We have an accidental trio of cats (I was aiming for just one…).
I’m a dog person, so the journey to this feline-dominated landscape was unexpected and unintended.
When our high-maintenance Schnauzer-Welsh Terrier, Spencer Doodle, passed away, he was survived by a then 15-year-old Cosmo Quasimodo, a stray cat that we took in when the kids were little. That cat was raised by the previous dog, Chloe Patches, and behaved, well, more like a dog than a cat. (Why, yes. We gift our pets with a middle name. They are family members, after all…)
Cosmo lived a few more years, and then he, too, crossed the Rainbow Bridge, leaving me petless for the first time in nearly two decades. I was in the throes of caring for aging family members and, quite frankly, lost my mind.
Less than 24 hours after Cosmo passed, I adopted Stella Marie, a long-haired, quirky little lady cat from a shelter. Because I couldn’t even stand the thought of coming home after hospital visits, grocery runs, and pharmacy fiascos to a house without a critter.
A few weeks later, the Adult-ish Man Child decided he’d like to adopt a cat of his own. We welcomed Amara Mino, a diluted tortoise determined to live up to her name based on the Supernatural character, The Sister of God, and the name the shelter had given her—Mino (but I think they spelled it Mean-O). Adult-ish Man Child has since moved out and adopted Castiel Monroe, a demon of a black cat who comes to “visit Ma’s house” frequently—on those days, we have four kitties and even fewer brain cells than usual.
A few months later, Adult-ish Girl Child brings me a trio of three malnourished kittens found on the street in less-than-loving conditions. I intended to nurse them back to health and then send them to a friend’s farm where they would be cared for and have all the fresh mousy kills they desired. The females went along with this plan and thrived. But Malachi Maxwell intended never to learn how to cat appropriately, be as pitiful as possible at anything cat-ish, and worm his way into our house.
No farm life for him, thank you very much.
They do quite well under our roof. Healthy, happy. Amara has a spring collection, which she stores under the couch. Stella has a chirpy pumpkin toy that she carries up and down the hallway at night while she sings the song of her people. Malachi has a curtain sheer he’s claimed as his own, so he can wrap up and think about things (not a real cat, remember?).
They have all the kibble they desire. Fresh water—two bowls. Fresh litter boxes—two full bathrooms, thank you very much. Twice a day, five a.m. and five p.m., we human slaves bust open a can of Tuna Feast in Gravy for them to share. They’re living the American Dream.
As good as they’ve got it, one—or all three—of these four-legged moochers occasionally forget their indoor kitty status.
They like to hover close to the porch door, peeking out into the backyard. They like to hover near the utility room door as I bring in groceries—more Tuna Feast in Gravy or Hairball Control Kibble for, you guessed it, indoor kitties.
One day, I didn’t get the utility door latched, and the wind blew it open. The furry trio decided to go on walkabout before I could intervene.
Stella Marie: Three steps into the garage, she stayed in the buffer zone between the utility room door and the great beyond. She circled the lawn mower, cried out, and ran back into the house on her own. In her previous life, this gal had been shot and left with a litter of kittens under someone’s porch, so it didn’t take long for her to remember the outside was not kind to her.
Malachi Maxwell: This confused soul wandered into the landscaping just outside the garage and screamed his fool head off, having no idea how to backtrack to safety. He nearly jumped into my arms, shivering.
Amara Mino: The chonky deity feared nothing, felt no shame, and was happy to show me how far she’d ventured. I scooped her up from under the pine trees, and she complained bitterly, her razor toes exposed all the way back in the house. Stella and Malachi did not greet Amara, the pair glaring at me like I should’ve left her out there (she’s a brute to them).
But, she’s an inside kitty because she’d caused so much trouble in town at several businesses. She landed herself in animal shelter jail with a public nuisance charge.
Alas, because our cats have short- and long-term memory issues, the concept of “You’re an inside kitty now” must be reviewed and explained in detail, depending on the nature of the wannabe escapee.
“You’re an inside kitty, now. You’ll miss your springs, Amara Mino.”
“You’re an inside kitty, now. You’ll miss your pumpkin, Stella Marie.”
“You’re an inside kitty, now. You’ll miss your emotional support curtain, Malachi Maxwell.”
And all of them are reminded how five a.m. and five p.m. mean something quite different “on the outside.”
Recently, I was a vendor at the Tri-State Food Truck Battle. All three cats decided to peek into the garage as I was loading up the books for this outdoor event. All three cats were, as outlined above, reminded to stay in the house.
At the festival, I sat my tables up with my paperback inventory under a tent, a simple setup that was upset by a rogue gust of wind ripping through the vendor section, tossing tents and tabletop products all over the place.
Including the books.
It looked like something out of a cartoon. Pop, pop, pop went the tents all down my row. Pop, pop, pop went the books off my table, one at a time, like a honked-off poltergeist having a temper tantrum.
As we packed up afterward, I noticed the books that had landed in the grass were not in the best shape—I’d most certainly lose inventory from that incident. I spent the next day cleaning and sorting—it wasn’t as bad as I’d feared, but it did teach me a lesson.
I’ll do bookstores, libraries, and conventions for author meet-and-greets or book signings. But it’ll take a special kind of outside event to get this dog-person-turned-cat-lady to venture out into the great beyond with its windy winds, sunny sun, and other elementy elements.
Alas, once in a while, because I have short- and long-term memory issues, someone may need to explain in detail:
“You’re an inside kitty, now, B.A. Paul. You’re missing your sanity…”