December 9, 2010

There Are Cats in My House

Yesss?
I have noticed, as I read gardening blogs all around the world, that gardeners are not just wildlife observers, they are animal lovers.  And they especially love cats.

Gardeners also love beneficial insects in their gardens, and birds that are attracted to their blooming treasures, and the butterflies that flit among us, and the bees and pollinators that work so hard for us.

But cats... well, every garden blogger seems to have a cat.  And every garden blogger eventually posts pictures of her / his feline cutie.

I do not like cats.  Never have.  Don't understand why people put up with them.  But, because I am a gardener in good standing in my horticultural society, I herein post pictures of the cats who live here.  With me.
Ignoring Jimmy Carter as many viewers do.

I will tell you why we have cats here: when my husband and I first met in 1997, he had two Siamese princesses and I had two teenage boys living at home.  We got married anyway.

My boys, who had never had pets before (too busy!  working full time!  I'm not taking care of another thing in this house!) immediately renamed Jim's female cats Pukey --- for obvious reasons --- and Steve (their hockey goalie's name. You had to understand the peculiar personality of their goalie that year).  Teenage boys grow up and one day they move out.  Siamese cats age in place.

These two cats have aged with us, crankily and irritably.  They are both 17 now.  Siamese cats are not known for their sweet dispositions.  They have exceptionally loud, demanding caterwauls that wake us in the morning and announce their unhappiness with life in our house.
Saying hello in "Siamese"
They do not go outside. 

Songbirds are seriously endangered by outdoor house cats.  Jim does not let his cats outside, and when one escaped into the shrubbery by the front door, she cried to be let back in.  Wuss.

When they both saw wild turkeys wandering outside our dining room window, they leapt onto the windowsill and went into hunting mode (odd throat curdling noises). Then, alarmed at what they actually saw coming toward them, they slinked backward as quick as they could as the giant birds approached nearer the house.  Pansies.

I have learned to tolerate these feline housemates because I love my husband and he loves them... although it's hard to tell, when his affection is expressed by "goddammit, go away" and "shut up, already" each morning as he greets his devoted cats at the bedroom door.  There is no snooze button on a hungry cat.

Will dinner be served in our lifetimes?
What I don't understand about the connection between gardening and cats is the whole indoor plant thing.  We can't have indoor green things.  These two eat them and then throw up the results.  Cut flowers don't make it into our house very often because they deliberately and methodically knock over vases and drag the sprigs of baby's breath away.

But, I have to admit; these cats are beautiful.  They are mysterious and regal.  They have distinct personalities and strange quirks that have become oddly endearing. 

So there you have it.

I am a gardener, and I have cats.

15 comments:

  1. Ha ha! I never liked cats, either, but we inherited two when we bought the house and I grew to enjoy them. Now that I have a dog, though, I remember why I hated cats- so darn demanding! Though I do appreciate that Toby goes out and catches moles and mice in the garden. Good cat! Now shut up and get off my face!
    : ) Meg

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  2. Ha ha, I have a cat lying next to me on the couch purring right now. Another is lying on the Christmas rug in front of the TV.

    You might consider trying to give the cats something green -- our indoor cat would periodically get grumpy if she didn't get some grass. I think it helps their stomach if they manage to keep it down.

    One cat is full-time indoor, the other two are indoor/ outdoor. Prissy hunts and takes mostly cotton rats, field mice and in the summer, baby rabbits. Her brother is a professional lounger.

    Many's the time I've greeted my cat with a "will you shut up" at 5:30am when she wants to eat.

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  3. I chuckled at the thought of a cat having a snooze button. This would be a good thing for any pet. Ha... Cats are drawn to gardens. I don't have a cat but I have shown pictures of the cats that roam the garden. I am proud of you for keeping the cats inside. They are obviously happy since they don't try to go out. Besides who wants to be attacked by a gigantic bird.

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  4. Madame Meg, thanks for sharing my general distaste for demanding cats!

    Sweetbay, I figured most garden blog readers would be scanning this post with cats at their feet or on their laps. It's funny your female cat is the hunter, but the male just lounges : )

    Lisa, I'm not sure I would ever use the word "happy" for these two cranky cats, but they do seem to fully accept their indoor existence.

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  5. This is one of the first things I noticed, too, when I first started blogging that there seems to be a connection between gardening and cats. I've always been a cat-lover, so I think your two Siamese are beautiful, but I totally understand about being awakened at 5:30 AM by a hungry cat--Toby sometimes sits on my bed and chews my hair:)

    I am now such a dog-lover as well, but I wasn't always that way. When my daughter brought home a rescue dog about 8 years ago, I said "I don't have time to walk a dog! I'm not cleaning up after him." But it didn't take long for him to capture my heart, and now I don't know what I'd do without a dog as a companion.

    Didn't mean to write an essay here, Laurrie:) I do understand why people don't like cats; I think it's great you accepted these "step-children" as part of your family anyway.

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  6. Rose, thanks for the essay :-) about the animals that captured your heart!

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  7. Your title was enough to make me laugh out loud! I'm a self professed animal lover but even I get ruffled by 6am wake up calls and overly talkative cats. Thank goodness my tabby could care less about house plants or knocking over flowers.

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  8. Marguerite, thanks for coming by to check out these kitties!

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  9. No cats here. Just dogs. There are times I wish the dogs had snooze buttons, so I can identify anyway!

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  10. I grew up with cats and dogs and many other animals. My husband grew up with goldfish and was taught from an early age that cats are bloodthirsty, evil creatures. He has reluctantly learned better. Sort of. Since we married, we have never owned a cat, though we have come close to being adopted by a cat or two over the years. This was always hampered by our outdoor hunting dogs. Mainly I socialize with my neighbors' cats, which is a good compromise. Your Siamese cats are very regal. I really enjoyed reading about them.

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  11. Jennifer, Siamese cats are like dogs... loud and territorial. In old Siam they were guard animals.

    Deborah, thanks for admiring Jim's queenly, regal cats!

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  12. I've had a post in draft mode for some time about cats and gardens. There is actually a campaign "Cats Indoors" which is really self explanatory but rather obscure. How else can I explain my neighbors letting their tomcat out during summer and bringing home a dead fledgling every day. Once I ran out into the road and chased him off of a battered robin chick. The owners response "he was a street cat and just loves to be outdoors." Grrr.

    Cats are little tigers, and some owners just don't get it. I had a geriatric cat that was blind in one eye and could still bring down big game. OK, big game in this case was a muskrat, but each kill adds up when you think of the millions of cats in this country. Sorry for the rant, but it's been on my mind for months.

    And thanks to all those responsible owners that keep them inside! Cat poo in the veggie garden is not one of my favorite things.

    Christine in Alaska, ranty and no cats at the moment

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  13. Ranty Christine, thanks for the foot stomping on outside cats... I agree completely! On top of bird predation, there is also the issue of shortened lives (cats don't live long outside) and the fleas and things they bring inside.

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  14. Laurrie, I love cats but never could find it in me to like a Siamese cat. They are so cranky! So I understand your feelings..I prefer big cuddly cats that drape themselves over their laps and purr when they see you. Never known a Siamese to do anything but glare! They are regal, though. THanks for the giggle. Enjoying catching up on your blog! Have a great holiday season!

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  15. Ellen, glad to hear from you! I'm not crazy about big cuddly cats, I'm just not an animal person. These two Siamese certainly have not won me over : )

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