First, to those who read the title and said, “Is she seriously pretending this is a recent development?” I say: pfffft. I’ve always loved cats, but I’ve never had more than two at a time. Until now.
This year, I finally crossed the line.
These are the Bengals, Loki and Ava, aka The Kittens of Destruction, aka Trouble on Eight Legs, aka The Spotted Menace. They turned eight this year and have been with me since I lived in the UK. If you listen really closely, you can pick up a British accent when they meow.
Do not be fooled. They are not sleeping while adorably cuddled together. They are dreaming of new ways to interfere with my work and trying to figure out what expensive items they haven’t tried to break yet. They are recharging.
Now, the Bengals are indoor cats. They have a special blend of curiosity and fearlessness that makes them ill-suited for an area with lots of coyotes, raccoons, and other dangers. Plus, while Loki is loving and beautiful, he’s not the brightest bulb. The one time he accidentally got out of the house, he wandered half a mile from home, never crossing the street, and got hopelessly lost. He’s not allowed out ever again.
When I moved into my house, the previous occupants left their outdoor cat behind. It seemed to live on the roof, and would stick its little head over the edge and meow plaintively. So, of course I put out food every day, and each morning it was gone. I assumed the roof cat was eating it, until a neighbor told me they’d caught that cat and rehomed it.
No, someone else was eating it:
Meet Tom, so named not because he’s a tomcat but because he has an unsettling habit of sitting several feet from your window and staring at you like some creepy horror movie cat, though he runs the moment you open the door. (Also, ignore the state of the yard. I’ve mentioned I bought a fixer upper? Yeah. Call this exhibit A.) The peeping Tom is clearly a stray and so feral he’s likely been one for years. He walks a bit stiffly and eats his food slowly, as if he has to work at it, so I imagine he’s getting on in years. He’s still a brawler, though, as I discovered when he began to scrap with my other cat.
Yes, there’s another one. Riley was the stray cat at my last apartment building, but unlike Tom, he never became feral. Instead, he discovered that if he followed people around and loudly demanded food, eventually they’d take pity on him. Collectively, the building fed him, bits of Friskies and Meow Mix, and sometimes they let him in when it stormed.
But then he got injured in a fight. I took him to the vet, and from that moment I knew he’d be my cat. I couldn’t leave him behind when I moved, where he might not get care the next time, or where the people that fed him could all move out and be replaced by dog people.
So now he roams my backyard, gardening with me and rolling happily in the dirt. He comes into my garage every night for good food and a solid brushing, and he loudly demands attention and food from my back deck. He and Tom are learning to avoid each other, and Tom is learning not to run the moment I open the door. The bengals watch all this from the window and wonder why they’re not allowed outside, while Riley wonders why he can’t come in. I wonder how the hell I crossed the crazy cat lady line so quickly.
For the record, I don’t have four cats. I have two cats and some cats I feed. Maybe two and a half cats.
Oh, who am I kidding? Consider this post a warning. You might still be able to save yourself, but it is far, far too late for me.