“One of the things that must have drawn me to cats in the first place was recognizing them in me. We are predators and prey, and as such, emotional stealth, depth, and timing are crucial to our survival.”
“The world is full of cats who need homes, wonderful, exhilarating, maddening cats. Let them into your life.”
Tune in Saturdays at 8pm (E/P) starting April 6 for a new season of My Cat From Hell!
Photo Credit: Susan Weingartner
2. Iain and Finn
Finn is one of three cats in our home, and by far the most gregarious and opinionated.
I’ve had cats all my life, and though I loved them all, my favorites have always been the big baddies with bags of personality that take over the house. Just like Finn!
3. John and Jack
I guess I should start with something of a disclaimer, as I am not exactly a “pet person.” When I was six, I had a goldfish that went belly-up in a week. When I was twelve, I had a hermit crab… who mysteriously disappeared one night and never was heard from again (true story). And though when I was thirteen my folks finally caved and rescued a dog from the local shelter, turns out it was the same shelter that the dog was promptly returned to just a few days later when we learned that I was ridiculously allergic to the poor thing.
Flash forward to my senior year of college, and a friend stumbled upon a litter of kittens and asked me if I’d be willing to adopt one: a Maine Coon mixed-breed named Jack. While I had my doubts (my history with pets was less than stellar, and I lead a pretty active lifestyle: traveling, writing, hitting up local hangouts and dive bars for live music, and — oh yeah, running marathons), a friend once told me that “cats aren’t pets — they’re roommates.” So I figured I’d give the cat adoption thing a shot.
With a schedule like mine, Jack has turned out to be the perfect around-the-house companion — just the right balance of autonomy and affection. I love it that the cat respects my independence and welcomes time alone while I’m out on a long weekend run. And at the same time, it’s nice to know on the tail-end of those long workouts that I have a low-maintenance companion waiting for me back at home after I’ve beaten my shinbones to an uncomfortable shade of blue. Sometimes if I’m really feeling sore, he’ll even creep on over and plop down next to me on the couch. Truth be told, he’s probably the best roommate I’ve ever had.
Now if only I could train him to fetch me an icepack and a beer.
5. Paul and Shadow
I found Shadow when sharing an apartment with my brother in college roughly five years ago. He was one of six or seven strays living in the bush beneath our window; our neighbor put out food for them but they would often run from anyone who came near. On summer nights I would sit on the steps outside and eventually one of them came close enough to pet. After several weeks of this, our neighbor brought him to our door from the vet…he had gotten in a fight with another animal and needed shelter and medication for some time, and her cats wouldn’t permit her to take in another.
It’s been 2 cities and 4 apartments later, but he’s never quite shed his initial cautious nature. At first he’d just quietly sit in the doorframe watching, and it was months before he learned not to flee to a hiding spot at the smallest provocation (such as sneezes). Although he’s never very social around strangers, he’s quite affectionate with me: rolling around on the floor to be petted, pulling my shoestrings when I try to leave for work in the morning, and throwing himself bodily at a laser light 3 feet up the wall in a way that’s hilarious every time.
Despite some downsides (mostly the near-constant shedding of black fur, and a bad case of fleas he picked up one year), he’s become an integral part of my life and someone I can always count on to be there when I get home from work. I may not have started out looking for a pet but by now I couldn’t picture myself without him.
6. Lee with Mao and Skezix
I am not a cat person.
No siree. Wasn’t raised with cats, was always allergic to cats, definitely not a cat person.
Until I met the crazy cat lady who is now my wife. When we first met, I thought she was certifiably mad, talking to her cats as if they were people. The cats would talk back. Then I began to understand what the cats were saying and had my own conversations with them. It was magical. A short time later I was sucked into the Crazy Cat Guy vortex.
Our cat Skeezix, is inexplicably compelled to lick my face obsessively, earning me the nickname “Mr Tasty Face” in the crazy cat lady community. And I like it.
While my wife is blogging about cats, I’m the one actually interacting with them. I play with them and know just how to swing the feather wand toy the way Skeezix likes it. I push Skeezix around the neighborhood in a pink stroller that has Hello Kitty tape on the handlebars. I take Skeezix out to look at Christmas lights during the holidays. I’ll drive to Safeway at midnight to buy Fancy Feast for the cats if they run out. I tuck them in at night and tell them bedtime stories… but it’s only because it quiets Mao down so he doesn’t wake up yowling to get out.
Because you see, I’m really not a cat person.
7. Lee with Evelyn and Harvey
Lee’s wife says that she’s “proud to be married to a cat man!” Lee, for his part, doesn’t let Amy have all the cat fun and enjoys hanging out with their cats.
A few years ago, much to my husband’s dismay, I helped start an animal rescue group, Another Chance for Animals. Over the last three years we’ve had hundreds of cat fosters. He may grumble at the amount of cats we have, but he’s always willing to drop by a vet to pick up a foster, or swing by the store to get even more cat food. Or be a jungle gym for kittens!
