Friday, September 4, 2009

Felines of Apprehension

On my way back from Boston last week, I fear I saw the Ghost of Intelliwench Future.

I stopped by the home of a former business contact, a woman who was suddenly widowed last summer. She and her husband had no children, so, alone now, she decided it made sense -- was even a moral obligation of sorts -- to fill her spacious Victorian house with as many homeless cats as she could.

I wisely declined her offer to spend the night. Much to her credit, though, one would never guess that she had 30 cats inside (her best estimate) -- I've been in single-cat households that were far more odiforous. But still . . . 3 hours a day spent changing litter pans. I didn't ask how many trips to the vet it takes to get them all their shots (again to her credit, she is not negligent in any aspect of caretaking). I gave a small donation to the local cat rescue society before heading home, and of course checked before leaving her driveway to make sure there were no stowaway Siamese in my car!

In spite of providing haven for a couple of canines during the past decade, I have always been more of a cat person -- but never was owned by more than two felines at one time. Still, I worry that I could become a crazy cat lady. (I'll think twice about installing a garbage disposal if we ever get around to remodeling the kitchen!) It does sort of run in the family -- my Great-Aunt Helen, a schizophrenic, told visitors that the smell in her house was from the cows up the hill, not her dozen or so cats (even though their home was in an entirely residential area) (oh, and she also thought that the BBQ grill was an eavesdropping device). My dad was the beneficiary of his irresponsible friends' cats' progeny -- although once his cat population reached a critical mass of 5 or 6, any extraneous cats were usually wise enough to run away in search of less crowded conditions (or at least a clean place to shit -- dad had no sense of smell and so cleaned his single litter box semi-annually, I think).

Now, I have no intention of carrying on this tradition. But I'm sure my friend didn't envision herself as landlady to a herd of cats, either. I will just have to trust that my own friends and family will intervene if there are signs of my ever becoming overly fond of felines.

At the very least, I hope they will ensure that I never have more cats than rooms, and that I maintain a strict two-cat per litter box ratio.


  1. I've wanted to ask this question for a long time but the opportunity never arose, perhaps now is teh time. What's with the litter box thing? Are American cats too flash to shit on the lawn like kiwi cats?

  2. I picture you more as the now the period where I have to be responsible has ended I am going out to do extreme sports.

    Like the grandmother in the movie 'Hoodwinked'.

  3. I have a cat, he's cool. Hangs in the house on very hot and very cold days. At night he is out or I have a problem on my hands until he gets out. A long time ago I went to the pound to get a cat. I found one. The woman in charge ask how it I was going to keep it off the dirt? I said what? She repeated the question, stating that i must. I asked how is it going to (ahem) use the bathroom. She said 'litter box'. I said, I suppose you need to keep that cat. Found one for free in the paper the next day. That rascal took off with the next door neighbors when they moved. Seems table scraps are much better than the Imes, special diet crap.

  4. Sounds like a downunder cat Punch - inside when it's wet or cold or wanting some love or food but off exploring the neighbourhood or lying in the sun on the porch the rest of the time.

  5. One cat is plenty if it is going to be inside all the time. Barq was an outdoor cat until Wifey moved to an apartment and had his balls and front claws removed.

    Shit, maybe that is why I never go out much anymore... good thing I moved out.

  6. Lou - Once lots of folks began keeping their kitties indoors 100% of the time, it became necessary to keep the kitty messes contained. Because small kittens especially would fall in the human toilets and drown, and larger cats could not be depended upon to flush after each visit to the loo, litter boxes were invented. Then, once somebody discovered that they could make a lot of money by manufacturing scented clay filler for the boxes, instead of having people use newspaper or pine needles, the public was hooked. I think cats would rather shit on the lawn, though. Or in the kids' sandbox.

    Barnesm, the most extreme thing I want to do right now is sleep 8 hours at a stretch. And really, comparing me to a Granny? I thought you liked me.

    Punch, it sounds like your cat has you under control.

  7. Doug - You *are* housebroken, though, aren't you?

  8. I am with Punch. I had never heard of keeping a cat in the house exclusively until I met my wife. It seems people out here on the plains are afraid their cats will take up with buffalo, or prairie dogs, or some such.

    Another other new cattiness that I discovered here...declawing. I thought this was a primitive thing to do to a cat, until I realized that even though they had nothing to hunt, except each other, they still needed to hone those babies...usually on my favorite chair.

    I however, refuse to change the damned litter thing. My wife and oldest daughter want indoor cats...they change the litter. Grumpy goat that I am!

    Intell, if you find yourself collecting cats excessively (more than 5), AND wearing mumu dresses exclusively, AND humming Tom Jones tunes while ironing...then it's probably time to step back and rethink your life.

  9. Well, jaded, I put my ironing board away some time ago and have no intention of bringing it back out within the next decade or two. Unless I take up sewing again. And instead of mumuus, I thought I'd go for something the locals prefer, sweats in glorious UT Vol orange.

    By the way, I have pretty strong opinions against the declawing thing - there are other ways of dealing with the scratching issue.

  10. I say whatever blows your skirt up. If it's a house full of cats and mumus, so be it. Although I would encourage you to try something other than that garish UT orange. Maybe batik. Even camouflage. I can picture Intelliwench now in camo sweats, darting through the neighborhood in search of needy cats.

  11. Haha camo sweats on cat rescuing missions - that's funny.

    PS I have never even heard of declawing - sounds barbaric


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