Today’s guest post comes from Danielle!
The Man, The Myth and The Legend
Tales of the three main cats in my lifetime so far, and small tails about the other cats I’ve lived with.
Growing up on a ranch, we only had one cat. It was actually my neighbors cat at first, but then once the barn cat realized we had mice, she started coming over to our barn.
Reese’s chilling on our porch back in 2010.
Ironically, she was a calico cat that had some orange stripes across her face and paws, mixed in with white fur. While my family named her Reese’s, after the chocolate candy. Our neighbors named her Chocolate, which made all of us laugh that we were all thinking about chocolate during the hot summer months in Texas, USA. She had lived on our ranch from 2008 to 2012. We believe that she died of old age off in the woods about ten acres away.
My household was more of a dog household, and before I left for University, my sister got a kitten for the summer. After about a month of no cat, my sister wanted a cat again. We knew a friend who had a kitten she could no longer take care of, so we adopted her with no fee. No one was good at figuring out the gender of cats, so at first everyone thought it was a girl. We had gotten her when she was weeks old, so it wasn’t until after I went to University that my family found out that the correct gender. The original name was Zoey.
The kitten Spaz.
Well, that’s until later we found out that the kitty was a male. We didn’t entirely care, for my sister was just happy to have a cat again. And Spaz has now become a full-fledged barn cat helping take care of rodents and bugs. Spaz will become relevant again when I move back to Texas in the beginning of 2016.
So when I was living with my Grandmother in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (USA) there was one thing I knew that always helped me during the holidays: a pet. My dogs were doing well with being ranch dogs, and Spaz was doing well with helping my family back at home. I was able to convince my Grandmother to let me adopt my first cat. So around Halloween 2014, I adopted a loveable tuxedo cat. His original name was Felix, and I kept it. My Grandmother thought of the cartoon starring Felix the cat. For me, his name was connected to Harry Potter. f you’ve read Harry Potter and the Half-Blooded Prince, you would remember how Professor Slughorn had his Potions class brew some liquid luck. The proper name is Felix Felicis, and that’s how I viewed my two year old cat: Luck.
Felix and I, the first time spent at my house on Halloween 2014.
So Felix was my indoor-outdoor cat in the city for two years. He got to meet two awesome roommates, one who loved cats, the other not so much. It didn’t take much to teach him how to become kitty litter trained, but it was always funny watching him tread through the snow after finding a mouse in my garden.
If you look at the photo above, it’s actually hard to see the scarring he had from his previous hoarders. Right underneath his right eye, was some scabs that needed some medical attention. If you look at his nose, either side had the same scabs. As a new pet owner, I kept up with my promise and took him to the vet.
2013 and 2014 was the worst times for depression, personally. It was always a lovely surprise when I would find Felix in my window, waiting for me. It helped me during the days and nights, and even my Grandmother loved him, too. Felix became quite chubby, which made him more adorable. But the chubbiness was always a nice amount, because Felix would go run around outside, and then eat like a dog once inside.
Felix waiting for me on Valentine’s Day, 2014.
Between 2014 and 2015, Felix was introduced to my roommate’s kitten (Katya), and they become best friends. It was fun living with two cats, because I could watch them play, and run around the apartment. It was so fun watching them interact, because they would always meow at each other’s door until one of them woke up first!
Katya and Felix became quite the cuddle buddies in the winter of 2014.
Around the summer of 2015, I had to move back in with my Grandmother, because I had a freak accident in my apartment. We’ve now learned that I’ll need to go to the Cardiologist instead of the Neurologist, after a year of testing. Felix was my best friend during this rough time, and then it became time to add a second friend.
December 2015, I went into Petsmart, helping run a adoption event on the south side of the city. I always loved looking at the cats that were in the store, and wanted to get a companion for Felix. He was neutered, and I did not care if his companion was male or female. At the time of the adoption, I saw a beautiful older kitty with a well written message to adopt her for the holidays. So on December 26th, I adopted Sarah, and slowly introduced her to my home and to Felix.
