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On Becoming a Crazy Cat Couple

Once upon an October day last year, two of our good friends packed up their possessions and moved into the house they’d just bought. They thought it would be just the two of them living there; however, they soon discovered that they weren’t the only residents of the place! Unbeknownst to them, around the time that they were settling in, a feral mama cat had made herself a safe home under their front porch and had given birth to a litter of kittens.

A month or two later our friends discovered the little family under the porch and, though they were unable to get close to the cats, set out to care for them over the long, cold winter that followed by providing food and even stuffing warm blankets through a space in the boards surrounding their little haven.

In the meantime, over in our world, Peter and I were tentatively considering adding another cat to the family. We were still sad about the unexpected loss of our dear Grisabella last summer, and really missed having three cats around the house. An adoption opportunity presented itself shortly after Christmas, but ended up falling through – and when we happened to mention this in conversation with our friend the feral cat whisperer, she immediately said, “You should take one of our porch kitties!”

Peter was intrigued; me, not so much. I was already rather nervous about the idea of introducing a new cat into the house and changing the lovely dynamic between Felix and Oscar, and figured that bringing a feral cat into the mix – no matter how young – would only complicate matters more. No, I definitely wanted a NON-feral kitten – a girl, old enough to be separated from her mama, but still tiny – who was, preferably, orange. (Peter agreed with me about the orange part, at least!)

Months passed with the two of us still tossing the kitten adoption idea back and forth, uncertain how to proceed. Meanwhile, over at our friends’ home, plans had been set in place to trap and neuter the mama cat and her kittens through our local Humane Society’s TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) program.

I’m pretty sure you can see where this is going.

I truly thought I’d learned the whole “never say never” lesson, but… well, long story short, instead of adopting one orange non-feral female cat, we ended up bringing the first of TWO black feral kittens – a little girl – into our home on April 23rd…

…followed by her brother on May 6th…

…which I’m pretty sure qualifies us for the title of Crazy Cat Couple.

We named the girl Mei-Mei, which is Chinese for “little sister.” (Fans of the short-lived but much-beloved TV series called Firefly might recognize this!)

Due to a paperwork mixup we were initially under the impression that Mei-Mei’s sibling was a girl, and had decided to call her Zoë (also from Firefly); however, once we were able to get a better look at the kitten we discovered the error (much to our amusement!) and Zoë became Seamus (not from Firefly, just a name that Peter likes).

Mei-Mei spent the first couple of days in our house hiding out in the basement, but when she was upstairs, introducing her to the two big boys was fairly trouble-free. While there was some hissing from Felix over the first week or so, Oscar seemed quite fascinated with (if a little confused by) Mei-Mei, and the two of them really seemed to take to each other.

It was a bit more challenging when Seamus joined us. While there were no huge fights, there was quite a bit of hissing and growling (particularly between Seamus and Mei-Mei, strangely enough), and Seamus, like his sister before him, spent most of his time for the first several days in the basement.

And, on top of it all, both Felix and Oscar developed some rather worrisome mouth problems (quite probably triggered by stress related to all these changes) which required a trip to the vet and a course of antibiotics.

Eventually, though, things settled down. Felix and Oscar are now back to their usual healthy, loving, and playful selves. Mei-Mei and Seamus, while still rather skittish and tentative around the two humans, get along famously with each other as well as with the big boys, and are spending less and less time in the basement (Mei-Mei in particular, possibly because she got here first and has had more time to adjust).

I haven’t yet had all four cats in my office at the same time, but three isn’t bad!

Mei-Mei seems to have quite a little crush on Oscar (can’t say that I blame her!)…

…and, in spite of his initial standoffishness, she and Felix have even warmed up to each other!

Getting close to the two kittens and bonding with them is a slow process for us humans, as their initial reaction is always to run away when we approach… but it’s getting better and better as the days pass and they spend more time getting used to us and our routines. Mei-Mei has allowed me to pet her a few times, and purred loudly all the while – then on one momentous occasion, she actually let Peter pick her up and hold her and, after a minute or two, she settled right down and made herself comfortable on him for quite some time.

I don’t think either of us has managed to pet Seamus yet, but I can’t imagine it’ll be too long before that happens, as he’s getting more and more comfortable with being close to us (especially when we’re sitting on the couch).

So there you have it – how we, in spite of what we thought we wanted, ended up adding two black feral kittens to our (now not-so-little) family. Two humans, four cats? Yes, I’d say that qualifies us for the title of Crazy Cat Couple!

Count 'em...

Count ’em…

Stay tuned for our ongoing adventures!

Are you a cat person?
Please share!

NaBloPoMo May 2015

Laurel Storey, CZT – Certified Zentangle Teacher. Writer, reader, tangler, iPhoneographer, cat herder, learner of French and Italian, crocheter, needle felter, on-and-off politics junkie, 80s music trivia freak, ongoing work in progress.

