said window and she landed in the water. This story took place either before I was born or when I was younger than 4, aka before my memory really kicked in. I'm fairly certain this one was at least exaggerated. She probably jumped up, was confused by the open window, and stumbled a bit, nearly falling out... nevertheless, the falling into the pool bit became cat legend in our house. One of those stories that my parents have told so many times that by now they may even believe it really happened. Children are gullible so I of course, ate it up. But who knows? Maybe she did go swimming that day.

On to 2nd cat, Missy. Missy was my baby. My uncle got her for me as a surprise (even to my mother, who wasn't too pleased),  shortly after my parents separated and I wrote a "Why I Deserve a Cat" essay for my mom. Can you tell I enjoyed writing? Can you tell I was a huge nerd? The commercial below made me laugh when it came out because if I had been born 10 years later this SO would have been me (side note: yes, though I'm "young" the entirety of my elementary school years were pre-internet. Powerpoint was a newfangled program teachers had to learn about, never mind incorporate in the classroom, when I was a child... I used a typewriter when I was young, admittedly though it was an odd childhood obsession with nostalgia thing rather than a necessity... we did have the giant gray Mac computer with the black screen and green font, but I remember the excitement of FINALLY getting dial-up internet at home when I was 14. I look younger than I am. end side note.)

But yes, Missy was my love, and she with me from age 11 to 24... through the divorce, emotions surrounding leaving my father, the ups and downs of relationships & love, depression, college, first "real" job and all those crazy adolescent years of growing up. Pets are lovely companions, and this is especially true for introverted individuals such as myself. She was my confidant and friend. End of sappy cheesy comments. Not many people liked Missy, to be honest, and she didn't care for many people besides me. She hated to be picked up, preferred to be alone (though appreciative of company when it was her who initiated the contact), and regularly took swings at people (and dogs) who invaded her space. Perhaps what's most disturbing about all this is that people often said she was just like me, or that I trained her to be evil. Lovely compliment. However, her overall temperament and typical behavior with others made her affectionate nature with me all the more special. Losing her was the hardest loss I've had to go through yet in my life, which I am somewhat ashamed to admit, but I suppose it makes me very lucky. I still think about her every day and wish she were here.

Cat #3, Luna cat, could not be more different in personality than Missy. Missy rarely exhibited "kitten behavior" while Luna is the most playful, curious cat I've encountered. Missy's favorite word was "hiss" while one of Luna's nicknames is "purrball" because she purrs the minute she sees you. Luna loves to be held and petted, and her curious nature earned her the additional nickname of "disaster cat"... bathroom doors must remain shut if we don't want toilet paper all over the house, bags must be closed tightly if we don't want their contents strewn across the room, and glasses of water must be carefully attended if we don't wish to share our beverage. She manages to find pieces of paper and plastic around our (relatively) clean home and is often spotted trotting around the house with them in her mouth. I've seen her attempt to climb into the trash can multiple times to find something to play with. The other day the kitchen floor became a pond because she decided to go into her water dish, splash around to the extent that, like I said, the entire floor was like a pond and required three bath towels to mop up. Just to top it off she left a trail of wet paw prints around the rest of the house. The other week she jumped onto a counter, knocked over a dish of lollipops and batted them around the house. After cleaning it all up she jumped back up, picked up one in her mouth, jumped down and batted the one around the house as if to say "okay, if I can't have them all I will settle for one". Her other favorite activities include sticking out her tongue and sitting in bags and boxes. The pictures below are only a sample... if I was more crafty and had more time on my hands I could totally turn this into a themed "cat in a bag" scrapbook.

Since Luna is so curious by nature I'm constantly keeping tabs on where she is and what she's doing. The other week I couldn't find her after checking all of her usual hiding places. I resorted to getting ice from the fridge (she loves the sound of the ice machine and usually comes running, hopeful that a piece of ice will fall for her to bat around the floor). When this didn't work either I got nervous. Instinctively, I opened the front door. There she was, sitting on the porch, like she had just rung the doorbell and was waiting for me to let her in. She meowed at the sight of my face and instantly walked right inside when I opened the door. She is an indoor cat. I had definitely seen her since I had gotten home and no one else entered or left the house since so I had no idea how she got outside. After weighing out several impossible scenarios and some investigation I realized she went out the doggie door, onto the back deck. Missy was never strong enough to do this, but Luna has so much energy it wouldn't surprise me if she took a running charge at the thing to get outside. Anyways, she went out the doggie door, onto the back deck, jumped up onto the railing (2 stories up, so if she fell off good luck to her), walked along the railing to where the baby gate was to keep our dog on the deck, jumped over the baby gate onto the stairs below it and thus effectively made her way outside into the real world. Once we discovered her tactics we had to MacGyver this creation out of lattice fence material that made our deck look like a DIY project gone wrong to prevent her from escaping again. Thus far there have been no additional attempted escapes. Thank goodness I had the instinct to open the front door, and that she happened to be right there, and eager to come back inside. Though Luna has only been with us for 5 months she already has created more stories for herself than I have time or desire to share. Thus, this cat inspired blog is ending awkwardly now... well, after this video of the attack cat Luna with our dog Hercules.