‘Jaysus, are you one of those?’ he laughed.
I gave him time to get it all out.
‘One of what?’ I asked, purposely. I knew what he meant as he looked into my front window as we chatted outside.
‘Crazy Cat Ladies!’ he answered. ‘Thought you’d have more sense,’ he added.
And that is where my politeness usually leaves the conversation and my ‘no mercy’ response takes over when these types of interactions come along. Burnt comes to mind when it comes to the same ‘ding dong!’
‘They are not mine, you know!’
‘Who owns them?’ He was curious now.
I decided to not answer him straight away.
‘Do all your friends and family neuter their cats?’
‘I wouldn’t know. We had a cat at home!’
‘Oh, OK, so she or he was neutered?’
‘God, no,’ he replied.
‘How many do you have?’
‘Too many!’ I began to pretend count with my fingers. I then pointed out some of the cats and their back stories. How some were abandoned or dumped cats and kittens. How some were abused and too nervous to rehome and how some were feral because they were born to an unneutered feral mother and were impossible to handle.
‘I never wanted any of them, you know! But nobody else would take them or rescues were too full to burden any further.’
I think he began to see my situation a little differently! But maybe it was wishful thinking on my part. It is draining to explain again and again to people who ask, why have I so many cats? Yes, sometimes I’m angry about my situation and sometimes I’m even embarrassed by the number I have. But with me they are fed, sheltered and cared for. The main thing is not one of them will be responsible for bringing one more kitten into this world.
‘Right,’ he nearly whispered. His laugh was gone – especially after I told him the weekly food bill and the combined veterinary costs.
Feeling a little bad for his initial joke falling – not flat, but into a cauldron of fire, I said I would lighten the mood. ‘Sure, you could become the first Crazy Cat Man! I can give you your starter pack!’
‘No thanks,’ he quickly replied. ‘Never liked cats myself!’
Well that answer got him a furry kitten into his hands. After a few minutes she was purring and he was mesmerised.
I told him how Autumn was found in an abandoned building by a lady walking her dogs. She couldn’t keep one kitten so she handed her into the local vets. They called me as they couldn’t keep her either.
So I guess the moral of the story is: when you see someone with a lot of cats, ask yourself: how many were abandoned? How many were abused and dumped? How many are unwanted family pets? But there will be one uniform fact: they all came from unneutered mommy cats. Then ask yourself, do you really think that ‘crazy cat lady’ wants so many cats? And then you might ask yourself, ‘how can I help?’
I am neither crazy or was ever really crazy about cats but I don’t like suffering and the cats I have – well the cats in my life are the most easiest guests I have ever had.
There is always room for one cat in everybody’s home. Help lessen the burden of the CCLs. And if you have a cat, for ‘crazy cat ladies’ sakes – GET HER or HIM NEUTERED! If you don’t – well it’s you that’s the crazy one! Along with cruel, selfish, inconsiderate…… I could go on!
Before I go I want to acknowledge all the cats who suffer terribly at the hands of humans. Pictured is Prince who came to this house ten years ago. He came with some of the worst burns. His back was an open wound. Prince endured weekly essential cleansing of the wound that over time failed to close. This affectionate cat has crossed paths with humans who decided one way to move him on was to throw boiling water on him. He has now moved on from them – thanks to a vet who took a chance on bringing the wound together. Despite unimaginable pain, this handsome ginger cat constantly reaches out his paw for love. Can you imagine his fate only for being rescued?
I guess if caring enough or too much about cats is crazy – well I’ll gladly wear that badge!