9. Noah and Raja
This is Noah and one of his two true loves, Raja the insane calico cat. As you can see, she is completely mesmerized by his loving embrace. Raja likes 19 hour naps, setting the world record for purring volume, miserably failing at “hunting” her fake toy mice, and chasing her sister Irving, a Russian Blue cat.
10. Tom and Molly
At a conscious level, I’ve always been a dog guy and probably always will be (we have three at the moment). But our latest cat, Molly, for some reason bonded with me (and vice versa) and my desk and windowsill are her main hangouts. It can be very difficult to type, let alone worry about work (or anything but her) when she’s in the mood for attention. Luckily, that’s only about eight times a day! ;-D
11. Dr. Funk and Ash
It’s a simple question. “Are you a cat person, or a dog person?” The answer to that question can at times set off arguments that make the political battles in Washington DC seem tame by comparison. I have heard the arguments on both sides of the dog/cat debate, and both sides have valid points. Dogs are typically more loyal, but require more care. Cats can seem more aloof at times, but can more easily accommodate their human’s busy life. I however, cannot take a side in this argument.
My house is inhabited by both dogs and cats, and I cannot imagine a life without either. From the greetings at the door from the dogs every night when I come home from work, to the cats curled up on my legs while I watch TV, I get to experience the rewards of having both. So perhaps it’s time to put aside our differences, and next time you are asked what type of person you are, maybe you can answer as I do, “I am an animal person.”
12. Peter and Smudge
I have 7,549 photos on my iPhone—nearly all of them of cats. Other people—even some of my colleagues involved with animal rescue—find this shocking. What can I say? I’ve been a cat guy for as long as I can remember; as a kid with vague thoughts of one day becoming a veterinarian, I was a magnet for any strays in the neighborhood. Many years later, following a path that never took me anywhere close to a vet school, I’ve found a different calling: speaking out on behalf of stray, abandoned, and feral cats via my blog Vox Felina.
All of my cats are rescues of one kind or another—constant reminders of why I do the advocacy work I do. More than that, though, these astonishing creatures remind me—when I slow down enough to pay close attention—of who I really am. Maybe that helps explain all those photos.
13. John and Saffy
I’m a cat guy. There, I said it. I’m an unabashed, unapologetic and proud cat guy. Don’t get me wrong — I love dogs. I just don’t want one. I prefer friends with dogs. Ever since I can remember, my family had a cat. My first was a really mean, all white cat named Frosty. When Frosty passed, my brother and I got cute little sibling kitties we named Pixie and Dixie. I was hooked. Dixie (later changed to Sissy) lived to be almost 19 years old. By that time, I’d already met my soon-to-be catlady wife, Angie. I think that her seeing the emotions and grief that I expressed when Sissy passed solidified my standing in her heart.
Angie and I spent five years of marriage before we had kids. Our child was Dobie, a big bruiser of a cat we adopted from a foster home. He was smart, big and fast. And he could fetch! Who needed a dog when we had Dobie? Currently, we have three cats: Saffy, Cosmo and Phoebe. Saffy is all mine. She looks at me like no other animal ever has. Pure love. Just this morning I went over to her while she was sitting on one of our bar stools and scratched one of her favorite places. She let out one of her scratchy, whiskey-soaked meows and reached up and gave my nose a quick lick. It completely melted my heart. Yup, I’m a cat guy.
I got him when he was a baby at the [local] SPCA. His brothers and sisters were meowing and trying to get out of the cage, but he was just sitting in the corner with his shiny eye, totally mellow. He was a bit defective, and I knew I had to have him. I didn’t have any cash at the time, so I begged my parents to loan it to me so I could bring him home.
17. Jarrod and Toby
Living in a vegetarian household, life can be difficult for an obligate carnivore – and his cat. That’s why, when the lady of the house heads out for the evening, Toby and I will often take the opportunity to have Man Night. This usually entails steak (we both like ours cooked the same way: barely), video games (I play, he coaches), and shot glasses (mine filled with bourbon, his with watered-down-milk.)
Why do I prefer cats? I love that they come when I call. I love that they always seem happy. I love that they do exactly what I say, and never do anything they know they’re not supposed to. I love that they never loudly and forcefully express their opinions on topics such as play time, food quality, and when I am to wake up in the morning.
No, rather, I love cats precisely because they’re not always compliant. If I wanted a fluffy companion with no personality, I’d buy a pillow pet.
18. Niles and Amie
So…I admit it.
I like slow lorae, puppies, baby hedgehogs, buckets of sloths and yes, cats. Kittehs, LOLcats and even the ever elusive Puppy Dressed as a Kitten, all good in my book.
“Why cats?” A cold-hearted person might ask.
