In October 2011, while writing a paper, I heard strange sounds coming from outside. I can’t believe I heard him at all, since the house was closed up tight against the chill. But there it was, the sound of a pitiful kitty. The last thing I needed was a cat in my life. The last of my two cats had just died and we were going to be fine without one in our lives. We had a dog and that was enough. But I opened the screen door and he came onto the porch. He was an itty, bitty, pathetic looking thing. I didn’t see his mother or any other cats … it was just him.
What was I going to do with this little bugger? I didn’t need a cat. I was about to discover how wrong I was. That afternoon, he let me pick him up and even let my dachshund, Leica, love on him a little. He was cold and hungry and more than willing to allow me care for him. I had nothing, it was Saturday night and I was as far from shopping as I could be.
The little boy gave me no options, he and I were going to be a family. I didn’t care how many fleas he had on him or how dirty he was. He got his first bath, but that night, I cuddled and held him as we slept. We had one more day before we could get to a veterinarian, and yes, he was flea ridden and needed a lot of love and care, but within a month, he was healthy and ready to take on the world.
At that first visit, he was so tiny, the vet couldn’t discern his gender. I was hoping for a female … she was going to be Belle – the Belle of Bell’s Dell. But, alas, in another month, we clearly knew he was a boy and he was The Beast … or TB.
TB taught me patience as he insisted on exploring the world outside. My heart sank when he tried new things or was late coming back in, but he always came home. And with extra cats in our lives, he’s now an indoor kitty. Poor boy – haha. I don’t have to worry any longer.
I’m not sure who rescued who that chilly October day, but both of us feel like we’ve won.
Fast Forward to another October day in 2015.
TB and I were spending time on the front porch as I worked, still hoping to soak in as much warmth as possible while autumn settled in around us. I heard it again. The insistent mewing of a cat. I hoped that it was a bird … anything but another cat. However, I knew better.
You know how I believed that I didn’t need one cat? Even moreso, I knew that I didn’t need more than one. TB was a handful (is a handful … let’s be clear). But wherever that tiny little kitten was hiding, it was loud and insistent.
I went in search of the noise and found the cutest little grey kitty meowing up a storm. When I finally put my hands on her, she snuggled in and it was all over. She walked into the house like she’d been here forever. No fear of TB or me or anything else. This little one owned us now and there was nothing we could do about it.
TB liked her and let her get away with whatever she wanted. This was going to be perfect. He had a friend, someone else to play with when I focused on my work.
Three weeks later … we were all out on the porch again and my new little kitten – Grey – made a lot of noise while standing in the windowsill. Lo and behold, there was another kitten trying to get to us. He was a little bigger than Grey, but had to be from the same litter; they looked nearly identical. I opened the screen porch door and he tentatively set foot inside. If I was going to have two, I might as well go for three, right?
TB? Not so much.
When I asked about a name for him, a reader-friend offered up Earl. Being a Star Trek fan, how could I not? Can’t you just hear Captain Picard asking for “Earl Grey. Hot.”?
We’re a crazy little family now. There’s nothing better than three cats snuggled around you for warmth on a cold winter night. They are such individuals.
TB is my boy. He is mouthy and independent, the epitome of a cat. Whatever he wants, he gets. He is the only one who can put me to sleep in a heartbeat when he snuggles up against me. He is my beautiful, wonderful boy.
Grey is our little princess. We all love her. She is fearless and though she’s the smallest of the bunch, has no fear engaging with the boys in rough play. When it gets to be too much, she’s faster than anyone else and can run to a high spot away from them. I’ll wake up in the morning and find her sound asleep on top of me with no memory of her showing up.
Earl is just … love. If it involves affection, he’s part of it. I can rub his tummy, scratch his neck, rough house with him and treat him like a puppy dog and he wants it all … and more. I’m so thankful his sister brought him home to us.
Where did I get that name? We’ve always had animals in our house. When we were kids, Mom ran through all of the names, including any animal that happened to be living with us at the time, before just pointing and saying … “You!”.
She also loved messing with words – turning them inside out and upside down. So instead of yelling for all of the animals in the house, she called us her naminals. I switched things up a little for the fun of it.
Welcome to my crazy life.