Sunday, September 06, 2009

Fun Monday - Furbabies!

I'm hosting Fun Monday this week! My challenge to you (and to me) is this:

I want to see your furbabies. Or scalebabies. Or finbabies. Whatever form your pet takes, I want to see a picture of it/them and hear the story of how it/they came to be a part of your family.UPDATE: Don't have pets? Share your skin-babies!!! (For a list of participants, scroll down to the bottom of this post.)

I have had pets for as long as I can remember. And they truly are a part of my family. Each has their own personality, their own quirks, and their own place in my heart.

There's usually a story that goes along with how I got my pets - and they are nearly all unplanned, accidental additions to my family!

Meet French.

He is the pet we've had the longest at this point. He's about 5 years old, right in the prime of his life. Lucky for cats, "prime" lasts a long time. He won't start being an old guy until he's about 12 - if he makes it that long. I think French has probably run through about 7 of his nine lives already.


French came into our lives performing a death-defying act at the age of 6 weeks. His mother was one of Ray's cats (our engineer at the TV station). One day, Ray went out to his car at lunchtime and discovered this wee bundle of fur underneath. French had apparently hopped up on the little shelf behind the front grill of the car and ridden all the way across town in there. After finally coaxing French out, Ray brought him into the station. Knowing I was a cat-person, he brought French to me and I immediately fell in love. French went home with me that afternoon.

He was an adventuresome little guy. He got stuck in a tree about 40 feet up and couldn't get down. Darling Man had to build a platform on the back of his truck and take an extension ladder to get French down. He'd been missing for a few days at that point.

He also nearly drowned. We had one of those easy-set pools and somehow, French got into it. But he couldn't get back out. I was working at home that day and Beryl (the dog we had then) would NOT stop barking. I yelled at her to quiet down, but she wouldn't. When I finally went out on the front deck, she stopped - and I heard the splashing. There was a shredded noodle in the pool, and French went down for the last time, having worn himself out trying to climb up on that noodle. I went and pulled him off the bottom of the pool, massaged him until the water came out, then wrapped him in a towel and held him all afternoon. Poor baby.

I'm sure French has had many more adventures, testified to by his ratty ears. They look a bit like the fringe on a cowboy jacket. He's a fully alive cat - he gives his all to whatever it is he's doing...


...even sleeping.

A year later, I was passing by Ray's office and found him trying to feed a very tiny kitten. His eyes were barely open and he was having a hard time with the bottle. I asked Ray what he was doing, and he explained that this kitten had been abandoned by its mother. It was way too little to be weaned and was very weak. Of course, I fell in love with him. I asked if I could have him and of course, Ray said yes.

I took him home and we dubbed him Xena (thought he was a girl). When I took him in to the vet's office at six weeks, we discovered that Xena was a Xeno. However, Xeno didn't quite take. It didn't seem like the right name at all. So we studied this little cat, with the funny, bent ears and the wise face and decided that his name was actually Yoda. As he grew, the bend came out of his ears, but he has been and always will be Yoda.


He's rather skittish and somewhat unsure of himself, but he's a very snuggly cat and he is totally and completely MY cat.


About three years ago, my cousin was going through a divorce and had to move. She is also a cat lady and had several cats. The house she moved to only allowed her to have two cats, so she had a couple of extra ones she had to find new homes for. Tottie and Misha were the last to arrive, having been rescued from a house that caught on fire, and so were the first to be found homes for. They are sisters and were almost a year old when they came to live with us.

Misha is the "smart" one. You can almost see the wheels turning in her head. She thinks about everything, and consequently is affected by everything. Shortly after moving in with us, she developed an eating disorder. See food, eat food. As it turns out, tortoise-shell cats are quite susceptible to this. All you can do is try to limit what is available to eat. Misha is quite hefty and when you pick her up, it feels exactly like a furry baby.


She does have her quirks. She loves to sleep - in whatever position is most comfortable. Her normal sleeping position is on her back, belly exposed with legs stretched out. But apparently, sometimes on her head feels better.

And this is Misha's sister, Tottie.


In England, a tottie is what the soccer players' wives are called - arm candy. Tottie actually fits her name quite well. She is not the brightest bulb in the chandelier, but she's very sweet, very flirty and is a champion purr-er. She usually takes horrible pictures because as soon as the camera is pointed in her direction, she squints (kind of like my Grandma Lois used to do). However, just like with Grandma, sometimes you get lucky.

So... the current count is FOUR cats. Add to that, TWO dogs.
I really hadn't wanted any more dogs. Dogs limit you in a way that cats don't. You can't really take off and go on trips when you own dogs. And they require a lot of attention and maintenance. And they cost a lot. But in a way, NOT having dogs costs a lot too, which is why when these two came into our lives, we had to have them.

First up is Kida.

