12.02.2010

When did your love of cats begin?

The other day Caren from Cat Chat wrote a post about when her love for cats started; she was fifteen. In my blog profile it says I have been an animal lover and a cat person in particular ever since I can remember. This is true but Caren’s post prompted me to try to figure out when “ever since I can remember” actually was!  We emigrated from Scotland when I was four. I have no real recollection of life before Canada but I do know we did not have any pets in the UK. The letters c-a-t are the letters that begin my name and I believe my brother Angus might have been the first one to coin the nickname “Cat”…this very well could have started me on the road I’m still on today.

When I was little I was cat crazy (still am) and had everything cat; cat books, cat posters, cat pjs, cat toys, cat Halloween costumes (every single year) and cat themed birthday parties. If anyone had a cat they were tops in my book. A woman lived across the street from us named Mrs. Watson and I used to call on her daily (I’m sure she was thrilled) so I could pet her Siamese cat, I couldn’t have been anymore than five. This of course was back in the day when children visited people in their neighbourhood, rode bikes without helmets, spontaneously played outside on the street, walked to school and all without parents thinking they would be abducted…but I digress.

One summer afternoon at school when I was about six a cat appeared on the window ledge of our classroom. I went to school in Toronto but it was very small sort of bungalow school, one class per grade up to grade eight and about twenty students in each class. The entire class was excited to see this ginger and white beauty, robust and vocal, walking back and forth on the ledge meowing at us. We were totally distracted and the teacher was forced to shoo him away in order for us to get any work done. Little did I know that when she shooed him off he just walked around to the other side of the school and visited some more classrooms where my older sister and brother saw him too. This cat appeared at school everyday for about a week.

When school let out that Friday, my two best friends, Cindy Head and Lynn Willams and myself went in search of this cat. We found him and decided to take him home, in the mind of a six year old, what else could possibly be done? He was a pretty big cat and heavy for youngsters like ourselves, so we took turns carrying him.  I can just picture the poor thing probably dangling precariously from our small arms for the twenty minute walk home, yet he never made a peep or squirmed to get away!  The first stop on our route was Cindy’s house. Her mum said no she couldn’t keep the orange cat because they already had a cat (named Christmas). Next stop was Lynn’s house where her mum said she couldn’t keep the cat either because they too had a cat (named Timothy). We had the wherewithal to take a couple of tins of cat food with us from Lynn’s house then it was off to our last stop, my house. We didn’t have a cat so I was hopeful. We snuck into the house with this cat and sequestered ourselves in the front hall where we gave him some food. We didn’t have a cat basket, so I dumped some of my dollies out of their bed and we used that. Now all we had to do was wait until my father got home. At some point my mum discovered us and Lynn was sent home for dinner and everything gets a little vague after that. We put an ad in the paper to see if anyone had lost a cat. I think two people came to our house and I remember those agonizing moments waiting to see if they would claim him as their own. They did not. We were allowed to keep the cat; our first family cat and he was called Doobie, short for Monsieur Dubois. Doobie was a great cat, tolerant and wise and if I wasn’t completely hooked on cats before him, I certainly was after he came into my life!
Digital cameras were not really the rage back in 1970 so I don't have any pictures of our first cat.  This picture was found online, and to the best of my recollection it is very close to what Doobie looked like right down to the orange "smudge" by the side of his nose :-)
I invite anyone who is so inclined to write a post about how their love of cats began and I look forward to reading your stories.

30 comments:

weaverpat said...

Hi Cat,
My parents were not 'animal people'. When I was young I wanted a pet, ANT PET! I brought home frogs I caught, injured baby birds, and yes, even a stray kitten. The reptioles and birds died and my father took the kitten to a farm outside of town.
When I was a teenager we finally moved to the suburbs and they consented to a dog. I loved my dog dearly, but she was killed on the road at the age of two. (that was when dogs were left loose to run in the neighborhood, like kids!) Then my parents said no more pets.

I decided when I got married I would have animals and as many as possible! First we had a dog and that was good. When I became pregnant with my son I wanted a quiet companion who would sit on my lap while I rested. My DH who didn't really know or like cats consented to getting me one.

He brought home a little gray one. I was IN LOVE!!! He became my soul mate! I named him Wussy. He is still the most intense cat I've ever met, a legend in his own time. He was not an easy cat but I loved him dearly. We didn't take a vacation for 17 years because I could not bear to leave him except for overnight.

Along the way we adopted a few others. Wussy didn't like them much, but as he got older he became more tolerant. Over the past 40 years we've had probably about a dozen cats. All were wonderful and loving companions. We also have had a few dogs, but I just can't seem to form the same kind of bond with dogs as I do with cats. I think that cat personalities just mesh better with mine.

