Friday, September 30, 2011

Les Chats: A Guide

I am a crazy cat lady, but at least I'm a young, hot one. (For now.)

Cats flock to me, it's like they know. I'll never forget the morning last August when I opened the back door to let Jasper in from playing oustide, and a little stripey-spotted kitten ran in and went straight for the food dish, deciding instantly that he lived here now. (That would be BonoCat.)

I figured that since the cat population around here is pretty hard to keep up with for the casual reader, I'd put together a Guide to the Cats of Casa Crystal, to make it easier to know wtf I'm talking about when I mention Lu or Toes or BC! (You know those historical novels where there's a big family tree at the beginning of the book, and it's all "The Duke of Tintagel was married to Igraine." That's what this is! But with cats, so it's obviously better.)

Tallulah Jane


Lula has to come first, since she is "The One Kitten to Rule Them All."

Nicknames: Lu, Lula, Loobylu, One Kitten to Rule Them All, Moo Moo, Mu Gu Gai Pan, Hoozamoozu, Lula Janey, about a billion others.

Back in 2002, my middle sister's cat had kittens. I went over to see them and instantly fell in love with a little black and white ball of fur. I had to wait till she was ready to leave mom, but she's been my true love ever since. Lula was supposed to go to Florida with me, arriving a week after I moved so I'd have time to settle in, but a big ice storm in the midwest delayed my mom's plans to bring her out, and long story short, mom never got around to visiting me in FL, let alone bringing my kitty. While we were apart, Lu apparently ate ALL THE FREAKING TIME, because when I came back, she weighed 27 lbs. The cable guy took pics of her with his phone to show his friends. Thankfully, she's now down to about 23, but still a really fat cat!

Lu is pure love. When she goes to the vet's office, she purrs the whole time, thrilled at all the attention. When the vet goes to listen to her heart, she licks his hand. That's just who she is.

Lula got pregnant when she was around 8 months old, and to ensure she made her mom (me) super proud, she got pregnant by TWO males at once. (Cats can totally do that, did you know?) The whole time she was pregnant, I kept telling her she could only have 3 babies, because we couldn't keep more than that. Then one day she was laying on my bed and I was rubbing her belly, and I asked "Lula Janey, when you gonna have those babies?" She went into labor then. She had three babies. On my bed.

That's just who she is.


Tiger Lily:



Lily as an itty bitty.

Nicknames: Lily, Tiger, Lily ol' Lou, Tiger Who Is Also a Lily, Willy ol' Billy, Lilylu, Ms Billy

Lily was the first of those babies to be born. She looked like a little black tiger the second she was born, thus I called her Tiger. When I found out she was a girl, and a REALLY girly girl at that, she became Tiger Lily, and it's one of the most appropriate names ever, because she's a girly girl who won't take your shit. She's fierce and cuddly. She's a fluffy battle kitten.


Freddy Jasper Jacob Dante Alberto Bandito VonMonkeypants


Nicknames: Jasper Jacobean, Jacob Bean, Bean, Bean Boy, Jas, Jazz, Jazzy, Jazzy guy, Jazz Man, Big Guy, Jazzy Jeff, Buddy Guy, Mommy's Special Snowflake, Hands (short for "handsome")

After living all alone in Florida for almost a year, I decided that I needed something else alive in the house, so I set off to the pet store to buy a fish. However, two of the cutest kittens ever were there to be adopted. I didn't buy a fish, and I didn't adopt the kittens. I went home and spent all of Thanksgiving weekend telling my friends they needed to talk me out of adopting kittens.

On Monday, I went back to the pet store and got them. They were about 2 months old, and Cricket was sick with a cold, which meant I had to feed her via eye dropper because she wouldn't eat. Her brother, who the shelter called "Freddy", but who was SO not a Freddy, was the biggest fraidy-cat ever, and spent most of our first few days together hiding from me.

I tried out a lot of names for "Freddy" to see which would stick. Jasper seemed to fit, and he seemed to like it, but I wasn't sure. Then I went to see Twilight (I know, shut up.) and realized that the vampire Jasper looked exactly like my cat.
Is it just me, or does Jasper look like Jasper??
Jasper it was! But I kept accidentally calling him Jacob. Katie, who likes dictator-type names suggested I call him Dante. With the way he snuck around the apartment like a little cat burglar, I started calling him Bandito. Long story short, he ended up as Freddy Jasper Jacob Dante Alberto Bandito Von Monkeypants. (Since he and Cricket are adopted, we don't have the same last name. Cricket's favorite toy as a baby was a giant stuffed hippo named Mr Monkeypants.)

