This is the story of two cats. The story of how an unexpected kitten that nearly found me in the cab of a front-end loader led me to a serious crossroad in my life. . . the gray area between becoming a crazy cat lady, or remaining a respectable young lady with a single cat. Here’s how I almost became a crazy cat lady.
Simon is my lifetime cat. Given to me while in high school, he epitomizes the very essence of a cat. He is prim and proper, sitting stoic on his haunches, or curled up in a ball on the cushion of my couch. He prides himself on daily preening. He is regal and royal. A natural hunter, he hunts prey carefully and quickly. I find it a little unnerving to watch him stalking something as I know what the terrible outcome will be.
Max on the other hand, is my soul mate of a cat. He is the complete opposite of Simon. He came to me by way of his mother who tried and tried to have her litter of kitties in the cab of my front end loader. I always believed that she was someone’s before. Maybe she had been dropped off by the side of the road in the middle of the night. Maybe, while curiously investigating a vehicle somewhere, she had wound up inadvertently abandoning her owner and hooking a ride in the pickup bed of some unsuspecting stranger. Either way, she found me, followed me around, pestered me until I had no choice but to make her our office cat, which included a daily dose of cat food and attention.
Max arrived in April, the first-born of her litter of kitties. Orange and white, he was marked with a curious orange heart on the nape of his neck. I tried to talk myself out of taking him home, convincing myself that one cat was probably too many, but two cats was just too much baggage. It didn’t work and by Memorial Day weekend, I found myself buying a bag of kitten chow and fretting over how I would introduce my new addition to the lion in my household.
I remember looking at Max, a veritable ball of fuzz and fur, long whisps of hairs curling up and outside of his ears, wondering if he was going to have long hair. Long hair is an understatement. Now once a year Max and I find ourselves in an annual de-matting session – me attempting to brush and cut as close to the skin as possible, while he tries to stop me with wriggling, kicking and biting.
Where Simon is a cat’s cat, Max seems to think that he’s a dog, I believe. He rarely sits prim and proper like Simon, but sprawls out on the floor. When I pull into the driveway, he rushes out to greet me like the dog I don’t have. Where Simon turns his nose up at the cold, snow, rain and mud, Max greets a snowstorm by running full blast out of the door into it, chasing the snowflakes as they flutter to the ground. With millions of snowflakes in free-fall, Max can find himself entertained outside for hours. When he returns from his snowy session outside, the long hair on his belly is usually matted with heavy snowballs, a cold reminder of his winter escapades that lingers until the heat inside melts them away.
Hunter? Max is more of a player. He can sneak, and stalk and wiggle his little rear end before pouncing, but once the prey is caught, a play game ensues until the poor little victim succumbs to being thrown into the air and batted at for the tenth time. I’d really feel better if he’d just get it over right away. He seems so disappointed when his prey no longer moves or tries to escape so that the play can continue. My neighbor once told me that she saw Max crouched in the gutter on the street, watching, stalking . . . deer. Yes, full grown, 10 times his size, deer. One turn of the deer’s head and Max was gone. Shot straight across the street and up a tall tree. Tough is apparently just a front.
Trees have been a constant with Max. There was the time tried to climb my 3 year old twig of an aspen tree to the very top. The tree teetered this way and tottered that way, bending nearly over itself. Halfway up, the poor little tree snapped sending him and it’s perfectly shaped, leafy top crashing to the ground below. I now have a u-shaped twig of an aspen tree. Or when he was just a little guy and he disappeared for hours. I searched and searched, called and called. I found him perched, well not really perched, but more hanging, grappling to the side of my honey locust tree on the corner. He knew how to go up, but hadn’t quite figured out how to get back down. I performed the first of many ladder rescues.
With the addition of Max into my life, I’ve come to discover that I myself am part refined Simon and part outside-of-the-box Max. While Simon tunes into my emotions and can sense when I’m having a bad day, Max couldn’t care less, but still makes me laugh at something silly he’s done. Just like the two of them, I’ve learned that I am part prim and proper and part crazy, looking for a good laugh.
I needed both a “lifetime” cat and my soul mate of a cat to convince me that two cats doesn’t necessarily a crazy cat lady make.