I used to be strictly a dog person. I grew up with dogs around the house, and their warm, unconditional love was a comfort. It wasn’t until I moved away after high school that I first encountered house cats, and boy, my life has changed a lot since then. The most recent cats to enter my life are Monty and Mina, siblings adopted from a rescue org, that have completely stolen our hearts.

Mina (left) and Monty, from November 2018 (and still kittens then!)

This is my favorite photo of our two little clowns. They haven’t changed much; they’re quite a bit bigger now, but essentially look the same. These cats weren’t so sure about me when we adopted them; they climbed all over T when we first met them, practically ignoring me. When we brought them home they wanted all T, all the time, and I was left feeling like the fourth wheel on a tricycle. As I started to play with them more (and, working from home, I was around them a lot more too) they began to adopt me. Now, it’s fairly clear they see me as their surrogate cat-mom. Monty is my buddy and follows me around all day. Mina sleeps leaning against my legs at night. They’ve managed to destroy the carpeting outside of my office door: I have to keep the door closed because I have plants inside that are toxic to cats if chewed on, and they HATE not being able to be in the same room with me.

All this has left me feeling a little guilty. The cats sometimes diss T in favor of hanging out with me, in a complete turn-around from how they behaved when we first brought them home. They do love to sleep on T, especially when we’re watching TV and she has a blanket over her lap, as in the photo below. Mina, though, sometimes purrs just at the sight of me – endearing and humbling at the same time.

Photograph me like one of your French cats, Bill…

Mina used to bite me when she’d had enough petting. After the first time or two, after I shouted “OUCH!” and immediately put her down, her not-very-hard bites became an exceptionally gentle resting her teeth on my hand. Now, she touches my hand with her nose. It’s major progress. She loves belly rubs, though; never seems to tire of those.

Monty is my buddy. He always seems happy to see me, stretching and waking himself up from sleep when I emerge from my office. Both cats often sit by my door until I come out, springing to their feet as soon as I open the door. We’ve had to put wrapped bricks in from of the door to minimize the carpet damage, but Monty just hooks his claws in and drags the brick away, the better to try to tunnel under the door to be with me. Monty likes belly rubs too, but sometimes it becomes a hand-trap, as he attacks with his rather sharp claws, wanting to “play.” Monty is a big baby about getting his claws trimmed, yowling and squirming and fake bite-lunging to try to escape. Mina sits fairly still and purrs the whole time her claws are being clipped. Mina is a chow hound: she loves her tucker, and we’ve had to split the food up into several bowls so Monty get his share.

It’s a TRAP!

These two cats are so affectionate, so lovey, it’s difficult for me to imagine why people say cats are aloof. They enjoy me holding them – at least for a little while, then they get a bit squirmy so I put them down. They LOVE attention and petting, and Monty climbs up on me when I sit in the recliner, loafing up on my chest and purring when I recline fully, rubbing his face against mine. They were EXTREMELY well socialized by the guy who fostered them, and immediately check out any new people who come to visit (before the COVID-19 quanrantine, at least.)


Life is not all beer and skittles, however: Mina nearly took out my eye mere weeks after we’d brought them home. I awoke one night to the sound of a cat sliding off the bookshelf headboard above me (I’m a light sleeper) and opened my eyes to see one of Mina’s rear paws, claws spread, heading directly for my eye. I flinched, and doing so may have saved the eye.

That was CLOSE!

There’s also the carpet damage to consider. Thankfully, they’ve been VERY good about only using their scratching posts to sharpen their claws, for which our furniture is grateful. Also a relief is their regular use of their litterboxes, for which all of us are grateful.

Having pets around the house really improves quality of life – both for us and for the pets. I still miss the amiable companionship of a dog, but these two are such love-bugs that it’s hard to complain too loudly.

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