Kalimerow

Kalimerow was born in June of 1987.  Her mother was named Meow, and went by the nickname "Merow".  Kali, being a calico, and the only female in the litter of three, became "Kalimerow".  She's always had the left wall-eye.  In early 1996 her tail was shortened a couple of inches by one of our dogs when she decided she needed to escape into the backyard for a visit (The dogs considered the backyard their territory, and had never known one of the cats to be out there. They didn't bother the cats indoors). Kali is the matriarch of the cat family, and the other cats tend to leave her alone when they play amongst themselves.  She's very sociable, and loves to be pet.  She's been dubbed "The Self-Petting Cat" as she will rub up against anything and everything.

Brea

Brea is the second oldest cat in the household, having been born in the spring of 1991.  She was in a cage at what was then called the Washington County Animal Shelter.  A tiny five week old kitten, she'd been taken away from her mother too early.  She was crying out for attention.  The attendant told me that I shouldn't choose her, as she never stopped meowing.  I picked her anyway, and once I got her home and gave her the love and attention she needed, she was fine.  When I talk to her, she "speaks" back.  Her name was derived from the "La Brea Tar Pits" because of her coloration. She has silky fur and is quite beautiful.  When she was younger, she didn't like visitors to the house, but as she aged, she seemed to get over her fear of strangers.

Dodo

Oh, Dodo!  In 1996, some children came knocking at my door trying to give away their kittens.  They said that their mother had told them that if they couldn't get rid of them, she'd take them to the animal shelter (Don't get me started on irresponsible pet owners...).  I talked to Michael about it and he said if I got another cat, he got to name it.  "Dodo Dumpybug" sounded good after names like "Harbinger of Death Cat" and "The Headless Kitty" were suggested.  Dodo has lived up to her name.  She was a terror as a kitten, and grew into a soft, furry ball with a head about two sizes too small for her body.  She's kind of the loner of the cats, not interacting or cuddling as much with the other felines, but loving human attention.  She's adopted Justeena as her primary companion, and waits patiently for Justie's return whenever she's away.

Halona

Halona is a Native American name meaning "fortunate".  I named her this because I adopted her from the Bonnie L. Hayes Animal Shelter six days before she gave birth to a litter of three kittens.  I had driven Justeena's Brownie Girl Scout Troop to the shelter to donate items for the animals and tour the facility when I noticed her, in all of her pregnant glory, sitting inside one of the cages.  I could not get her out of my mind.  The next day, I told Michael I wouldn't have wanted to have been behind bars when I was pregnant.  He said, "Go get the cat if it makes you happy."  That's how Halona came to live with us.  On April 17, 2001, Halona gave birth to Chub-Chub (male), ZigZag (male), and Cowkitty (female).  We gave away the two males, but kept the Cowkitty.  Halona was a very protective and adoring mother.  Even now that she is spayed, she seems to think that all of the younger cats in the household are her children.  The vet estimated that she was born in 1999.  She seems to love the indoor life, and has become very affectionate toward her humans.  She is also one of those crazy cats who likes to be pet using the brush attachment on the vaccuum!

Nahima

Nahima is one of my "fancy cats".  He and his brother (Sakari) are the only cats for which I have ever paid more than a pet store or adoption price.  He's a seal-point Himalayan, born on January 18, 2001.  Nahima is a curious cat, always liking to be near the family members.  He can't seem to tear himself away from a bathtub full of bubbles and he follows the vaccuum around the house.  He will also be faithfully waiting by the door when we arrive home after having been gone.  He walks around and falls over wherever he decides to sleep.  None of the "getting comfortable", spin around, knead the area routine like the other cats display.  He just plops over.  Nahima has six toes on his front paws and a laid back demeanor unequaled by any other feline I have ever encountered.  He doesn't mind being picked up and carried about, and has even been known to tolerate rides in a baby buggy.  The children love this guy.

Sakari

Sakari is the other "fancy cat".  He's a flame-point Himalayan, having been bred from a purebred Siamese and Persian.  He has taken on the genetic trait for shorter hair from his Siamese parent, but has retained the Persian personality.  Like Nahima, Sakari also has six toes on his front paws.  It looks as if he is wearing mittens.  Sakari likes to "talk" to his people, and loves to be snuggled and pet.  He and his brother, Nahima, often nap together, entwined in one another's arms.  Sakari is thoroughly convinced that Halona is his mother, and she treats him like the devoted son.  Sakari has a very king-like, relaxed attitude about life.  As a kitten, he was gregarious and adventurous.  He always seemed to be the ringleader during his playtime with Nahima.  Sakari has a knowing look and a great deal of patience.  He seems to consider himself a ruler, or patriarch, amongst the other cats.

