Here they are, my three cats.
Well, technically, two cats and a dog.
But Fae (the one that looks like a dog), joined our family as a puppy, so she wasn’t entirely sure who she really was. Sure, she’d been born with canine siblings, and fostered with other canines, but when she joined our household, she found herself with two other creatures who were sort of like canines – her former litter mates, her former foster care friends – but not entirely.
There was a period of confusion. Fae seemed to wonder why these two furry creatures didn’t want to jump around and play like she did. The cats didn’t understand why this weird looking big cat had absolutely no manners or boundaries. Clearly she’d been raised by wolves…or dogs.
Fae definitely liked the cats. And the people. She likes to make new friends. Everyone is a potential friend. And since these two dog-ish looking things were her New Friends – no, strike that – her New Family! – she wanted to fit in. And that meant doing what they did. After all, they’d clearly been living here a while and knew the ropes.
Fae especially likes Otis. He looks like her, and he was willing to show her the ropes. Scratchy is older, kind of crotchety, curmudgeonly, and has already had to raise Otis. Plus he’s always been the introvert. Why his people brought ANOTHER creature into the house, just when Otis was finally settling down, was beyond him. He was willing to chastise and correct Fae’s wild and uncatlike behavior, but he wasn’t about to run around and keep her entertained. Otis could do that.
So, as a puppy, Fae would chase Otis around and follow where he led. Otis leaped from chair to table to couch, so Fae leaped from chair to table to couch. It was fun! She never got to jump on tables in the other house! And she was good at it! She BELONGED with these two small weird looking dogs! And the people – the dogs with not much fur who stood on their hind legs and had no claws and provided food – seemed kind of okay with the chasing and the furniture jumping. They made these weird sounds and crinkled up their eyes when she did it.
Fae settled in.
Scratchy continued to “tsk tsk” her uncouth behavior. She moved erratically and without grace. She did not respect her elders and always wanted to make noise and jump around. She ate too fast. She didn’t know how to use the litterbox. She had absolutely no dignity.
Otis was happy to have someone to play with, even though she was a much bigger cat than he was used to seeing and didn’t seem to know the rules of cat play. Still, she was closer to his age and seemed friendly, if overly so.
And Fae was happy to have this family. They all seemed to love her, in their own ways, and she did her best to fit in. Eventually, she learned to use the great outdoors as her bathroom. She learned not to try to eat the cats’ food. Actually, she couldn’t get to it because there were these little fence things blocking her from certain rooms. And from the Upstairs and the Downstairs parts of the house. Although, through careful observation and her innate cat-ness, she learned to squeeze herself through the space on the Downstairs gate that the cats used, and the Dogs With Not Much Fur Who Stood On Their Hind Legs and Had No Claws and Provided Food seemed both proud and annoyed at her cleverness.
Time passed. Fae continued to get bigger for a while. Scratchy did his best to teach her manners and her place in the hierarchy. It’s a never ending battle. He doesn’t have to chase her into a corner too often, but he does need to remind her that he is In Charge and she may not pass him without his permission. So he sits on the stairs or in the hall and, without saying a word or doing anything other than LOOKING, and Fae will not move past him. She will sit. She will wait. If she really needs to get to the other side, she will whine. But she usually has to wait until she has a Hind Legged Walking escort. Scratchy has no reason to get in her way. He just likes the power.
Otis respects Fae’s size, but is not afraid of her or her ungainly front feet that sometimes whack him when she is expressing her desire to play or her great sloppy love for him. In fact, Otis likes to mess with Fae, teasing her as older brothers do. She tries to follow him wherever he goes, and do whatever he does.
They like to look out the front window.
And do you see that green thing on the table in the pictures?
That’s a cat bed. Underneath it’s a large cheese box I brought home from work – Cabot ships their big wheels of cheddar to the store in those, and I started bringing them home so they wouldn’t just get thrown out. They’re made from thin strips of wood, and are the perfect size for cats. I put a cushion inside them and then crochet a cover for the whole thing. This green one was the second one I made, a few years ago. There’s another one in the dining room by a window – it’s the first one I made and it’s bright pinks and purples – colors I figure I’d use on an experimental project. There’s a ruffle around the bottom of it. Not very macho cat-like, but it’s still cozy, so they use it.
Anyway, like I said, that’s a CAT bed.
Fae: “I’m a cat! See? I fit!” She was quite determined.
And there we are.