Monday, July 21, 2008

And now for something completely different

I, the yarn lady, have two cats. Over the past two months they have become increasingly jealous because I spend so much time writing about someone else's cats. Therefore, I am dedicating today to my two cats, Sammy and Kenjei.

Sammy is almost eight years old, and Kenjei is about six. As you can see from this picture, they are quite good friends. They are asleep in their favorite spot, their daddy's armchair. Unfortunately, this is the favorite chair of the three humans who also inhabit the house, so there can be a lot of competition for this spot.

Sammy, the black and white cat, came to live with us a few months after the death of our long-loved Jeffrey. We were so used to having a cat, we decided that he needed to be replaced, and preferably by two cats, as two cats
can entertain each other. We visited our local SPCA, and picked out Sammy and a second cat, Pudgy. Pudgy, unfortunately developed a medical condition after several years and we could not keep him. Sammy's name at the SPCA was Larry. I couldn't imagine a cat named Larry, so we came up with Sammy, since it sounded kind of like Larry, and hopefully wouldn't confuse the cat too much. Since Sammy doesn't really respond to any name at all (being very much a cat), it has worked out fine.

Kenjei was given to us by his cat mother. She was a stray that we had seen in our yard from time to time over the years. On a very hot summer day (I think it was around 100 degrees) this stray cat came walking across the patio where I was sitting. This was very odd, since this cat had never before or since come anywhere near that close to me. She stopped and looked me right in the eye, and then kept going. A moment or two later a half-grown kitten came romping after her. He was the most adorable scrawny tiger kitten. He looked like he was probably only two months old. I made little noises at him to attract his attention and he looked at me like I was a giant monster. I promptly put out food and water (especially water since it was so hot) and set out to make friends with the kitten. Despite his mother's lack of friendliness, this little one was more than happy to eat my food, drink my water and even be petted, as long as I was sitting down. As soon as I stood up he ran. To this day, he's still a bit scared of standing people. I guess they are just too big.

Since it was so hot, and the heat wave was forecast to continue for the next week, we decided to bring him in right away. He did have to visit Tibet first, to make sure that he wouldn't bring any illnesses in to our cats. He was mostly healthy, but did turn out to be about four months old. He was just undernourished, and as we discovered, short. He was named by my daughter, who loves all things Japanese, and who thought Kenjei sounded like a good Japanese name for a cat.

Physically, Kenjei is an endomorphic cat. He's got short, squat legs and tail, and at the best of times he's chunky. Most of the time he's just fat. Sammy on the other hand is several inches taller and a very long cat. His head is a bit small for his body, but it doesn't seem to effect his self-image or intelligence.

Sammy has been an indoor/outdoor cat since he first came home. He's very careful, and despite our living close to the very busy street, Sam stays in the back yard (or other people's backyards). In the winter he spends most of his time indoors, but in the summer he likes to be outside most of the time. He likes to come in, grab a bite to eat and go out again. Since we don't have a cat door, that necessitates someone opening the door for him a lot. It's a good thing I don't work anymore, at least from Sammy's point of view.

Kenjei is not the brightest tool in the shed, and is a bit of a chicken. Once he got inside the house he didn't want to leave it again for about four years. He enjoyed looking out the glass door, but never tried to go out. Two years ago he started "escaping" the house on occasion. Once outside, he'd become terrified, and we'd have to pick him up and bring him in. One day he got out and didn't come back. We called and looked and looked and called, but no Kenjei. After a few days, we thought we'd lost him. Almost two weeks after that, I spotted him as I drove into the driveway one night. It turns out that he'd ventured across the driveway into the real real backyard, and was scared to cross the driveway and come back. He was living in our shed, behind a large piece of plywood that leaned against the wall. It took about a day to lure him out of the shed with food, but he did finally come out - many, many pounds thinner. He'd gone from rotund to skinny in a little less than three weeks. A visit to the vet found him to be in perfectly good health.

Only this summer has Kenjei ventured outside again. He's learned to come back in, a very important skill! He mostly goes out at night, since the noise of all the traffic bothers him. We have to make sure that he comes in before the last person goes to bed, as he may be too scared to come near the house in daylight, although he has come back in during the day once or twice.

All three of us love our cats, although the other two in the house seem to prefer Sammy (not that I'd tell Kenjei that). He is a bit easier to be affectionate with, since he doesn't run in fright when you walk by.

Well, that's it for the yarn lady's cats. Tomorrow we will return to our regularly scheduled blog about the Peep, LT and Miss Rudy.

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