Kida originally belonged to my stepson. He has good intentions, but really doesn't know much about owning or caring for a dog. This one was being kept in a tiny back yard about the size of a walk-in closet, walked irregularly and handled without much thought to her sensibilities. Their place was suited to a small, indoor dog. Not this large, whippet-type animal that needed LOTS of exercise. She was pretty crazed when she came to stay with us for a week when stepson and family went on vacation. She was very sweet though, and with lots of love and gentle handling, she came around quickly. It nearly broke our hearts to give her back. A couple of weeks later, she came back to live with us permanently. The stepson finally realized that she was too much dog for the little space they had.
I was very happy with one dog. She was a nice addition to the cat-house. I also had a lovely red betta named Lava. When he died, I sent the guys to the pet store to get another fish. An hour later, I got a call to please come to the pet store. ZBoy had fallen in love with a dog at the Big Dog Rescue booth. Could I please come and render a decision?
He was so sweet. And gentle. I couldn't imagine anyone getting rid of this lovely dog. When questioned, the lady at the table told me that he was fighting with the other dog at the house and was scaring the woman who owned him. After spending some time with him, I agreed that we would adopt him and we took him home. He has been a perfect dog. Apparently the woman who had him before didn't know anything about dogs. You never feed them out of the same bowl. You make sure they have their own space that is sacrosant. And you give them lots of love and attention.

With the proper care and attention, Revan blossomed into a lovely family dog. He gets along well with Kida and the cats and has never threatened anyone. He loves us and we love him. But I'm sure that if anyone ever tried to harm us or break into our house, he would defend us with every ounce of his being.

These dogs are as much a part of our family as any of us.
And then there's Stormy. ZBoy got it into his head that he wanted a mouse after visiting the pet store and seeing an albino mouse, then seeing "The Tale of Despereaux" just reinforced that idea.
Unfortunately, one of the things I've learned watching "How Clean is Your House?" is that mice pee constantly. They don't have the muscles to keep it from coming out. So it's a constant stream all day everyday as long as it drinks - and all animals have to drink. So you can understand why I might not be enthusiastic about mouse pee smells permeating my house. But not all rodents do that, so we went to the store and looked around. Guinea pigs? NOISY. Hamsters? Okay, but not terribly kid-friendly. Plus they're nocturnal, so they are up when you're trying to sleep. None of the rats looked like what we wanted. The guy at the store recommended the gerbil. Kid-friendly, more diurnal than other rodents. Rather durable.

Which is how Stormy came to live with us. He's a lovely little person (except that he is both diurnal AND nocturnal - makes plenty of noise day and night). He loves to get in his ball and chase the cats around the kitchen floor. Tottie and Misha are his buddies. French and Yoda think he's lunch.

Overall, every furry creature in my house gets along with and loves each other. It is not unusual to come around the corner and find a scene like this - everyone just kind of lazing around together. Revan, French and Misha are in this picture, but they are just representative of all the animals here, sharing this one house.
Now go see everyone else's pets and find out how they came to live where they are!!!
ChrisB (our host for next week!!)


Gattina said...

You have the kind of family I love ! 4 cats two dogs another critter kids, isn't that a wonderful life ? I was never allowed to have a pet when I was little now I am proud (servant) owner of 5 cats ! As soon as I moved out from my parents I got a cat !

Faye said...

Um, Sayre--Ray has your number! Lucky cats. My best friend is a cat lover--Olive and Edythe Ann--and I really admire their beauty, but never yearned for one--or 4. After seeing all the bloggy cats am realizing that they're full of personality too. Your dogs are quite special--unusual markings on Kida? And what's the story behind Revan's name? And, btw, wouldn't we all love to be a cottie???

Faye said...

oops! make that a tottie! Who knows what a "cottie" is?

Stephanie, Mama Dramatist said...

Dang, woman!! You've got your own animal shelter!! And a whole lotta love!

Jan n Jer said...

Sounds like a house full of personality and love with lots of fur. Thanks for hosting Sayre and Happy FM

grace said...

your fur babies are the cutest! Thanks for hosting, it was an easy fun topic suitable for today.

Beckie said...

I didn't realize you guys had so many cats - they're all beautiful!

French looks tough!

karisma said...

Wow! I also did not know you had that many cats! Lucky you! We don't have our own but he cat across the road thinks he owns our house! Would love to see Stormy in his ball. Rupert used to hate his ball so he never much played in it! Thanx for hosting this week. Sorry I had to cheat!

willowtree said...

What a great looking gang. I have beagles, the world's most sociable dogs, but I would never attempt to feed them out of the same bowl, that's just dumb! You can get away with it with cats, but never with dogs.

Floridacracker said...

Nice fur family!

jill said...

I'm really really sorry I JUST realized that TODAY was Monday. Crap. Posting now!

The Church Lady said...

Your family of furry pets is lovely! I think French definitely has nine lives! I love Misha and Tottie. I have a thing for the longer hair cats. Thanks for hosting Fun Monday.

jill said...

oh I can't imagine a GP running around after the cats. Ha! How fun is that? definitely a fun monday. ps my post is now up, very late!

margaret said...

Hi Sayre! I'm just now getting to make the FM rounds, sorry I'm late.

What you said about my animals? Right back atcha! J'adore all of your furry babies, and I love reading their stories. (What a life story French has! My goodness!)

And about today's post - your home is beautiful and the DIY work went great, it seems!

Now we are back at work, BLAH. At least it's a short week! Thanks again for hosting FM, and for giving me a chance to show off my fur- and featherbabies, and to read about everyone else's!

Native Mom said...

Ahhh, I knew I liked you. A fellow animal lover. I've got a great dog I'm trying to find a home for. visit