I am always amazed at how something so small can have such huge personalities! We currently have five cats and it's just like having five other people here. OK, we speak a different language, but we can certainly understand each other. And they respect our rights and we respect theirs. They show their love and loyalty each and every day. And I am thankful every day that cats have consented to grace our lives. We are the lucky ones to know them.

Kea said...

Hi Cat. I had horse everything growing up, into my 20s. Cats were mostly barn cats, though we did have a cat in the last year Mom and I were in Gaspé. It was only after I divorced and adopted Chumley that I became more of a "cat person." I still think of myself as a "animal" person -- if I had dogs I'd be blogging about dogs. If I still had horses in my life, I'd be blogging about them. So it's not only cats for me, though they certainly have become my main interest at this time in my life.

The Paw Relations said...

What a fantatsic post! I should really do one about when my love of cats started.

Raymond and Busby said...

Our Mom adopted our sister Toot back in 1984 and has been a cat lover ever since! Thanks for sharing your story. xoxo

The Taylor CatSSSSS said...

Hi! We enjoyed your story very much! Mommy loves cats too! Course she loves all animals, just like you!

Cats With Your Coffee said...

Cat, you certainly can write well. What a great story!

♥I am Holly♥ said...

What a wonderful story!! I was lucky to be born into a pet loving family. My mother and I lived with my grandparents because of my father's death when I was six months old. My grandfather absolutely loved animals and especially cats. I cannot remember a time in my life that I wasn't surrounded with cats. When I lived at home, he would have about 8 cats or more inside and outside the house...and that was with a few dogs, my hamsters, a bird, his birds he tamed, and he loved to feed the squirrels too. My grandmother and mother loved animals too! Lots of love, Debbie and Holly

Random Felines said...

I remember we had a cat when I was younger but had to give her away when my parents were convinced by the doctor that my allergies were so bad we couldn't have a cat.

Several years later we moved to the "country" and got a dog - one in the line of several over the years.

When I left for college, my brother convinced my dad on a bet - if Rob could keep himself on the honor roll for 2 semesters, Dad would let him get a cat. I think for Rob and I it was about having an animal in the house all the time and a different energy than the dog. Well, much to my father's dismay, Rob managed to pull it off and he got to pick out a kitten - a long haired orange tabby tomcat.

Fast forward 18 months and I was convinced Butterscotch needed a friend - along came Maestro. When I moved out, both cats came with me. After a few months of living by myself with the guys for company, I was hooked!!

While I would someday like to have a house with a yard and a dog, I can't imagine my house without the peaceful (mostly) presence of a feline!

Caren Gittleman said...

Cat that was a most charming story!! I loved it!
I love that the word "cat" is in your "real" name....yes it was an omen of things to come. I used to think that because my name is spelled with a "C" that that had something to do with it too...
Thanks so much for linking back to my blog, that was very, very nice and thoughtful of you to do that.......
How special that "Doobie" went to your school and found YOU...you know that is what truly happened! Your parents must have been incredibly special people to allow you to keep him!
Thanks for sharing this most wonderful story!
Much Love!

Milo and Alfie Marshall said...

What a lovely post ~ it made me feel very nostalgic for times past when life was so much simpler and safer.

Thank you so much for offering to send me pill pockets for Milo ~ but please don't trouble yourself because although I couldn't get hold of them, I have been making a hole in treats and stuffing the antibiotic in the hole. So far it has worked fine! LOL!

Jan x

Rene said...

I've been a cat person since I was a little girl. My first memory in life has a cat in it (I shared an ice-cream cone with a farm cat!)

When my parents cat would choose to sleep with me, I'd contort myself into strange positions to accomodate her. My grandma had a farm and my favorite thing was to play with the farm cats. I clearly remember seeing kittens being born when I was five.

While I love many kinds of animals, cats are by far my favorite. There are so many things that captivate me, and I can spend time just watching them. :-)

ABBY said...

I will take up your suggestion and do a post about this topic. Great topic! Enjoyed reading yours so much.

Brian said...

That was great, my Dad said he has loved cats so long it would be a book, not a post!

Sparkle said...

That's a great story! Doobie had to work really hard, wandering around the school and visiting all those other homes to prove he was your cat!

JC said...

I found a kitten in a drain pipe down my street. Took it home to Mom who checked around and found it's home. Sad could not even begin to say how I was. Next day Mom took me out to get my first cat. Satchmo. He was all black but his Mom was Siamese. Could he talk ... all the time. I loved that cat. Still do. He started for me and I think of him often. (just writing this has brought tears)

Ginger Jasper said...

