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Thursday, February 20, 2014

A Story of Julie and Her Cats

I got my first cat just before I entered 9th grade. While at the "back to school" outdoor quad dance at my soon-to-be high school, a kid approached my group of friends and he was holding a box of kittens.  Most were tabby cats. He was looking for homes for them.  I took one, knowing full well that my parents would NOT be pleased.  Growing up in a very messy house with a less-than-organized mother, my brother and I were always told that our family "just isn't set up for pets."  Humph.

My dad was on a business trip for the week so when I called home from a pay phone (collect, mind you) my mom answered.  I informed her that I was bringing home a kitten.  She sighed loudly and, exasperated with me, said, "Julie, why do you do things like this to me???"  And I hung up.  

Of course, she's a cat person so I knew I could get away with it--at least until my strict father came back home.  But I'd worry about that later. I remember that she had pink chewing gum residue stuck on one ear and was the size of a 6" sub sandwich.  She was our little secret because my brother was spending the night at a friend's house. That night we took the kitten home and I scooped up some garden soil and put it in a box for her to potty on.  And she peed for me right when I placed her into the soil in a squatting position.  

The next morning, I heard Edward come into the house and he came straight to my room.  I quickly tucked the kitten under my bedspread.  She wriggled around and Edward immediately asked what was under there.  When I pulled her out, he was so surprised and happy!  But I do remember him making a comment along the lines of, "ooooooooooh Daddy's gonna be SO MAD when he gets home!"

We kept that kitten hidden from my dad for a couple of days once he got home.  I have no idea how.  Once, I lost track of her in the house and my dad came home from work. I dashed around the house looking for her and found her curled up sleeping on top of a piece of posterboard that had fallen on top of the heater vent, behind the couch in the living room.  What a quiet little angel.

Eventually my mom said I had to tell my dad about "the cat."  She referred to her with a deadpan tone, worrying that we'd ALL be in big trouble.  So I put the tiny kitty in my arms, draped a towel over her, and carried her into the dining area.  I told my dad, "I have a surprise!" and took the towel off my arm.  He glared at it, and then at me.

Excitedly, I announced that we have a kitty now.

He said, "NO WE DON'T."

"Yes we do, Daddy!  Look?  Isn't she cuuuuuuuuuuuute?"


And then I proceeded to tell him that we'd had her for a whole really, we ARE NOW set up for having a cat. He, not impressed.  I begged to keep her and eventually he said we could "try it for a month" and then see how it was going and re-evaluate.  Right, re-evaluate.  That was in September of 1996.  We never looked back, and she rapidly became HIS CAT.
A guy must REALLY love his cat to pose for pictures with her like this. Am I right?
We named her Tekah Le Anne but she had oodles of nicknames, like everyone in our family.
  • Kittiest kitten
  • Baby kitty kitten angle face
  • know, her coloring and Scandinavia...
  • The Sock Nest Monster since she likes to collect and disperse balled up socks, which my dad so lovingly puts back into a pile for her every.single.night.  
  • TekahTheMeowMeow (one word) from Eddie because he first called kitties "meow meows" when he was a baby
My dad emailed this to me a couple of years ago and said it was Tekah "in her office." She likes getting up onto his work tables so she can see the quail and song birds outside.
Such a pretty kittenkitty!
Tekah loved "watching" tv with my mom in the evenings.
At nearly 18 years old, she's looking a bit scruffy and skinny but we still think she's so pretty.
Sooooooooooo I've always wanted a cat in the Bower family.  Dave was allergic but has grown out of that and most other allergies (thanks, Lyme disease).  Eddie LOVES kitties and always asked if we could have one.  So we (well, I) decided we could adopt one once we moved. Then, since my FIL didn't start construction on the house until AFTER we moved in, acquiring a kitty had to wait until there were no more holes in the walls.  

Eddie and I stopped by the local Humane Society place a few times to visit with the kitties over the summer.  There was a long haired calico one who was super vocal and friendly and didn't mind the stomping 4 year old boy I brought with me.  Her name was Nina.  One day on the walk back home from the farmers market, Dave, Eddie, and I stopped in at the Humane Society on a whim.

Nina was still there. Dave picked her up and I could tell that he fell in love hard and fast. As a "dog person" he kept acting like he was doing me a favor by letting us adopt a cat...but I could TELL he was re-evaluating his position once he met Nina. That afternoon we took home the application and agreed to call the Humane Society office with our decision later that week. Well anyway, that was the idea. But instead I made Dave give me permission to call from work the very next day to confirm our decision to adopt her. And then I went home and ordered a litter box and crate off Amazon.

The next Sunday we picked her up. She wouldn't come down from a high shelf so the staff made us wait in the front room while they convinced her to come down. We gladly paid our adoption fee plus an extra $40 to the shelter for food or other expenses.

Nina's "home base" is the laundry room upstairs. It has a door so we can lock the dogs out as needed. She's never had a potty accident or even barfed up hair balls. Whenever we are in her room she meows for attention and loves to be held and pet. I don't know how we got so lucky!

A rare picture of Nina without dog snouts around. She's rarely alone but when she knows the dogs are locked up she'll venture out to see us (usually when we stop at the house during working hours).
The first couple of days she was a bit hesitant to come to us unless the door was shut. To encourage her, we first offered her nibbles of tortilla chips. It was amusing how much she liked them! Then Dave realized that kitties love dairy--so now she's trained to "ask" for a spoonful of latte foam every morning and a 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla ice cream every evening. And by "ask" I mean to meooooooooooooooooooooooooow for a whole breath (or two).

Yeah, Dave's in love and is now a certifiable dog AND cat person.
He can't go into the laundry room for any single thing without stopping to love on her. Even if it's to grab something out of the pantry to get an ingredient that needs to be added to a simmering pot right now he still has to stop for a kiss and to whisper sweet nothings to her. He's such a good people and pet dad.
Nina's nicknames so far include:
  • Nina Bina
  • Nina Bambina
  • Nina Barina
  • Kittykitty (saying this to Taters makes him RUN to see her if he isn't already right in her face)
  • Meowmeow
  • Meowmers
  • Meowington
And garsh do we LOVE HER to pieces!
Nina rubbing her face on mine...while Taters stares intently.

Me and my happy kitty snuggling one evening.

My in-law's were wary of us getting a kitty, claiming that they are highly allergic. But...they're not. And they love visiting Nina!

1 comment:

Ms. said...

I love kitties. I have always been a cat person and wonder if I had a dog if I would consider liking it. One day I hope we can have a cat again. YOu are a great story teller :)