If you know us at all, you know that we love our cats. Over the past half a year we’ve said goodbye to one of our feline family members and hello to 3 new ones – none of which was expected or planned.
Smudge, one of our most favorite cats of all time, passed away from cancer during the summer, shortly before Devon’s wedding. He came from Haiti with us and made the transition with no problems. He was quite a character and loved us for about 15 years. We all miss him, the way he would seek us out and just wanted to be near us. He was a big cat, but he’d still come sit with me on the arm of my recliner, making sure to have 1 foot touching me. His mother, Princess, is still with us. She is one grumpy lady, but I guess she’s allowed since she’s a senior citizen (at least 16-17 human years old!).
The week before Smudge died, we adopted 2 kittens (we didn’t know that Smudge was so sick). It wasn’t our fault, but one day our son, Devon, sent me a text picture of an itty bitty little calico and asked if I wanted her. He really wasn’t playing fair because he knew I’d fall for her, no questions asked. When I went to visit her, I found her living in a huge cat colony under a double-wide trailer out in the everglades. Her human mom had several adult cats that had litters around the same time, and she’d lost track of how many cats she actually had. Let’s just say that she had several of every color, breed, age and size. While there, we met another kitten that we just couldn’t get over…he was so big, fluffy and friendly.
Long story short – we went back to pick up the calico but couldn’t put the other one down. So we got a BOGO (buy one get one), 2 for 1 cats. The name stuck. Bogo, or Bo for short. The calico looks almost like Munchkin (our calico from Haiti that died in 2012), so we called her mini-Munchkin or M & M, and that evolved into Emmy since M & M is an awkward name.
She is petite and a very quiet little thing unless Mango harasses her. Then she sounds like a lion roaring. Who would have thought she could make such a noise?
His coloring is unique, the coloring, fur patterns and designs on one side are exactly the same on his other side, equally dividing down his back. And silky soft fur – wow, it’s amazing – you just want to bury your face in it. He’s very, very easy going and nothing seems to ruffle his feathers.
Another word to describe him is huge! He’s only 9 months and is a huge fluff ball. Did you know that when Consumer Reports tests vacuum cleaners, they use Maine Coon fur? If it can pick up that kind of cat fur, it passes the test and earns extra points. And we’re finding out why it’s such a good test.
We did fine until January. A friend in Ocala, FL (4 hours away) sent us several emails about a cat that had adopted he & his family (they aren’t cat people and didn’t want him). This cat just wouldn’t go away and wanted to be loved on more than it wanted food. Our friend asked us if we wanted him (he was taking him to the pound that day if we said no). He sent several videos of the cat and we got sucked in!
That coming weekend we were taking Dawn was furniture and household things since she was moving into a new apartment in Tampa, so we made a weekend of it. After we swung by Dawn’s place, we drove 1.5 hours more and met the cat in the videos. He was crazy friendly and very, very orange – even orange eyes. He came home with us the next day (much to the relief of our friend – who we told that our quiver was full – no more cats!).
We tried out several names and finally settled on Mango. He’s the color of the mangos that were so plentiful in Haiti, as well as the mango jelly that I used to make and sell. He was given a clean bill of health by the vet who felt that he was probably a few weeks younger than Emmy.
Mango is semi-fluffy – that’s the best way I can describe it. What’s odd is that his tail is much fluffier than the usual cat tail…it looks like its in constant puff ball mode (the mode cats get in when they are scared by a dog or threatened and their fur stands on end). Since he’s had a better and steady diet his fur has gotten softer. He’s scrappy, always in motion, wanting to play with someone or something. And when he crashes, it’s complete as you can see from the pics above. He seems to have adjusted well to being an indoor only cat, especially since he’d previously been homeless. Most likely because he has found love, feline and human companionship, food and comfy surroundings.
Now we truly have a blended household. There was a rough patch at first when Emmy went into heat for the first time and Mango hit puberty at the same time about 10 days after he arrived. There was no peace in the house for days (and we had company!) and a hasty day trip to the vet was arranged. We’re all better now that things are healed and the hormones have been jettisoned!
The old lady cat that came from Haiti? She hates the sight of the 3 young’uns. She growls, hisses and spits at them. They’ve learned to steer clear of her – although recently Mango has stood up to her, invading her personal space (which includes about 50 sq. ft., or the size of the room she’s in). Poor thing. You can tell she feels like she’s being mistreated by being submitted to the presence of the other 3.
So now we are back up to 4 cats, our limit (no, really, it is! No more!). It’s a crazy household. This is why we have frequently called our home “The Shoe’s Zoo”.