{ 28 comments… add one }
  • Alana
    May 23, 2015

    I’m a “from a distance” cat lady. Both of my “best” friends own cats, and both are rescue cats. One of these friends used to take in both rescue cats and dogs, but health problems and finances have put a stop to that. Where I grew up didn’t permit either cats or dogs so my childhood experiences were mainly with goldfish, turtles (now banned), canaries and parakeets. One day I want to welcome parakeets back into my life but right now I could not give one the attention he or she deserves.
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  • Linda Anselmi
    May 23, 2015

    Great story!! But I’m not convinced on the crazy part. Maybe big hearted cat couple or black cat couple… You’d have to add at least a couple more to reach the crazy cat couple level!! Glad all is going well! Love the Mei-Mei and Oscar in the window pic! and the one of you with all of the cats!
    Linda Anselmi recently posted… Let’s Celebrate A Howe Mother’s Day TooMy Profile

  • K. Lee Banks
    May 23, 2015

    What a sweet story! All of your kitties are adorable! Thanks for sharing the great pics!

    BUT…I think we have you beat! Back in the fall of 2009, we began seeing tiny kittens slinking around the perimeter of our yard. At first we thought there were only two of them…then one evening at dusk, we saw not just two, or three…but FIVE kittens under the bird feeders, scrounging what they could find from fallen seeds and shells.

    With an upcoming cold Maine winter approaching, we did the same as your friends: we safely trapped all five kitties over a period of 3 weeks or so. We already had one adult Maine coon cat and figured we might keep one or two kitties and find homes for the others, BUT… after socializing them, we couldn’t part with any of them! So we have now had SIX cats for almost six years! (We also have 2 dogs).

    They are all so different, in appearance and “purr-sonality.” We have two boys, one orange tabby and one lynx point (looks Siamese, with blue eyes); and three girls, including tuxedo (black and white), one gray tiger, and one calico. If you want to check out our public Facebook album to see them, here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.155525687330.126152.611787330&type=1&l=bdb52f1715
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  • Leanne May 24, 2015

    what a lovely post – good on you for taking the two little waifs into your home and it’s great that your other two have accepted them. We have stopped at two cats – completely different personalities and a good balance.
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  • SHILPA GUPTE May 24, 2015

    Hi Laurel! I so enjoyed reading the story of your cats! I have a pet dog, which is why I was fascinated about your cats. Just wanted to know something, if and when the cats get into a fight, how do you manage them? How do you manage to get them away from each other before they hurt one another?

    • Laurel Regan
      May 24, 2015

      So far there have only been a couple of tussles, mostly play that got a little carried away, and it’s never escalated to the point where they need to be separated. Here’s hoping it stays that way!
      Laurel Regan recently posted… On Becoming a Crazy Cat CoupleMy Profile

  • heidi May 24, 2015

    I’ve decided that there are no crazy cat people, there are just people who have a lot of love to share with animals.
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  • Francene Stanley
    May 24, 2015

    I absolutely loved your story about not wanting, and yet accepting, two feral cats into your family. They look adorable with your other cats. Your photographs are some of the best I’ve seen of cats. That one with Oscar gazing out the window is divine. Yes. Cats are special. I envy you your cat family.

    • Laurel Regan
      May 24, 2015

      Thank you so much, Francene! It wasn’t planned, but they certainly do look like a matched set! And I really appreciate the compliment about my photos, as capturing black cats with any level of detail can be a real challenge. And add general skittishness on the part of the kittens, and I’m amazed I got any at all!
      Laurel Regan recently posted… On Becoming a Crazy Cat CoupleMy Profile

  • Rajlakshmi May 24, 2015

    Awwww Such An Adorable Bunch. My Heart Is MelTing With All The Cuteness. I Once Took Care Of A Bunch Of We Born Kittens. Even Though We Had A Dog We Still Kept Them Until They Found New Home. 🙂

  • Camille Nones May 25, 2015

    I’m a dog person, but your cats sure look adorable. Mei Mei looks super cute, but she looks snobbish too. lol. Your cats are super cute! Now, I wonder how it would feel like owning a cat. Thank you for sharing.

  • elly stornebrink
    May 25, 2015

    Thanks for sharing ALL those lovely pics of your sweet cat family Laurel! 🙂 I so love Mei-Mei’s “peekaboo” around the stairwell photo as well as the one of Mei-Mei and Oscar both looking out the window in the same position. Yes, can you tell I love cats?! 😉 <3
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  • Diane
    May 25, 2015

    Soo cute! I love your family!
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  • Parul
    May 25, 2015

    That was so cute! How you all became a family 🙂
    Great pictures and they all look to happy!
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  • Debbie D.
    May 27, 2015

    The kittens are just adorable and so are Oscar and Felix! 🙂 Four cats is a lot, but I’m sure you and your husband are up for the challenge, Laurel. I’m more of a dog person, but we also had a feral cat give birth under our garden shed a few years ago and I took care of them. It was such fun to watch them at feeding time! Eventually, I had to trap them and take them to the Humane Society though, because the kittens were getting into the backyard and wreaking havoc with the dogs. Fortunately, they were all adopted, despite their feral natures. Have fun with your clowder of cats!
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  • Phillius Thomas June 16, 2015

    I think it’s fun that you have just the two colorings of cats. You have Oscar and Felix as tuxedos, and Mei-Mei and Seamus as blacks. They are all so cute too!


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