Wednesday, February 10, 2010
When I was growing up, my family had a few dogs but many, many cats. It started with one cat, a female named Pootamus, but soon our cat population became an example of exponential growth. One became two, then four then eight until we finally topped off at around 40. Yes, my mom was the crazy cat lady.
Only a few of the cats stayed inside. The remaining stayed outside, mostly hanging around the front yard in site of the porch where their food and water bowls were kept. We had so many cats that most of them didn’t even have names, but the ones who were named had some strange and odd ones. My parents, who were in charge of the cat naming department, gave them names such as Dummy, Fatty, Cry-baby, Tweety, Pawpaw, WeeWillie and Tidy Bowl. That is no typo; we did call one of our cats Tidy Bowl. She was a beautiful slinky black cat with a patch of white under her throat. Her name came about one day when my mom was cleaning the bathroom. In an attempt to get a better view of what my mom was doing, Tidy Bowl jumped up on the toilet believing that the seat was down. It wasn’t. The poor thing splashed into the water. I wished I had been there to see because it sounded funny. Ever since that day, my mom called her Tidy Bowl after the toilet cleaning product, and the name stuck.
Our cats had free run of the house, or the ones that were allowed inside. Just look at them in the photos above. They walked on the kitchen counters, terrified our little dog, Roger, and would even open the cabinet below the sink where the food was kept in an attempt to draw attention to how hungry they were. To their credit, though, they were potty trained and knew how to tell us when they needed to be let outside whenever they had to go to the bathroom. We didn’t even need a litter box.
When I was younger, I liked cats a whole lot more than I liked dogs. Cats have to be loved and appreciated on their terms, not yours. I found that people who didn’t like cats were overbearing, controlling and liked telling other people what to do. Cats will have none of that.