Crazy Cat Lady
By: Faith Pearce
(6 min read)
I have been feeling really inspired recently by the new blogs from Ziggy talking all about the gaming community. If you haven’t checked them out, then I would definitely recommend them.
It made me think about something I have been passionate about for years, and that is cats. I have had cats on and off since about 12, but only in the last seven years have I become more of what many call a crazy cat lady. I don’t think seven cats is too many. But being a single female surrounded by cats, the title Crazy Cat Lady is often used.
This love affair started with a little girl called Tibby, but she was very nervous, and one day as an adult, she just disappeared. I still wonder to this day what happened to her. During this time period, my mum came home with a tiny tabby fluffy kitten from a feral litter. He was a hissing, snarling ball before he arrived, but as soon as I picked him up, he cuddled into me and was the most placid thing. It was the start of something beautiful. He stayed in my room and slept next to me. I called him Titch as he was so tiny. He would lie upside down in my arms for hours and fall asleep. I would talk to him for hours. He grew into this massive boy, and his name didn’t quite fit, but we never changed it. When I moved out, they were later rehomed.
It was quite a few years before I had another cat. Now a mother myself, my daughter wanted a pet. We had what we thought was a girl and called her Bella, who later turned out to be a boy. He sadly died of kidney failure, and I said no more pets. It would be seven years before we would have another. My brother’s girlfriend was moving in, and her cats wouldn’t have gotten along with his German Shepherd, so I agreed to foster the elderly one as I didn’t want to see it taken to rescue.
I didn’t realize at the time how this would snowball over time.
The cat seemed lonely, so we looked at getting a companion for her. And we found Lola. She was special and will always hold a place in my heart. She was hand reared and loved to cuddle as close as possible. We had her for 3 ½ years. When she was involved in a road traffic accident, it was devastating. I cried for weeks. The house was so quiet, empty. And I couldn’t bear it.
Could I start over again and open my heart to another animal? After a few weeks, my daughter and I discussed it and decided to get another kitten, but one each. Then Tigger and Spirit arrived, and I vowed they would be indoor cats only. We then had three cats.
A year later, we adopted Ember, another rescue kitten from a feral litter. He was very nervous and wouldn’t go near anyone but me and never left my side. He is still the same. At first, he didn’t meow, and we had to teach him by encouraging him to make a noise when he wanted his food.
We had four cats at this point, and I was well on my way to being the crazy cat lady.
I have always supported animal rescue and was involved in fundraising, running auctions and events to raise funds for treatment, and preparation for travel. Over the next two years, I brought in five cats from Egypt who all had very different backgrounds and histories. One had been kept in a cage all his life, his only interaction with other cats was when he was put to mate. We had to teach him socialization, how to play, how to share, and integrate. One was so nervous that it took two months before he stopped hissing and came near me. One had been overused for breeding, and although friendly, she was more protective of her own space.
Each time a new cat came in, we had to start the integration process slowly. Sometimes it was one step forward and two back. The beauty was in slowly seeing them feel comfortable to be themselves and just be cats. To see them start to trust humans and feel safe to let us touch them. To just give them the space and work at their pace until they felt comfortable.
Over all the years in the last seven years, I have learned the most about cats. Sure, they can be antagonistic and wind each other up. Sure, they can be cranky. But what I learnt is to be the behavior I wanted to see. Cats, although very independent, are very social animals and feed off the energy of those around them.
Quite often, I would lie on the floor or bed and just stare at the ceiling. They would approach me when they saw I wasn’t a threat. I would make up games, as cats are very curious. I will poke my head around the corner to get their attention or dangle things to encourage play. I would throw treats to encourage them to play, chase, run, and pounce. I spent hours either fussing or playing. For more difficult tasks of brushing, I would start in a place they enjoyed and always finish with the same spot. I always leave them in a positive place. If they didn’t want to be brushed, I left it and re-tried at a later time. But even now, if I get a brush out, all the cats will surround me as they all love it.
I’ve spent so much time stepping into their world, watching for the small details, and mirroring those back to them. After time, they saw what I was doing and started mirroring me.
I often feel cats are very misunderstood, so here are a few fun facts I have learnt along the way:
- Did you know that if a cat slightly closes their eyes, it is called slow blinking? It is a way they say I love and respect you.
- Although annoying when a cat turns its back and puts its bum toward you, it is a sign that they trust you and do not see you as a threat. Cats also communicate with scent glands, which is their way of saying hello.
- Did you know cats purr for many different reasons? Some are for contentment, others because they are hungry or stressed. Cats start to purr when they are days old, and this helps the mother locate them and latch on to feed.
- The frequency of a cat purr is between 25 -100Hz. This corresponds to the well-established healing frequencies in medicine for humans. It is said that bone responds to 25-50hz and skin and soft tissues 100Hz. This is their way of self-healing during resting.
- Petting a cat is thought to be a stress reliever and reduces the risk of stroke or heart disease by one-third**.
- Cats are very territorial, and If you see a cat scraping the floor around a food bowl. This is their way of covering up food that may attract predators.
- Similarly with water, in the wild, they would paddle the water to ensure nothing would attack them from below.
- Although it may seem weird when a cat licks you, it may be doing one of two things. They may be either licking the salt off your skin. Or it is a sign of acceptance. Cats groom each other as a sign of mutual respect.
I have learnt so much over the years but have also been given so much back with the unconditional love animals show when they feel safe. Sure, at times, it can feel like I have a house of toddlers, and they can be naughty, but I feel it is an honor to be able to provide them the space to do this and for them to just be themselves.
I will always shine a light and raise awareness of misunderstood animals because they do not have anyone to advocate for them.
If you know me, I hate labels and the stereotypes associated with being a crazy cat lady, but just this once, I am happy to wear this hat for everything they have given me. The joy they give every day outshines any prejudice. I know how they make me feel, and I’m feline good.
All Things Wellness, LLC
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