KaChoo with siblingsLast month, in my introductory article, I explained in brief how my husband and I acquired 15 cats. I skipped over one crucial event that I hate to even think about and will haunt me for the rest of my life. It is worth writing about though because every cat-related decision I make is based on this one event.

A few months before we adopted KaChoo, my first official cat in 1994, we had taken another one in. My friend had an orange Persian kitten that she had planned to breed. He had chewed an electric cord and his mouth was all burned. She let me keep him and bring him to the vet, but I had to agree not to get him neutered so she could still make money breeding with him. My husband and I named him Sparky and brought him to the vet.

After he was healed, my husband insisted I return him to my friend because he knew an unaltered male cat would spray. I hated to return him, but I did. A few months later I adopted KaChoo and soon after that my friend wanted me to take Sparky. My husband didn’t want another cat so I had to say no. I had no idea that she would have her husband abandon him at his father’s farm. I didn’t find this out right away and by the time I did, it was too late. He was nowhere to be found at the farm. I have no idea if he found a home down the road or if he met a far worst fate.

From that moment on, I decided any pet I take in would be forever. I will never forgive myself for not insisting Sparky be neutered and allowed to stay. Since that time, I have fought for almost every cat we have to come into our home. Now my husband is much more of a cat person and has chosen a couple himself.

KaChoo and her MamaContinuing on about my first official cat, KaChoo, my husband already had a cat when we married and I had never had a cat growing up so I consider KaChoo my first.  I chose her because she looked just like her “Mama” who was my Mom’s cat.  My Mom had taken Mama in a few years before assuming she was spayed. This was her only litter, she was spayed after that.

I love all my cats, but KaChoo was special and really bonded with me. I sometimes miss having just one cat and getting to spoil her. I love how we would nap on the bed together and if she wanted to be petted, she would pick me with just one claw. Every morning when I made the bed, she would help, even up to the last week of her life. I would spread my robe out for her and she would jump on it just as I was putting it on the bed for her.

Some of the things she did still make us laugh when we remember them.

One New Year’s Eve, we had another couple over after we had gone out to dinner. We were sitting in the living room enjoying some cheesecake when the woman of the couple made an odd face. I thought maybe she didn‘t like the cheesecake. She had felt a little pick and reached behind her only to feel something furry and thought we had a mouse. I give her credit for only making a face because I would have screamed blue murder and been out of the house in a second. It was actually only KaChoo, reaching through the wooden bars in the back of the couch.

I am glad we never had a mouse because I doubt she would have caught it. She had several of those toy mice that feel and look real, but she only rubbed them with her chin. She never would chase one, but bows on gifts were another story. I had to wait until Christmas Day to put ribbons on gifts or they would all magically fall off. I even caught her picking the trash to rescue bows we tossed with the Christmas wrappings.

I always enjoyed taking her to the local vet office for photos with Santa Claus. Now we have so many cats that I had to purchase a Santa costume for my husband to wear because we certainly can’t take 15 cats for photos with Santa, unless we rent a U-haul.

I used to also take her for a yearly blessing at our church on St. Francis’ Feast Day. I did this up until the end of her life, but by then we were bringing another cat too. It was always hard to choose which one to bring. Usually I would pick a new comer that hadn’t been blessed yet.

KaChoo and her Red Sox capMy husband also bonded with KaChoo over baseball of all things. They would lay on the bed together and watch The Red Sox. If I put the game on for him and he was taking too long to get in there, she would meow for him. She also had an uncanny ability for knowing if they were going to win or not. We knew if she stopped watching and retreated to the closet then they were going to lose. She was correct almost every time.

The closet was her little retreat away from all the other kitties. I actually have a “shrine” for her in there now with her box of ashes on her robe surrounded by her toys. I keep the closet shut except when I need something and Lucy loves to get in there.  I honestly believe Lucy is paying her respects to KaChoo as she only “visits” for about 10 minutes.

My life is so enriched from living with cats. I am happy to share my life with 15 right now, but some days I do miss getting to spoil just one. I do try to spoil every one of them, but some days there aren’t enough hours in the day. KaChoo will always hold a special place in my heart, or should I say she truly left paw prints on my heart?

In the Middle of a World...

"In the middle of a world that has always been a bit mad, the cat walks with confidence."

Roseanne Anderson