As I may have mentioned before :-), cats are very individual. They each have their own personality and quirks and the situations in which they find themselves (or put me) are sometimes cringe-making or hilarious, or both.
Having 8 of the beggars means that there is always something going on, somewhere in my house. There is perhaps an hour a day when they are all asleep (and I am normally asleep at the same time). At other times, the house can be a riot of playing, eating, chasing, enquiring, poking, pawing, meeping, scratching, purring and calling.
I often hear of people having more than one cat where the cats don’t really get on. However, while the cats in my house tend to have the odd spit and spat, mostly they get on too well and tend to work as a team.
Having this many cats plays havoc with one’s life in general – ideally, I’d have a small army of staff to help me feed them, groom the long-haired ones, tidy up after them, clean, dust, defur and generally maintain the house in the state I would like.
Case in point is today – I spent time on the bedroom, sorting through a year’s worth of unsorted CDs (yes I do like mine in rough alphabetical order so I can find what I fancy listening to), dusting and bagging up for the charity shop. Three cats decided that this was much more fun than chasing small wild things outside and decided to “help”.
“Help” consisted of lying on piles of things, normally just before I wanted to sort them, undoing half an hours worth of CD sorting by seeing what noise a pile would make when pushed from the top of the cupboard, investigating anything I moved just in case it smelled different, playing with a set of old suitcase keys I found, pushing over the perfume bottles (I discovered I had quite a lot of it stashed in bags and on shelves) as they made a satisfying “clink”, hiding in the cupboard whilst I was trying to put things away, two cats playing “baggie” in a bag I was trying to use for charity shop items and so it goes on.
My first cat Suzy, had a terrific, almost “human” sense of humour. She loved all of us but hated visitors and would, with impeccable timing, once the teapot and biscuits were on the table, stroll into our lounge and in full view of our guests, sit, open her legs and wash her lady bits. Once she had everyone’s attention, she would then stalk out, her point made, rarely to be seen again until the visitors had left, apart from her goodbye wheeze …
She also loved the roof and many a guest was given a fright by Suzy’s face appearing, upside down, as she clung to the gutter as they departed. I swear blind she would smile as they yelped at the unexpected apparition.
Lela was pretty cool with guests as long as they didn’t sit under her snake tree (lap full of peed-off snake anyone?) and Norton loved showing off when we had friends round (he’d normally beat up the rug in front of the fire as his party piece).
In later years, Dad would feed Tabitha biscuit crumbs on his chair which was a strict no-no in our house. No cats were allowed to be fed at the table or at any time apart from in their food bowls unless Dad did it, which resulted in Tabitha sitting up at table with us for years :-D. She was very loving but notorious for getting the spontaneous grumps and Dad found her fascinating. He always said she could have taken someone’s face off if she really tried. Luckily she didn’t but I had to warn several of my friends to be wary of her.
Arthur and Guinevere used to be shy with visitors but over the years they have got a lot better. Arthur insists on walking any visitors to the door (which makes it confusing when there are more than two people (too many legs in the way). Poppet views anyone coming to the house, from friends to relatives to the gas and electric meter readers, as opportunities for a cuddle.
Guinevere loves riding round and round in my old office chair and she will jump on it in a way that makes it turn, normally a cue for me to swing the chair until she is dizzy. There is not a lot that can’t be cheered up by a large, striped, silver cat, clinging with all four paws and balancing with her tail, with her face squeezed together in a blissful grimace.
I have always slept with cats on the bed – when I was growing up the only pet that had a basket was the dog – and it is a tradition I have continued to this day. However, this is not always conducive to a happy lovelife. There needs to be a clear distinction between allowing cats to settle in for a snooze and be around for any other activities which might occur horizontally, which is a lesson I learned quite early on.
I have heard of cats who enjoy riding on top of the blankets when their owners are making the beast with two backs, normally holding on with all claws until everyone has had enough.
And I was reminded of this story a short while ago …
Long ago, when it was just Arthur, Merlin and Guinevere, I brought a guy home for a bit of naughty nooky. The evening was, predictably for me, full of pitfalls, from trains that took ages, a distinct lack of cabs from the mainline station and my lovely housemate who was rather inebriated and would not stop talking (I adored her to death and still do but my goodness …).
However, the coup de grace (and possibly karma) arrived when the cats refused to accept that they had been denied entrance to the boudoir and held a mini-demonstration outside, complete with scratching, miaowing and running at the door.
I, in exasperation, let them in. Big mistake – the moment they realised there was someone strange in the room, they ran onto the bed and conducted an enthusiastic inspection. To say it was a passion killer was an understatement and the evening ended shortly afterwards …
I am however grateful that they did not pick up on a habit of a friend of mine’s cat, who would join in enthusiastically whenever he and his girlfriend did the horizontal samba. I won’t tell you where he directed his affectionate face …