Meet The Rest of the Family: Our Cats

By , April 3, 2010

While I’ve alluded to them in the past, I’ve never properly introduced you to two important family members: our cats, Lissa and Spice. These two pampered, silly girls aren’t very valuable to the homestead, but the love, companionship, and entertainment they provide us are invaluable.

Spice (top) and Lissa (bottom) (Photo: Aly Zeiger).

We adopted them about 8 years ago. Spice was the kitten we’d gone to the shelter to find, Lissa was the adult cat too sweet to leave behind.

Spice’s litter got separated from their mother too soon. The other kittens probably grew up to be just as psychotic as Spice, maybe more so. At least Spice had Lissa, who step-mothered her. Still, she grew up needy. She’s our crier, the one needing constant attention.

Lissa lived in a couple of homes before arriving at the shelter. We can’t fathom what must have been wrong with those other families, that they couldn’t love this calm, sweet, matronly cat.

Being indoor cats, they keep the cabin free of voles and mice that gain entry occasionally. They even catch shrews in the house every great once in a while.

Lissa is almost always content to stay inside; Spice yearns for the larger world. We use our front door and the screen door in the arctic entryway like an airlock to prevent escapes, but every now and then someone makes a mistake, and Spice will sail across the threshold in a graceful leap, burbling with pleasure. After that, the situation grows tense. She almost inevitably goes under the house, where she’s very hard to extract and recapture. Worse, if we’re not careful, she’ll climb the ridge—who knows where bound and to what purpose? During the whole escapade, she cries constantly, no doubt alerting every predator on the peninsula, from eagles to coyotes, to her presence! There’s an urgency to retrieve her for her safety, after which we’re ready to kill her!

We humans so often insist on pets, even when they don’t make economic sense. Pest control notwithstanding, we’d be slightly better off without buying and hauling cat litter and food (although we’ve discovered ways to mitigate that) cleaning litter boxes, and dealing with damage to furniture and quilts. We’d certainly sleep more soundly, if less warmly, but our lives will inevitably be much poorer without them.

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