Cowkitty

Yeah, yeah.  Another cat named by Michael.  When Cowie was born on April 17, 2001, he took a look at the kittens and said they looked more like hamsters.  Then he pointed at Halona's only female and said, "That one looks like a cow!  We have a cowkitty!"  I said, "No.  Absolutely not." but it was too late.  The name stuck.  At eight weeks old, Cowkitty became very, very ill.  I rushed her to the vet, who informed me that she was dying.  Desperate, I authorized a blood transfusion, and then brought her home with antibiotics.  It was a scary night, but she made it.  Twenty-one days later, she finished her medication and was back to her normal, frisky self.  Her brothers went to good homes, but the world's most expensive kitten stayed to live with us.  Michael calls her the "Hellcow" because she's always going bonkers.  She's busy, busy, busy, and only at six months of age did she begin to show any signs of ever slowing down long enough for a good petting session.  Cowkitty has a kink in her tail which causes it to veer off at a right angle.  It's genetic, and not something which she will ever outgrow. 

Sake

One day, after dropping Vesper off at her school, I decided to go to lunch at a local sushi restaurant.  When Michael and I go there for dinner, we usually order sake with our meal.  As per usual, I ordered sake (Yes, just one!).  It was brought to me before the rest of my meal, and I drank it on an empty stomach.  I had not had anything else to eat yet that day.  I soon realized I was feeling...comfortable.  My meal arrived and it was gone quickly.  I was surprised how much faster one becomes full when one isn't talking.  Hmmm...  There I was, finished with my meal, still feeling rather happy, and on my own at a restaurant.  I thought about it and decided I would be fine to drive straight home.  My judgement wasn't impaired.  I was simply in a good mood.  However, on the way, I remembered that I needed to stop and get crickets for J.J.'s frog.  I walked into the pet store, asked for five dollars worth of crickets, and soon found myself buying this little kitten whom I vowed had "picked" me.  She came home from the pet store covered in fleas and very skinny (malnourished).  I spent all afternoon de-fleaing her and then spent a couple of weeks nursing her back to health.  She's now a vibrant, happy, sweet natured kitten.  However, I have sworn off of sake for lunch.

Sloppy

Sloppy isn't really one of my cats, but I do feed him.  He was simply known as the stray cat for some time, until my sister-in-law mentioned she also fed a stray she'd dubbed "Sloopy".  I decided if Alice had a "Sloopy", we should call ours "Sloppy".  I took him to the vet and told him that I didn't want to spend more than two hundred dollars on a stray.  I thought the $196.97 bill was pushing it a little, but at least we got some of Sloppy's problems cleared up.  Sloppy has been neutered, so someone did claim him at some time or another in his life.  However, I've never found the owner.  Sloppy essentially lives on my deck.  He's been hanging around for three winters now.  He marks his territory (thoroughly), so he will never become one of my indoor cats, but I do have a real soft spot in my heart for this sweetie.  He is very affectionate, and actually follows me around when I'm out in the yard doing yardwork.  Sloppy has changed from a pretty mangy looking animal into a very handsome cat (if one can overlook the mangled ear).  All he needed was some consistent nutrition and a place to consider home.

Scaredy-Cat

This picture was taken through my sliding glass door.  There's a reason why he's called "Scaredy-Cat".  He's another stray which has found his way to my back deck.  He's scared to death of any and all human beings, though he has gained enough confidence in me to sit across the deck on the stairs while I fill the cat bowl with food.  He shares Sloppy's meals, one of them eating at a time.  Poor Scaredy-Cat is in bad shape, but is honestly looking better than he did when he first started coming around.  I have no idea from whence he came, nor do I know where he goes when he's not scrounging around back for food.  He's a true stray cat, in every sense of the word.  If he ever learns to trust me enough that I can get a decent picture, I'll post it here.


 
Yes, I have a lot of cats.  I know this number of felines in one household is unusual.

All of my personal cats are indoor-only animals.  Cats do not need to venture outside.  They live longer, healthier lives when they are kept indoors.  All eight of my cats are spayed or neutered (with the exception, at this time, of Sake, who is not yet six months old).  Though I am aware some consider removal of the front claws unnecessary, I have had each of my cats declawed at the time of the sterilization surgeries.  I have never had a cat suffer any ill-effects from the procedure.  They all receive veterinary care and most are microchipped (just in case).  I feed my mature cats Science Diet dry and canned cat food. The younger cats have all begun their lives with me eating Iams kitten food before transitioning to Science Diet.  Though expensive, I think the benefits of providing the cats with good nutrition far outweigh the cost.

Though I know many people would consider me quite eccentric, if not flat-out crazy (especially since I am one of those people who obsesses over cleanliness - often scooping out litter boxes twice a day), I adore my pets - ALL of them.  Life is good.

-Deena