I grew up in a family of animal lovers. We owned dogs my whole life: Sweetie Pie, Zipper, Barry and Corrie.
My sisters all have dogs.
Yet for the past year and a half I have had a cat. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined owning a cat, but I do.
Her name is Baby and she rules the roost in my house.
And now Sal and I rescued another one. His name is Ricky.
Sal didn’t grow up with pets and for 18 years I tried desperately to convince him that we needed a dog. He wasn’t buying it and gave me every excuse in the book.
The conversation was always the same:
- Who’s going to walk him – I’ll walk him
- There’s going to be pet hair all over the place – I’ll clean it
- What if he pees on the floor – I’ll scrub the floor
- What happens when we go away – Most of the neighbors have dogs and one of them would be more than happy to watch him
- How will we know what to feed him – No problem, I already know
- Who’s going to train him – I will
So it went for years and years.
Then almost two years ago a stray cat had two kittens under our BBQ grill. They were adorable and we watched the mother cat struggle to keep them safe. I started feeding her and the kittens every day. Even Sal got in on the act as he reluctantly agreed that they were very cute and he didn’t want to see any of them get hurt.
A month later one kitten disappeared and two months after that the mother abandoned the other kitten, who we later named Baby. It was heartbreaking to watch her cry every day, never moving off my grill, waiting for her mom to return. I spent hours with her building up her trust. When she was 6 months old we took her into our house and she’s been in there ever since.
And although she tries every which way to escape, she’s become a little fat-ass and lives a fairly cushy life.
I, of course, love her death but the surprising thing is how much Sal loves her. She has him wrapped around her finger.
It was less than 2 weeks after we brought Baby in that, believe it or not, another cat had two kittens under our grill.
Here we go again.
Fred, a little grey kitten, and Ricky, identical to Fred except he’s black and white.
Their mother abandoned them too after a few months: I guess that’s what they do. Fred and Ricky lived in our yard sleeping together, eating together, playing day and night. Just precious.
This went on for the past year until Memorial Day weekend when Fred ate his breakfast, jumped the fence, and never returned. Ricky sat every day waiting for him to come back, crying, sitting by our back door waiting for one of us to come out and keep him company.
I knew right then that I had to take him in. Every morning he would be at the back door with a gash on his side or leg, or a clump of hair missing. The neighborhood bully cats were having a field day with him.
Well I finally trapped him, brought him to the vet to have him checked from head to toe, had him fixed, and he’s now in our house. He’s a nervous wreck but just as sweet as can be.
Sal, the non-animal lover, took our guest bedroom apart for him, lined the floor with plastic and tarps, filled the room with toys, a litter box, food bowl, water bowl, and a scratching post.
He’s been in there now almost a week, slowly getting acclimated to the house and a new life indoors. Baby isn’t happy about the whole situation to say the least and I just dread the thought of a cat fight. She’s actually terrified of him.
The vet advised that I buy two baby gates and stack them at the doorway so Ricky can see out and Baby can see in. So that’s what I did.
That lasted less than an hour when I heard a thump and then another really loud thump. Ricky had climbed up and over both the gates, jumped on to the hallway floor and then jumped down two flights of stairs, taking the fastest route, bypassing the steps altogether: He had hurled himself through the railing. So much for the baby gates.
It’s going to be a long few weeks.
In the meantime my house is on lock-down trying to keep the peace between the two of them and it’s in a total upheaval: Furniture lines the hallway so that Ricky is comfortable in his new surroundings. You can’t imagine what this place looks like.
I’m a nervous wreck that these two aren’t going to get along. Baby has been hissing at the mere sight of him. That’s expected for now, but she’s also growling. I didn’t even know cats growl and I’m wondering if all of a sudden she thinks she’s a dog. Ricky is oblivious to it all. He’s more concerned with checking out every corner of every room.
Only time will tell.
God help me if another hungry or lonely animal shows up on my doorstep. I am such a sucker for them but I think I’ll end up divorced if I try to take another one in. Sal says he’ll bring them in and send me out!