Thursday, July 22, 2010

Kitty Cats

I have had a scary day with Brownie, one of our cats! Yesterday I took all 4 of our animals to the vet for their yearly shots. On the way home I noticed that Brownie was acting very sleepy, but I figured she had a hard day and probably just wanted to rest. All night she was very sleepy too, and then this morning I couldn't find her. Forrest stayed home later this morning than usual and called me on his way to school, saying he had left Ruffles in the house. I didn't think she should stay in all day so I went home to put her out. When I did, I found Brownie in my rag pile in the basement, still sluggish. I picked her up and she just laid limp in my arms! I knew this wasn't good so I called the vet, and they said she probably had gotten sick from her shots. I loaded her up in the car and took her in to get another shot to make her feel better. Well, on the way back home, I noticed she was shivering! She has on a pretty thick fur coat and it was 99 degrees today, so I knew this was bad too. The vet said I should probably bring her back to they could observe her. Needless to say, I was a nervous wreck! I just called, however, and they said she seems to be perking up--HOORAY!

The whole ordeal made me want to tell the story of how I became the crazy cat lady, since that happened long before the blog. I was never really an animal person. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't anti animal, but I just didn't want one of my own to deal with all the time. I am pretty germaphobic, not to mention a neat freak, so pets weren't really my style. My family always had a dog growing up, but they were outside most of the time and very low maintenance for myself. Anyway, the summer before I started my last year of law school (summer 08, the summer we got engaged), my sister noticed that I had kittens in my backyard at school. I noticed them a few times but didn't pay them much attention because there are always strays wandering around Tuscaloosa. Well, one night after coming home from dinner with my parents on a football weekend, we saw them again. They were SO skinny! My sister and I brought some of Buddy's food (the family dog who gets to go to Tuscaloosa on game weekends) out to them and one by one they came to eat. Well, I was hooked. I became basically obsessed with these tiny kittens! There were 5 of them (Prissy, Scamp, Panda, Brownie, and Stella) and I just hated to think that they were on their own, so I started putting out food for them. I would watch them eat and play from my window when I would get bored from studying. Now, Forrest had started at UAB so we were apart a lot and people might claim that I became a cat lady because I was lonely. I say I became a cat lady because they were adorable! Anyway, arguments aside, I decided that they were MY kittens. One day I came home from class and my sister was doing laundry at my house (she was living in Tutweiler, the dorm that year). What did I see when I opened the door? Piles of laundry AND a kitten on my kitchen floor! Brownie had followed her in the house and was watching her load and unload her laundry. They all started coming in after that. They didn't stay in, I would just let them in to run around and play and then I'd put them out. One weekend we had some left over fried chicken from a ball game and I fed them pieces of it. They made weird growling sounds while they ate, keeping the others away from their stash! When it got cold, I moved their food to my screened porch and put boxes and blankets out there for them so they would be warm. All of this changed right after Thanksgiving, though. It was freezing and I felt so bad for them, SO, in the middle of my last law school finals, I bought a kitty carrier, collected 4 of them (Prissy, I think, found a home on her own) and drove them to my vet (Isbell Animal Clinic) in Gadsden. They were able to clean them up for me so I could find them homes. Of course, I did this all behind my dad's back. He was NO fan of these cats (or any cats) and he had told us to leave them alone. I actually drove them up there on the SEC Championship Weekend before I met the fam in ATL for the game (which we lost that year, boo), and Dad had no idea. Anyway, I brought them back to Tuscaloosa and using the mass email system at the law school, was able to find homes for Scamp and Panda. I didn't try to find homes for Brownie or Stella because I wanted to keep them both! I loved the other 2 but I was really attached to B and S. My sweet neighbor, Meriweather, who was from Tuscaloosa, went to my house over Christmas break to feed them and change their litter while I was home in Gadsden. When I got back to town to start studying for the Bar after New Years, I was the proud mama of two precious kittens!

Right when they came home from the vet

They were so fun to watch as babies-the wrestled and chased each other around the house. They would sleep on the end of my bed, and later on, Brownie even started sleeping on my head on my pillow. They would curl up with my while I studied for hours on end for the Bar exam and even though I know it sounds creepy, it was nice not to be "alone" during that time because it really was stressful!

Brownie studying for the bar

After the Bar, I had to move home for a few months before the wedding. My dad still had NO idea that I was living with cats, but I had to tell him because they were going to be living with him! I called him to tell him and he was not so pleased, especially since I had hidden it from him (and so did everyone else) for months! I had gotten them fixed (another secret trip to the vet in Gadsden) so that made him happier. When we moved, the cats lived upstairs while the rest of the world went on on the main floor beneath them. Buddy, who hates all furry creatures except himself, had no idea they were even there!

When we got home from our honeymoon, the first order of business was bringing the cats home. They were VERY scared of the new house! Stella hid behind the washing machine for 2 days and Brownie HOWLED every night! They hadn't spent much time around Forrest since he had been living in Birmingham, so they were unsure of him as well. It took about a month, but they got used to their new home and to Forrest!

Peeking at me through the door at the new house

Even though it was definitely not a smooth ride, I am so happy with my cats. They are very loving and affectionate and are always doing something funny! They don't even mind the two crazy dogs we have brought into their lives. I know that I am lucky to have them (although I remind them all the time that they are lucky that I was such a sucker!)

My favorite pic of them

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