While this does not exactly qualify as “shortly,” I have finally gotten around to putting my resident cats into this blog. So without further ado…
These are the kids. You can click on the thumbnail for a bigger view. Serra’s picture is great – I just love cat tongues!
Buttercup and Wesley were adopted together when we lived in Tallahassee, Florida. One day my husband’s professor brought her cat and the 5 kittens she had to the office. The woman was not against spaying her cat, she just thought her cat was already spayed due to a scar on her abdomen. She let the cat out one day and found out she wasn’t spayed at all.
My husband, Michael, didn’t like cats when I first got him. He knew that I, on the other hand, liked cats a great deal so he called me to come across campus and see them. I was fully prepared to leave the office without taking a kitten, but to my surprise Michael asked “Do you want one?” I told him that we had to have at least 2 because I didn’t think it was wise to keep kittens alone. He went along with it! He picked Wesley and I picked Buttercup (yes, named for the Princess Bride, Michael’s favorite movie). When I selected Buttercup, he asked, “Do we have to take the ugly one?”
Fast forward a few months and we get to my favorite story. Usually when Michael comes home, he kisses me when he comes through the door. Well, this time I was carrying Buttercup on my shoulder when he got there. He kissed Buttercup and totally forgot about me. That was when I knew that he was in love (with her) and that he was finally a cat person! Buttercup is now her Daddy’s little princess. She can make him do anything for her.
About 3 years later we moved to San Francisco. Buttercup and Wesley were moving to a new stage in life and didn’t need me as much, so I felt I needed a kitten. After a week of going to the shelter and an outreach event, I chose Serra. She was incredibly soft and she just kept talking to me even if I held other cats. I learned that day that Buttercup is cat reactive. Some cats just aren’t cat people, and Buttercup is one of those cats. I had no idea because she grew up with Wesley and they got along well. When we brought Serra home, it was just awful for Buttercup – she lunged at the kitten and tried to kill her. Wesley could be coaxed to play with Serra through a door once he got over his fear of her. Buttercup, however, took a year before she would accept Serra. They hang out together some now, but it is clear that they will never be close.
Buttercup and Wesley were born on July 29, 2001, making them 6 years old. Serra was born on April 10, 2004, making her 3 years old. Buttercup and Wesley are generally docile cats who are great with kids. Buttercup has a strange affinity for dogs, the bigger the better. Wesley mostly likes people. Serra is another story. When she is just with the family, Serra can be aggressive and bitey. I learned that the term for her behavior (it’s more complex than what I just described) is “status aggression.” I’ll talk about that more in the future, I’m sure. When guests come over, Serra becomes another cat. She is fearful and hides, although recently she has been brave enough to meet some guests. She generally will not bite you unless she knows you, but that seems to be changing some, too. While she might seem evil, Serra actually has a really great side. When I am sick, she is at my side until I am better. She has a huge vocabulary and talks to me all the time. Serra is really smart and can do things like opening doors if it suits her needs. She and Wesley both do parlor tricks on command. The bottom line is, I really love my cats.
The thing about having cats when you do yarn crafts is it’s nearly impossible to do a project without “help.” Serra has pica (a condition in which she ingest non-food objects – her favorites are hair, feathers, yarn, and plastic bags), so I can’t leave my knitting on the coffee table without coming back and discovering the yarn has been severed for me. Serra also chews my wooden needles and circular needle cords, rendering them useless. Buttercup has a great fascination with yarn, but thankfully no propensity to eat it. She just wants to play with the yarn as I weave or sew with it. Wesley will just lay in my lap without regard for the project I am currently making.
My cats are really great about appreciating the work I do with yarn. They love to lie on the afghans, or sweaters, or whatever else I’ve made. They’ll play with any hand made toys I give them. Serra will cuddle with smaller items while she sleeps. I guess I can’t complain about that sort of audience for my work!