Sarah, the 16- year old kitty I saved from being euthanized, December 2015.
Sarah, was a calico cat. She was turned in, because she was only four pounds and difficult to take care of from the previous owner. As someone who is starting to learn more about cats, I had never thought about how a calico cat could at first be mean to a tuxedo cat. For a couple of weeks, both the cats fought over the littlest things. One of my favorite memories of Sarah, is how she would sit on my back on nights I couldn’t sleep. It was as if she was protecting me from anxiety.
Eventually, Felix and Sarah would sleep on my bed with me. Sarah on my back, or by my side. Felix claimed his spot (which was always his spot) by my feet. Slowly, but surely, Sarah’s medical conditions got better, especially after I moved to Texas in January of 2016. I moved again, because the best Doctors were in Texas, and to help my family during the Spring and Summer farming peak times.
Sarah gained three pounds during her time with me, which was a blessing, according to the vet in February 2016.
When I had moved to the ranch, my Mother insisted that Felix and Sarah become full-fledged outdoor cats. I wasn’t worried about Felix as much, because he was younger, and had more experience being outside. I argued that Sarah needed to be indoors only; for her health and her age.Both Felix and Sarah, enjoyed the open ranch. All three cats became acquainted with each other by the time March came around, after two months of fighting.
Spaz and Felix, Spring 2016. The men finally began to get along.
We had a baby calf born, whom I named Sting. Sarah’s nearby, watching me take care of other animals. March 2016.
In February 2016, I took Sarah to the nearby medical facility, where I learned more about her condition. She had Cataract in her left eye, and surgery would be too traumatic with her age. She also had a small fatty tumor, known as lipomas. The vet was unsure for how long she had the tumor, but was shocked that she was now gaining weight with the medicine that the OKC vet prescribed. Sarah was projected to pass away sometime during the Summer of 2016, so I was prepared to let her go, happier than I found her.
I got this great photo below of my two dogs, and my cat napping on our front porch. A week before I took this photo, I found a cut on Sarah’s belly, and tried to ask for help taking her to the vet. My family declined and with the small budget I had, I did the best medical care I could, by letting her spend the nights in my room.
I got this photo taken two weeks before new pets arrived, and this was the second to last photo of Sarah. The dog closests to the camera, is Princess. Ziva, the dog farthest away, is my first pet. Princess belongs to my younger sister. Sarah is hiding underneath the wooden rack, which became her favorite spot to relax.
While we do live on a ranch, it is possible that nature can come and take cats, cows, horses, possums, etc. away. We have bobcats and coyotes in the area, too. Me and my family leave nature alone, and let its cycle go on its own. It was odd one day, noticing both my cats missing.
The last time I had seen Felix, he was grooming himself on the porch , and I gave him some attention, and I had already feed him later that afternoon. Sarah’s sore was healing really well! Thank you Internet. After feeding my horse, I noticed Sarah and Felix was gone. They’ll be back, maybe they went hunting again. That night, I kept checking outside, under the house, and everywhere. Day two was terrible. I had this panic sit in, and I knew something was up. By Friday night, I cried.
I live with my family, so the only cat they care about was Felix. They did not like Sarah, because she was old, and wanted attention. Searching around the ranch, and checking the local animal shelter, I spent most of April and May grieving.
And one little small message from nature, confirmed that I had lost both of my lovely cats. Well, two signs really. The first, being the sight of vultures. My Mother and I believe Felix went to go grieve with Sarah, and could’ve been attacked on the return home.Or, both cats were attacked one night when the bobcats and coyotes come close to the house.
The second message came on the first weekend of May. I was at the Farmers Market on the first Saturday of May, and a lady was walking around with a box of kittens; five of them to be exact. I had to turn them down at first, even if they were for free. I did offer to take them to the shelter of my hometown, Rita B. Huff. Rita B. Huff did just become a “no kill shelter” and I hadn’t been able to go and asset with volunteering. So I went to the small shelter, and learned that they were full, and so I put my name on the list for when they have a spot open to accept the kittens. The shelter never contacted me again, so my family ended up adopting the five kittens.