My response (other than trying to figure out how this obvious robot looks so human-like) would be: One, I haven’t found a Unicorn yet (yet!!!!). And two, cats are basically the perfect pet/animal/masters-at-staring-contests. So how could I *not* have a cat, could be my rejoinder.
Exposition aside, if I could adopt more animals I would because, as we have all heard, there are many many animals who could use a place to shack up for a while. So when it came time to adopting an animal–and after a long circuitous circumnavigation in search of the ever elusive Unicorn–I settled on a cat. I looked at a number of shelters online–on Petfinder in fact, *wink*!–and settled on Bidawee. I’m a tactile kinesthetic kinda dude–as Dotcom would say–so that meant I had to go down to the shelter and see these new potential Best Friends For Life in the real. When I got to the shelter they showed me a number of cats and they all had their pros and some with many cons. Shelters aren’t always the greatest place to play with these animals, ironically, but you try to suss out the best fit for you, or at least thats verbatim what the brochure said. I was just ready for the Kittehs! Bring em on!
After playing for about an hour with a small tabby, I was ready to settle on her, when a funny thing happened, oh wait it’s not funny, because she went all Kathleen Turner in War of the Roses on another cat. So sadly, she was out. I say funny, because that little aggro moment is what brought me to the cat I ultimately ended up adopting, Amie. She was in this back room, chilling on what can only be described as a cat lazy-E-boy, looking calm and serene. Perfect! We played a little chase the yarn, talked the financial crisis (she was very topical!) and overall just got a feel for each other. I was told she was going to be a “project” since she was so shy, but other than that she was exactly what I was looking for. Except one thing. Her name. Traci. TRACI. With an “I”!!! Who does that to a person, let alone a cat?!? After we got her all crated up and ready to go, I called a car–only the best for Traci!–and started driving back uptown. On the way up, the name Amie popped in my head and the rest is history.
I’ve had her over a year now and she is very much the cat I sought out to get. She’s quiet, mellow, cleans up after herself, sleeps under the couch: in short, she’s the perfect roommate and I’m glad she’s here. Now if we can just figure out her paying some rent…hmmm.
She’s a rescue, was a small kitten found abandoned. Her foster family actually named her Alley because that’s where she was found.. I couldn’t handle any reminder of her being so small and lost, so change a few letters and now she’s my Abbey. 🙂
Anywho, she was the first of eventually three rescues that have blessed my life. I made a promise to her and the other two that they’d never go hungry, be alone, or scared, or lost ever again. Big blessings sure do come in small packages. 🙂
21. Marc with Laverne and Shirley
When I went to the shelter, Laverne and Shirley were the last remaining sisters of their litter. They asked me which one I wanted to take home. I replied, “Which one??”
22. Ken and Bob
My daughter brought home Bob about five years ago as a rescue cat. He had instincts like he was still on the street that eventually calmed down, but he was always friendly. After a few months Bob seemed to choose me to bond with. He always wanted to sit on my lap. He always seemed to choose me as his go-to friend. He greets me at the door like a dog would.
So, I was hooked. The daughter that brought him home acknowledged he was now my cat. I have had pets before but Bob is the first animal that I have grown really attached to.”
24. Wheeler and Mr. Pickwick
“I have never had a home without a cat, nor would I” Wheeler told his wife.
25. Cory and Pepper
I won’t sugar coat it… when my girlfriend and I first met, I didn’t like her cat. Pepper was a mostly antisocial ball of continuously shedding hair that slept on my stuff and demanded regular feedings — most of which she rejected. As time passed, she became more tolerable, and even somewhat heartwarming with her obsession with anything that was puffy. Then, as cats do, Pepper made a sudden decision that changed everything: that I was essentially the best thing that had ever happened and deserved more adoration than any reasonable person could withstand. You can’t help but fall for something that does that, and so I was hooked. Today, Pepper has become my shadow while I’m at home — a lot like what you’d expect from a dog but with much more autonomy. She even plays her version of catch.
I love this cat.
27. Brent and Splinter
Every cat I’ve lived with has always chosen me or my family. They appear on the doorstep, backyard, or in the case of Splinter, she meows from underneath a sewer grate until she’s rescued by the fire department.
Splinter usually wakes me up a few minutes before I get up for work, just to let me know that she’s hungry. We walk to the kitchen together and start the morning. Wet food for her, coffee for me. During my work day, she’s either sleeping in her bed on my desk, dragging toys to my feet and tapping me on the shoulder to initiate playtime, or running around the house being a goof. She’ll pretend to be a dog when the doorbell rings, but quickly goes back into cat mode. She lets me pick her up any which way I want, will purr if I wake her up, and is always willing to play. We’re a bonded pair.
31. Joe and Odin
Odin the one-eyed cat enjoys prime-cuddling on Joe’s lap while Joe checks his phone.