I have to admit, life with cats is relatively new to me. I didn’t grow up with cats and only had one dog when I was young. I always liked cats and got to play with some of the neighbor’s kittens, but my parents were not big fans of cats of any kind. They didn’t want a cat hanging around the house and definitely didn’t want one inside. A family of five in a 675-square-foot house was challenging enough. Knowing what I know now, I think we definitely missed out.
My real first exposure to cats was when my wife, Kim, and I first started dating the spring before high school. Each day after school I would visit her at her house. She had a beautiful sealpoint Siamese named Little Bit, who was light brown with a black face and beautiful blue eyes. She was long and lean and very elegant. She mostly kept to herself, except when you rattled her kibble container. She would then run as fast as she could toward you, talking up a storm the entire time. She would eat her kibbles, groom herself, and then retreat to her favorite spot in the house.
I enjoyed Little Bit, but my allergies sure didn’t. I would sneeze the entire time I was visiting. Kim and I dated all through high school and through college. When I wasn’t around Little Bit my sinuses were fine, but around her it was a constant attack. I always joked that I should buy some stock in Kleenex considering how many boxes I went through. Of course, this was back in the day when allergy tests were not the norm. Later in life I had my allergies tested. The results came back and, ta da, I was allergic to cat dander.
Once Kim and I graduated from college, we were married. I knew going in that I was marrying my very own Ellie Mae Clampett from The Beverly Hillbillies, as in she was blonde and pretty and never met a critter she didn’t like. We had already brought Neecie, a Pomeranian, into our family in college. After that, we had a series of dogs, rabbits, birds, fish, and a turtle join our family. However, due to my allergies, we never had an indoor cat in our menagerie.
Years passed, and after many moves and many animals we finally settled in one location. We started volunteering at a local rescue organization, of which I later became president. Working with a rescue group afforded us an opportunity to be around a lot of kittens and cats without having them in our house. Before each visit to the shelter I would take my allergy medicine. We would get to socialize with the cats for a while and enjoy their company. I would then thoroughly wash my hands and face and return home. Once home, I would change my clothes and place my kitty-fur-covered clothes in the washer.
We did grow fond of several cats at the shelter. However, I knew that my allergies would not tolerate having them live with us. Since our rescue shelter was a no-kill facility, we knew they would be taken care of and eventually adopted to a wonderful family. This helped us feel better and perhaps not so guilty for not having cats in our lives at home.
Many years passed and Kim still had a need for a cat to be part of our family. If only she could find a way to accomplish this feat. If only she could manifest her very own cat at home. Well, as they say, be specific about what you ask for, because you may just get it.
Her cat manifestation showed up one day at our house. He was a handsome orange cat with, what seemed to me, a very large head. He decided one day to lay claim on our house and plant his flag, stating that this was now his home. He was very friendly, allowed us to pet him and sit with him for as long as we liked. He was quite regal in his character and was there to rule the roost. We named him Charles, and he was now going to be our one and only cat.
Charles was an outdoor-only cat and never wanted to come inside. We ended up placing some heated cat beds in our garage and left one of the garage doors partially uplifted. This provided him with a safe and sheltered environment, while still allowing him his freedom. He stayed close to the house most of the time and slept inside during the night. We had a chance to visit with him several times a day.
Within a few days of Charles’ arrival, we noticed that he would leave for part of the day. Over the next few weeks he would leave during the day, come back in the evening and present us with another cat. First it was Momma Kitty, then Miss Cali and finally Natasha. We noticed that each of them were very round in the belly and knew that kittens were on the way. Yes, Charles was quite the ladies’ man. Soon, our one and only cat was to become 11 cats!
Wanting no more additional kittens, we decided to trap, neuter and release all of the cats around our home. Charles was the first to step up to the plate, and the others would follow one by one. Within a couple of months all of the cats were fixed. However, they decided that Charles had good taste in homes, and they all decided to stay. Isn’t it just like family to show up and never leave!
After all of the kittens were grown, Charles’ job had been completed. He left one day and never returned. We found out later that Charles’ original family was someone else in our neighborhood. They let Charles roam freely and never bothered to get him fixed. However, when they moved out of town, they took Charles with them.
Most of Charles’ extended family still call this their home and we do as well. We have been honored to have them here and enjoy visiting with them each day. Charles knew his family needed a good home and seemed to know that we needed a cat, or two or ten.
Do you remember your first cat? Did you choose your cat or did the cat choose you? Share your stories and pictures in the comments!
Tim Link: All American guy, loves to rock out to Queen while consuming pizza and Pinot Noir, prefers to associate with open minded people who love all critters, considered to be the literal voice for all animals. Author, writer, radio host, Reiki Master, animal communicator and consultant. www.wagging-tales.com.
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