Posted by: jevcat | October 15, 2010

The Catness of Strangers

I’ve been thinking lately about my cats and how I acquired them.  Some people are born with cats, some achieve cats, and some have cats thrust upon them.  I fall into the latter cat-egory (I do apologize for not resisting that).

Somehow, over the years, I’ve acquired seven cats, two of them still living.  My first, Gabby, literally adopted me, not vice-versa (a story for another time) on a rainy March morning.  Ashfurred came shortly after, an “unplanned” acquisition from my office manager at the time (she hadn’t planned on her cat getting out while in heat, I hadn’t planned on bringing home a kitten that day).

We split up the family when I got my own apartment, and Gabby came with me, where she was an “only” for a while – a situation of which she thoroughly approved.  Some years later, I refused a “cat lady” neighbor’s plea to take in a young stray who had been hanging around the courtyard of our building – until it started to snow.  But Moonshadow and Gabby did NOT get along, so he wound up with a friend.

Then another “accidental” kitten, after the super’s cat got out, this one a grey tabby with bits of white and, when she was small, almost peach color:  Misty, whose existence Gabby was finally persuaded to accept.

After Gabby died, a friend insisted I take one of the kittens her neighbor’s cat had just produced:  Ozzie, an engaging tabby who taught me that if you think black, white, and grey fur are visible on your clothes, wait till you see orange.

In the aftermath of Misty’s death, when Ozzie and I were both still in mourning, a friend persuaded me to take her late grandmother’s cat, a mercurial seal-point American snowshoe:  Sofia.

Then, just this summer:  George, the tiny kitten we rescued and took to our hearts – totally irrationally, with me unemployed and our own future in doubt – not knowing we were about to lose our Sofia.

So that’s the list:  all cats in need of a good home, all depending on, as it were, the “cat-ness” of strangers (and there are those who say my family and I are more than a little strange).

In a way, you could say they are unintentional cats, at least in how they came to me.  And it seems to me there is a lesson there that my frail human brain is not fully grasping, something I need to learn – trust, maybe, that help will come along if you know where to look, that love given is never wasted.  But I rather suspect that I could study cats for the rest of my life and still not learn all there is that they could teach me – and I’m certain that they would think so.


  1. Sweet Janet! You have wonderful catness and strangeness. I will be forever grateful that you were able to take my Grandma Gina’s little (weird, pain-in-the-tush; adorable) Sofia into your heart and your home.

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