Jas has always had major anxiety issues. My friend Ashlee lived next door for about 4 months before he allowed her to pet him. I often came home from work to find him hiding in the kitchen cabinets (unless his sister had locked him in my bedroom again, or, as happened at least 3 times, was sitting atop a fabric grocery bag she had him trapped in.) When my apartment was broken into, I think Jas was even more traumatized than I was.

A couple of months after we moved to Missouri, BonoCat became part of Jas's family (see below) and even though BC was just a kitten, he somehow taught Jasper how to be a cat. While Jasper was afraid of sunshine and rainbows and butterflies, this tiny kitten half his size was out trying to take over the world. Jasper started following BC around with admiration, dying to be his friend. Eventually, something rubbed off, and Jas is much more like a normal cat now. He still runs to hide if someone new shows up, but he also goes outside all by himself and is pretty convinced he's King of the Back Yard.

This is what happens when you hide the treats on the book shelf.

Jas's sister, Cricket, got hit by a car earlier this year, and he was pretty depressed for a while. When I adopted them, it was pretty obvious that Cricket really wanted a human, but Jasper really just wanted to be around Cricket. I was worried how he would handle having to face the world without his partner in crime, but he ended up coping by becoming a HUGE momma's boy. He sleeps in my bed with me, lays in my lap if I watch TV, and generally always wants me around. I'm still not allowed to pick him up ("No hugs mommy, no hugs not EVER!") but he seems to think I'm pretty dark OK overall.



BonoCat of O'Connell Street Mewson



BonoCat as a baby

More recent pic of BonoCat, when he was super sick and sad about not being able to go out and meet ladies.

Nicknames: BC, Bon, BonnerConner, Conner, BCBG, Big Cat Big Guy, Mr Man, BonBon

As I mentioned above, I opened the door one August morning last year to let Jasper in, and this tiny little wild man covered in stripes and spots came running into the house. I'm obviously a U2 nerd, and his small sized combined with his really loud meowing about seemingly nothing and the fact that he looked at the computer speakers like he was hearing the best thing EVER when Veritgo came on all resulted in him being named after Bono. Bono's original name was Bono Vox of O'Connell Street, after a store on O'Connell Street called Bono Vox. Yeah, I know. Bono's real last name is Hewson, so BonoCat's is, obviously, Mewson.

BonoCat likes to talk. He wants you to know that he FEELS ways about stuff. He'll walk up to you and just start meowing super loudly, probably about famine in Africa or something. He often will not. shut. up. He is also known for really, REALLY liking boobs. If you're a chick and you hold him, his head will go straight into your cleavage. Just yesterday he was napping on my stomach, super cute, and in his sleep reached out to put a paw on my boob. He is all about the ladies. Because I am a terrible person and didn't get him neutered quick enough (he's just over a year old, I fail.) he knocked up one of the local stray kitties, and now he's a dad.

Ally:

Ally was originally known as Teen Mom Kitty, because she can't have been more than 6 months old when she got pregnant. She must have been born in the wild, because she was terrified of us, and it took ages for her to let us pet her. Even now she has panic attacks if we keep her inside more than about 10 minutes, she's really only comfortable if we leave the back door open so she can run out of something scares her.

She got the name Ally because a) I was watching Ally McBeal on Netflix at the time, and they're both freakishly tiny, and b) she's BonoCat's girlfrield, and human Bono's wife's name is Ali.

Something must have attacked her when she was a baby, because she has one crooked ear, and one of her eyes can't close. She's finally starting to really trust us, and I realized a couple of weeks ago when we were playing toy mice in the kitchen that it was probably the first time she had ever really played with toys. She's also an awesome mom.

Sir Logan Bigfoot Yeti Toes, aka Toes.


Nicknames: Toeface, Toey

This guy must have been first in line when they were handing out toes, because he has plenty, and they're GIANT. BonoCat had really big feet when he was a baby, too, but Toes one-ups him by having 6 toes on each front foot. Watching him wash his face is like watching a human try to wash their face while wearing those giant foam fingers. It's freaking ADORABLE. I am obsessed with his toes.

Even though we only ever really call him Toes, I felt like he needed a more normal name, so his "official" name is Logan, after Wolverine's real name, since he's a mutant with awesome fingers. He's currently almost 3 months old.


Blurry cameraphone pic, but you can kinda see the extra toe.

Toes had a sister, Lucy (aka Sandwich), but she disappeared a couple of weeks ago, and despite searching like crazy, we never found her. She went missing in the middle of the day, so we can't figure out what could have happened to her!

Ally kept her babies hidden until they were over a month old, so Toes has only been hanging out with us for a few weeks. We've been bringing him in to eat and play several times a day, and he's starting to feel comfortable with people and being inside. He LOVE toys, and today when I turned my back on him for a few minutes, I came back to find him curled up asleep on the couch. He's painfully cute.

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