I’m a cat lover from way back.
My family had always been dog people. Mum grew up with dogs; Grandma still had dogs right up until she passed. My parents had a dog before they had kids. My aunts had dogs. My cousins had dogs. Dogs dogs dogs dogs dogs.
All I ever wanted was a cat.
Well, actually a pony. But that’s another story.
In truth, my family just love pets. We all have them. Dogs, cats, birds, fish. I think someone even had a rabbit at some point? (I had a turtle.) But cats were the ultimate.
I don’t have a lot of memories from our first family home because we moved when I was about six, but I do remember when we got our first cat. A ginger tom called Ginny. After begging our father to let us have a cat, we finally got one—on the condition it lived outside. Rude! While Ginny was perfectly happy sleeping in pot plants and roaming around his own kingdom, he certainly did love coming inside and having a nice snuggle on our beds on cold nights. It was hard booting him out when it was time to sleep.
Having an outdoor cat wasn’t without its troubles. There were cat fights, possum fights, headless rats on doorsteps, and disappearing for days at at time. Living on a property in rural NSW, snakes were a real problem and sadly, whenever we didn’t see Ginny at the back door right on tea time, we always feared the worst. One time when I was in junior high, he was gone for such a long time we assumed him bitten by a snake. We were catless! It was sad. We still had a dog (Coco, who strangely resembled Donkey from Shrek, with her short legs and football-shaped body) but it wasn’t the same. We wanted a cat. We needed a cat! So, somehow, we convinced the parentals to let us get another cat. Conveniently, someone in town was giving away a litter and there was one left: the timid, vicious runt. And that was how we met Mr Tori.
Tori was an arsehole. He still is. Mostly. He hissed. He scratched. He hid behind the washing machine. I have a scar on my hand from when I spooked him and he sliced at me. But he had a hard kittenhood as the runt and was just trying to assert himself in his new home. Now he is absolutely massive. A 9kg behemoth. And a sook. When he wants to be. He’ll still bite if you don’t pat him quite right (by which I mean belt—he loves the nice massage from a thump on his back) or if you don’t pay attention to him. Or, heaven forbid, you try to use your computer when he’s sitting in front of it staring at your face, demanding your undivided attention.
And then Ginny turned up.
He had a swollen pus-filled abscess on the side of his face and been hiding from us because he hated the vet. In any case, he got healed up and we had two cats. Two cats! The dream! Sadly, it was short-lived as we moved again just as I started senior high and at this point Ginny was pushing 10+ and had contracted cat flu and cat AIDS and was just generally worn down from his life outside. (Every cat we’ve had since then has been strictly inside only. Protect the wildlife! Protect your cats!) He passed away within ten days of being in our new place and we were solo catting ir again.
Years later, somehow, we ended up with another. I think my sister bribed my step-dad (an ambivalent pet-owner) with a case of beer and got a little ginger female from the brief moment we actually had a pet shop in town. And, with the addition of Needy Cat Yuki, there were two again. Our home was momentarily animal-filled, until sadly our dog was put down on the day of my high school graduation due to illness. That was when we swore off more dogs. And more pets in general. Tori and Yuki would be our last.
And so began my petless years. I went away to uni where of course pets were not allowed in dorms and finding a rental that was pet friendly was near impossible (it still is). After that, I moved to Japan where it was same story all over again. Well, I won a turtle for 500 yen at an alcohol fuelled festival, but again, that’s another story.
During my stint abroad, my sister moved out and took the cats with her and suddenly our family home was pet-free. The parents relished it. For a time. The house was empty. I felt it when I came home for Christmases and had no fluffybutt to cuddle without going to my sister’s (which was just down the road, but I’m trying to make a point here). I returned to Japan and like a week later, I decided to get a cat! There is absolutely no shortage of stray and abandoned cats in Japan (desexing is not common, neither is microchipping, and dumping animals upon moving seems to be the norm) so rather than shop, we decided to adopt! Husband didn’t want a cat because, well I don’t even remember why, but now they are inseparable. Even his mother now has one.
Fast forward to the present and I’m back in Australia with my imported Japanese cat; my mother has a cat again, and my sister has moved interstate and now has five. My aunts have cats. My cousins have cats. Okay, some still have dogs, but ANYWAY——
The point of all this is to announce that I am a cat lover from way back. It even says so in my tag line: Cat lover. To celebrate this omnipresent passion of mine, I am introducing a new section to my blog that has nothing to do with writing or books. Welcome to Caturday, where each week I dazzle you with snapshots of the numerous felines in my life. Yes. I’m one of those people.
Who run the world?