That is so lovely and I enjoyed reading about your first cat. My first memory of a cat and indeed my first memory of all is when I was only around two and a half years old, my grandad walked in with a tiny few weeks old ginger kitten for me. Dad came in from work and said " that's not staying" I remember crying and mum helping the cause with " lets see how it goes". Tibby was the kittens name and he ws with me untill he was 20 years old. He had many a scrape and had broken ears and many more things gained from fighting. Back in those days it was unheard of to get your cat neutered. Tibby was a great mouse catcher and kept the population down. I loved that cat so much and he left me with a lifetime legacy of loving cats and especially gingers.I love all animals and I still think this began with that tiny scrap of a kitten all those years ago.. Carol and GJ x

Au and Target said...

Nice story. My love affair started in the cradle when my mum's cat Amber used to snuggle with me - and everyone kept telling my mum that Amber would kill me but she saw that Amber and I were snuggle bunnies. Can't imagine life without kitties....

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Admiral Hestorb said...

(I've always liked cats, and I had a few growing up along with a dog, but my deep love for cats came with a tiny 6 week old just weaned baby from across the street who came to stay with us, called Robin. She was deeply loved till her very last day with us before the Bridge, and still is. My little baby was 5 pounds of intelligent cat. I may write a blog about her sometime if no one minds. She stayed with us till she was 16 and KD took her from us.

It took over 2 years for me to open my heart for the Admiral as I was still grieving for Robin. But within moments, the Admiral and I bonded and we are inseparable. I love her so much and she loves me.

Amy and The House of Cats said...

Cat what a great story! I honestly can't even remember when I started to love cats - probably birth or something. We got our first cat Putter when I was too young to remember. I know my dad got her for my mom after her dog Misty passed away, but I don't remember it. She had kittens and we kept one and by that point I was hooked. Both my mom's mom and my dad's parents had cats so I was just always around them.

The Island Cats said...

What a great story!! Our mom began loving cats when she was a little girl...her family always had lots of pets...dogs, cats, birds, fish, hamsters and gerbils. But she always liked cats the best. And still does!

Fin said...

Great post. Mom will have to think about your question and answer it.

Penny said...

Cat,
That was such a wonderful story. I was never allowed a pet when I was little. When I was off to college and kind of on my own - passed a pet shop that was selling kittens - I fell in love with a cute little Ginger. My boyfriend bought him for me and I was hooked; I've been a Cat person ever since.

Hugs,
Penny

cats of wildcat woods said...

Great post. My parents were avid animals lovers and taught me about all sorts of animals in our yard and beyond. Mom was allergic to cats even tho she loved them so we had dogs. I befriended and pet sat for all the dogs and cats in the neighborhood. My grandmother loved cats and would make friends with the local ones. My first cat was Chica who I still have. 19 years ago I just decided one day it was time to have a cat. I found Chica wandering the shopping center near my house and took her home. No one claimed her and the rest is history.

Cory said...

Mom will definitely do a post about this! But I'll spill the beans and give you a sneak peek....she was about 5!

Natalie said...

What a great story! Thanks for sharing. I am trying to remember when exactly I became a cat person, but I'm having trouble. When I was really little, my grandparents had an outdoor cat, a gray tabby named Bootsie, who I'd chase around and try to pet. Of course, Bootsie hated that and I was frequently scratched. I didn't have many interactions with cats after that until I was in high school and my family got Star and Comet, so perhaps I became a cat person around that time. Hmm.

michico*Adan said...

Adan is over 13 years old now, the first day he came into my house, he only 2 weeks old. And 1 year before Adan came into our house, my elder sister Pamilla carry a cat home from her college classmate, I don't have any picture of that cat either, I only can say he was a Himalayan, although we had that Himalayan only months, but I started loving cat since that time.

Marg said...

That is such a great story. We love it. Just like reading a good book. What a good idea to do posts on this subject. I certainly will do one. Hope you have a wonderful week end.

Cathy said...

I think I wass born a cat person. Like you, my family nickname is "Cat" and we currently have 8 of them.
MamaCat & the FurryPurries

Miss Kitty said...

Greetings dear Catrina,

This is a fantastic post and also loved reading all the comments. We have written down in our notebook to compose a draft in the future on our experience when a cat first entered dad's life, since he is the only one in the family that has had a cat when he was growing up.

Thank you so very much for sharing.

Warmest regards,
Miss Kitty and Egmont

CCL Wendy said...

What a lovely post, Cat! I'm like you were, and think I always loved cats. We had them in our home since I can remember, and I grew up with them.

I love that you, at six years old, were able to give a loving furever home to a homeless kitty. And you're still doing it today -- witness Jimmy!

Kudos!