My sister was excited to have kittens. I kept them indoors for sometime, and when they were approximately two months old, I introduced them outdoors. Again, nature can be subtle. My neighbors down the road had new kittens. One morning, she found all five of her kittens dead, and two out of the five of mine were dead. My Grandfather and I confirmed it was a bobcat, which also confirmed the theory behind Felix and Sarah’s passing.
Would you like to know what’s beautiful about cats? They know when they are living, and when they are dying. Sarah knew when she dying, so she left quietly, and Felix went to go mourn with her. And just as I lost two cats, I gained five.
I left Texas for Oklahoma back in the early Fall of this year, and sometime after that, we only lost one more kitten. The ranch is now down to two younger cats, Spaz, and the two dogs. Also, don’t forget all the farm animals, too.
One male and one female kitten, and we still haven’t named them either. Fall 2016.
A few weeks after settling in back into my Oklahoma City home (which I am taking over my Grandmother’s mortgage), I discovered a stray cat walking through my back yard. I had never seen stray cats come through my neighborhood before. Most of my neighbors have large dogs, so it was entertaining to see this cat weave in and out of fence lines, scavenging for food.That’s when I started to feed the cat, and at once I noticed that the cat had some medical problems.
Fall 2016. She just posed so naturally, I had to get a picture.
Her face seems a little squished in. Me and my Grandmother have a theory that she’s been in a accident, or was hit by a car. Her third eyelid is visible, and it could be due to worms, diarrhea, or a virus.All three are highly plausible. It was so terrible when I first saw her, that this photo doesn’t’ show it. You can see it when her eyes are about to shut, when they just open, or if the eyes are not fully dilated.
I noticed she was a stray, because when I open the screen door by the back yard, or the front door, she runs away. Once, I tried to see how she would do inside my house. She ran around the house, meowing loudly, and eventually stayed my office until I took her back outside. That was in October, and by November she loved walking into my Kitchen, where I stored my food.
She started coming around to my house more, and with the weather turning colder, I left a pillow and blanket outside to help her out before Winter came. When I saw her snuggle up on the pillow one night, I was so happy.
Now, I’m not supposed to allow her in the house, because Felix was quite the shedding cat. Oops.
I took her in this past month to the same animal shelter I adopted Felix at. She did not like the cat carrier I had, nor the ride to the animal shelter. I wanted to see if she was microchipped. I’ve always micro chipped my pets, even cats. When I found out she was not, I knew that in an odd way, she was mine. That’s when I finally thought of a name for her: Charlotte.
I’ve asked around, and no one has claimed said cat. I’ve put a red collar on her, with a elephant charm on Charlotte. Because I have a new job, I plan on taking her to the vet in the New Year, to help get rid of the worms, and figure out her age. I would guess that she’s at least two years old.
Window gazing into my Kitchen as I cook.
She loves to be outdoors. Charlotte meows for the outdoors at six A.M. every morning, and climbs up to the window seal (thanks to my pillow on the floor) and sits up and watches the world, until I get up.
She’s been nice to me, even when I’ve had to go on trips and disappear for a couple of days. Another project I’m working on, is building a outdoor shelter for the days I’m not here during the Winter. In 2017, that’s when I hope to continue to take care of Charlotte by taking her to the vet, and watch her be helpful with my mice in my garden. I watched her chase a mouse, and loose the other night.
Oh, and Felix will premiere in my 2016 National Novel Writing Month Novel, Tilt. I’ll use the adventures I’ve seen him in incorporated in his natural lifestyle.
As always, thank you for reading these stories, and you can always find me on wordpress at daniellesullivan12, or you can follow me on Twitter, where I talk about my cat, and my garden.
Proud animal advocate, with my Lush animal tote hanging on my chair.
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