Throughout the years, we've had quite a few cats - both domestic and feral - that have lived in our apartments, homes, and farm.
My first couple of experiences with cats didn't go so well.
I had my first cat shortly after I graduated from college and was living with my parents. My parents weren't huge fans of cats, so the cat had to stay in my room. It wasn't a good situation to be confined like that, so I made the difficult decision of relinquishing it to the humane society.
When I was living in Charlotte, North Carolina, we adopted a cat from the humane society. We had it briefly because one day it escaped when we opened the French doors. It was shortly after Hurricane Hugo went through town, so things had been loud and chaotic in the night. Living on the first floor next to the woods, the cat made a beeline for the wilderness.
After searching for a long time, I gave up. The cat did not want to be found.
Back at the apartment, the cat had left us an annoying gift. Unbeknownst to us, it came to us with fleas. In a short period of time, it had infested the apartment with fleas and we had to have it treated.
We took a break from cats until there was a kitten who was needing a home. Someone at Spirit Square Center for the Arts, where I worked, had a litter of kittens she needed to find homes for quickly. Boo, who we adopted, was wonderful. She was with us from 1990 until 2005. Over 15 years.
When we moved to the farm, there was a cat who wandered onto our driveway one winter. One of her ears was frostbitten and had fallen off. She was eager to come into our home and stay warm. We named her Windchill.
She and Boo got along well until we left for a trip and had them stay with my brother. During that time, the dynamics between Boo and Windchill changed; and Windchill became aggressive towards Boo.
Thankfully, Irene and Dan were able to take Windchill and provide a loving home to her until she passed away from old age. She was probably 15 or so years old.
When we were at the farm, we've had some cats wander onto our property and take up residence. Sometimes they are just passing through. Other times, they stay for a while. None of them we've named.
In 2002, when Sophia was about two years old, she wanted desperately to play with Boo. Boo wasn't interested in toddlers. At around the same time, a local farmer had a sign that he had kittens for free. Stopped to talk with him. It was an unwanted litter and he was going to destroy them because he didn't want to deal with them going into the winter.
I couldn't imagine killing kittens, so I took the remaining three kittens home.
Meenie with Olivia in 2007.
Needless to say, Sophia was thrilled! We named them Eenie, Meenie, and Miney.
Meenie sitting on a sewing machine while I was quilting in 2008..
She liked watching what I was doing.
The triplets enjoyed playing with one another and liked being around Sophia. We had the triplets for many years. One year - and I can't remember when - Miney escaped out of the back door. He had done this before and returned. This time he didn't. I was devastated.
I missed having Miney sleep on a pillow in the bedroom near me. He was a great cat.
Eenie and Meenie are still here - now both 15 years old.
Eenie in front and Meenie in back.
Eenie is about twice the size as Meenie.
This is very rare that they will sit this close to each other.
I like how a cat's expression can change. Normally, Eeenie has his eyes opened wide. Every once in a while, his eyes aren't as open and it completely changes the way he looks.
Eenie in February 2017.
Meenie sleeps a lot...or at least rests while quietly observing what's going on around her. When anyone is in bed, her favorite spot is to sleep on their chest - sometimes facing their feet and other times facing their face.
Meenie in February 2017.
Around 2005, Lucy and Maggie wandered onto our farm as kittens. We could not find the mother. For their own safety, we put them in the hobby shed so they wouldn't be wandering in the pasture where there are mink, fox, coyote, and aerial predators (e.g., hawks, eagles).
They were nervous at first to accept food from us. Lucy, though warmed up first. He was soft and fluffy, and enjoyed having the attention.
Maggie finally learned to trust us, but was skittish around most people except for her entire life.
Eenie, Lucy, Shadow, and Maggie.
Maggie was with us until September 2015. She was ten years old. A couple of my favorite pictures of her are with a yellow rose and of one of her favorite places to be: on top of the cupboards. I would toss her mini-marshmallows which she'd catch with her front claws/paws and eat them with the claws in the marshmallow. No other cat has done this...which made it her special little trick.
Maggie in 2013.
Two recent pictures of Lucy in February 2017.
He still can see, but I think his eyesight (or perhaps his legs) are making it difficult for him to jump up to get to his food. (We keep his food on the counter so the dogs don't eat it.)
That winter, there was a week when the temperatures were about 20 degrees below zero. Thankfully, we had been feeding him under one of the cars and he was trusting us at that point.
We brought him inside and had him stay in the bathroom since we didn't know if he had any diseases that could be passed onto our other cats.
When the weather got a bit warmer and he was eager to go back outside, we let him out. We continued to feed him and he would spend time with us outdoors.
By the Fall, however, he would wait at the back door and want to come inside. At that point, he became an indoor cat.
He was very inquisitive.
Enjoyed being a part of our lives and observing what we were doing.
Shadow would be a constant companion to me every night. He's sitting on top of me in the photo below. I'm under the blue blanket.
On December 29, 2016, Shadow passed away. He had been struggling with hyperthyroidism which took a toll on his body. We were so fortunate to have him with us for about 11 years. He was probably about 13 or 14 years old when he died.
So, we have three cats still: Eenie, Meenie, and Lucy. All of them are wonderful cats, and I'm so thankful we've had them for so many years.
Linked up at the Cat Blogosphere.